Using technology to make managing your money s#*t easier?
*YES* See below!

Making an app entirely responsible for your financial well-being?
…eeehhh hold up. 

I’m listing and reviewing tech tools and online resources here to help you take hold of your finances — with the caveat: using a tool to help you handle your money doesn’t mean you can blame the tool if you mess up.

Paper version: Budget & Spending Plan

Here’s the working copy of the Spending Plan document I share in class, current as of 11/29/15.

I personally prefer to budget on paper; I spend enough time on a computer and elephantinely can remember everything I spend money on, in part because I know what my budget is and just do the math. Also, pedagogical theory informs us that handwriting something down helps you remember it, by encoding the knowledge.

Digital Budgeting, Planning & Tracking

Is there a software that “does it all” for you? Short answer: no.

YouNeedABudget is a software you put on your computer + an app on your phone: the two sync, as you enter your spending on either.
– You need to be willing to budget and to enter your spending as you go digitally. With that, this has a lot of tracking features so you can see what your money goes to.
+It’s currently $60, which is like $5/month to get your s#*t together. Not bad!

Level Money is a free app for your iPhone or Android which you connect to your bank account[s] and credit card[s], and it tracks your spending.
+ They make it easier to track your spending
– Data mining aspect and that data is, like Level Money, Owned by Capital One.
+ You can see a running tally of how much you have left to spend that day/week, etc.
– You can’t put it on your computer; you might not remember what your budget is if you don’t have your phone…

Wally is a free app for your iPhone or Android that you enter your spending into, to track it.
— It doesn’t automatically collect info for you, e.g. you donyt
+ It DOES show you what you’ve spent on the daily and what’s left in your budget [that you set up].
+ You can take photos of receipts.
— You can’t put a version on your computer.
— It says it “leverages social information” …which perhaps means it connects with your Facebook to remind you where you were, spending money? Again this means, to me, it’s collecting a baller data set on your spending habits but — hey — if you don’t care [and if you’re using Facebook to talk about your spending…you don’t] then perhaps it’s worth it.

Mint is a free [for now] online service you can connect to your bank account(s):
+ it has you create budgets, and helps track your spending by importing your bank account activity for you, no need to enter every dang purchase yourself.
– since it’s free, it’s surely datamining you and it puts all your financial data in an additional database online; that’s probably safe but there’s a small chance it’s not. Then again, if you buy things online, you’re taking the same amount of risk. [did you know I work in online database security?]

Overall: No software or app is a replacement for your commitment to making a plan and checking in on that plan, whether you do it digitally or on paper is up to you. Either way: you deserve that commitment!

However you handle it … we’re gonna Real Talk About Money.