We have all been there at some point of time—reaching the last week of the month and muddling through our bills and bank statements to figure out where all our hard-earned cash evaporated.
However, managing household expenses today is an arduous task and —in this digital age— budgeting apps are just what you need to put yourself on the straight and narrow path.
But remember, these apps ask details about yourself as well as permission to access your data. Some of the apps may share this data with third parties. So, use them only if you are comfortable with this.
Mint takes a look at three apps: HomeBudget (for managing family household expenses), Walnut (to auto-track your spending habits) and Slonkit (to smartly manage your child’s pocket money).
There are other budgeting apps in the market, too, like Money View, ET Money, Spendee and Perfios that can help you manage your finances better.
One of the various methodical approaches to handling household finances is tracking how much each member of the house is spending. HomeBudget offers a ‘family sync’ feature. With this, each member of the house can update the income and expense information, in real time, and the whole family can work together on a single budget. This way, everyone knows who has spent how much and what the total expenses were.
The app also lets you set the family budget, view trend charts and generate reports based on expenses.
Though each member of the family will have to enter the data manually, this sync works across iOS, Android or desktop versions of the app. A lite version, with limited features, is available if you want to try the app first. If it works for you, you can buy the full version for Rs370.
Its downside is that if the family crosses the budgeted limit, there aren’t any alerts or messages.
You get instant SMS alerts the moment you swipe your card for a purchase or withdrawing cash. Walnut can automatically read these messages, categorize them and generate expense reports based on how much you have spent. You will have to, however, spend some time initially to categorize your regular expenses such as: travel, food, utility bills and shopping.
The app also lets you: instantly split and settle bills with your friends by creating a group, directly send or receive money to and from bank accounts and even locate ATMs that are dispensing cash (a feature introduced after demonetization). The app even sets reminders to pay your bills on time.
The app is available on App Store (for iOS) and Play Store (for Android) for free.
You will have to input the cash transactions manually, so be careful to avoid double counting your expenses. When you withdraw cash from an ATM and spend it, the app has accounted for this spend from your SMS alerts.
The app works for one individual only. It cannot be synced with expenses of another person. Plus, if an SMS is not received, that transaction will not be accounted for.
If you are worried about your children spending without your knowledge, you may find a solution in the Slonkit card.
It is an app-connected, reloadable prepaid card powered by Visa and DCB Bank. Anyone can get this card, even if they are not DCB Bank customers. After you download the app, you can order the card by paying Rs200—Rs100 (including taxes) is the annual charge and the remaining balance gets loaded to the card.
The card is delivered to your address in about a week, with your child’s name on it. You can add up to Rs20,000 in a month to it. To increase this limit, you will have to complete the KYC process. Transaction details get updated on the app for your perusal.
You can add money whenever you want, set budgets for each spend category and also set per-transaction or per-day limits. You can also analyse your child’s spends across different categories.
A maximum of four cards can be synced and managed by a parent. While the card works like a debit card, it cannot be used to withdraw cash from an ATM. If the card is lost, it can be immediately suspended or blocked through the app.
It lets the user split bills and avail offers and discounts and is also a good way to teach money management along the way. If you want to stop using the app, you can get the card blocked and the remaining balance will be refunded.
The app is available both on Android and iOS platforms.