Making Cents: How to Choose the Right Budgeting Tool

Say it isn’t so: Mint, the popular budgeting app that has simplified money management for millions, will be shutting down on March 23, 2024. If you’re among the loyalists who will need to find a new app—or you’re simply shopping for finance apps in general—here are some tips on choosing a budgeting tool that’s right for you.

Connect with your Financial Institution

Before you deep dive into the digital marketplace, first connect with your financial institution and find out what budgeting resources they provide. Beyond basic banking platforms, your institution may also offer a budgeting app, credit score monitoring, debt management tools, financial counseling, investment tools, and savings goal calculators. Even if you don’t download a mobile app, chances are you’ll unlock benefits you weren’t aware of—win, win!

Prioritize Accordingly

There are many financial apps designed to make money management stress-free, but regardless of what budgeting tool you choose, consider the following features:

  1. Affordability
    Before you commit to a paid subscription, take the time to research budgeting apps that are free or that offer a free trial period to find out whether the functionality is worth the spend. Many apps offer free features (like goal setting) with the option to upgrade later if you want to unlock additional features.
  2. Security
    Given the sensitive nature of financial information, security is essential when choosing a budgeting app. Ensure that the app employs enhanced security protections such as encryption, multi- factor authentication, and regular updates and notifications to protect your financial data from any unauthorized access.
  3. Methodology
    While some apps use the traditional envelope system, others focus on zero-based budgeting. Choose one that aligns with your preferred approach. Unsure what the best approach might be? Opt for an app that offers flexibility, allowing you to experiment with different methods until you find the one that works best for you.
  4. Interface
    User-friendly, intuitive design ensures that you can navigate the app effortlessly, saving you time and frustration. Look for apps that allow you to quickly input transactions, set budgets, and track your spending without a steep learning curve. Some apps even offer interactive tutorials to guide you through the setup process.
  5. Goal Setting
    Creating and reaching financial goals for yourself is the reason most of us budget in the first place! Support this aspect of your financial story by choosing an app that allows you to set goals, whether it’s saving up for a milestone purchase or paying off credit card debt. The app should monitor your progress and let you edit your goals when your circumstances change.

Get Connected

Choosing the right budgeting tool is a proactive step toward gaining control over your finances, but you don’t have to decide alone. If you want to better understand your current budget, explore free resources, or connect with a certified financial expert, our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness are ready to support you.

GreenPath Financial Wellness

GreenPath Financial Wellness

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted non-profit.

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