The holidays can be an expensive time of year. According to a survey conducted by the American Research Group, the average American plans to spend $882 in gifts alone this holiday season.
Add in the costs of food, drinks and travel, and with all the festivities, it can be easy to blow your budget and find yourself in serious debt come January. And if you are trying to buy a home, the additional expenses can derail your plans to save for the down payment.
Fortunately, there are smartphone applications (apps) for almost everything these days, including managing your money. Below is a list of seven free apps recommended by Business Insider to help you manage your budget, grow your savings, and keep your finances on track during the holidays and throughout the year.
- WalletHub: Offers personalized savings alerts, 24/7 credit monitoring and is the only website that offers free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis.
- Mint: provides a real-time, complete look into all your financial accounts (from bank accounts and credit cards to loans and retirement savings), automatically tracks your spending, and alerts you as you approach your budget limit.
- Acorns: helps you invest your spare change by rounding up every purchase to the next dollar and investing the difference in a diversified stock portfolio. Note: While the app itself is free, there is a small management fee for each account.
- Level Money: calculates your income and recurring bills and suggests what your daily, weekly, and monthly spending should be. The app also calculates the amount of money you should be able to save and subtracts that amount from your budget.
- Digit: automatically scans your income and spending patterns and transfers a small amount of unspent earnings 2-3 times per week into a separate savings account.
- Credit Karma: provides free access to credit scores and reports, allows users to monitor their spending patterns, and recommends credit card and loan offers.
- Goodbudget: brings the time-tested envelope budgeting method into your smartphone. Users can create “envelopes” for each budget category and then track how much they spend in each category.
- Wally: an expense tracking app that allows you to scan and save your receipts and input the details of each purchase.
If you are worried about saving for a down payment or want to learn more about the requirements to buy a home, there are nonprofit resources that can help. TSAHC recommends contacting a housing and financial counselor listed on the Texas Financial Toolbox, who will sit down with you and help you work out a budget and create a plan toward homeownership. We also encourage you to check out our home buyer programs that provide grants to help with down payment and closing costs.
Additional Apps and Resources to Explore
Need help with money? There’s an app for that. (Washington Post)
7 Simple and Free Budgeting Tools (US News and World Report)
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.