With the advent of online banking, I have found that keeping track of purchases and budgeting is pretty easy. Many banks offer their own mobile apps for checking your account balance, viewing transactions, and depositing checks. My bank also offers special discounts within the mobile app and makes it easy to move money to a savings account. If you haven’t already downloaded your bank’s app, you should try it.
My go-to app for transactions and budgeting, however, is not my bank app. I use Mint to view all of my accounts at once – including credit cards and bills. Mint can create budgets for spending and automatically categorize purchases. Mint also fetches your credit score once a month (using a soft inquiry) and breaks down what factors are affecting your credit score, as I discussed in my post about credit cards. The best part is that Mint is completely free. For a full-featured, one-stop shop app to start keeping track of your finances, Mint is a great option.
Libre Calc / Excel / Google Sheets
Whenever I have big purchases or other financial matters which require some planning, I like to break out a spreadsheet. I use Libre Calc, a free and open-source version of Microsoft Excel, for making my spreadsheets, but most programs work about the same. If you are new to using spreadsheets try getting started by playing around with this one. I use spreadsheets for estimating earnings from work and keeping track of college expenses.
If you manage a small business or work for yourself, QuickBooks is a great multi-featured app for keeping track of all the minutiae of your transactions. QuickBooks keeps track of purchases, saves receipts, and logs miles traveled. QuickBooks, which is made by the same company that makes TurboTax, has a lot of features for saving on taxes – including sales tax calculations. It also can manage invoicing, accepting payments, and can even be used to charge cards in person with a small add-on to your phone. There are different versions for small business needs and personal use.