Julie Willett's Blog
Keeping up with household expenses can be a daunting task. Service providers are making it easier than ever to set up auto-pay features for their products. Furthermore, playing with credit cards makes it seem like you hardly ever have to look at your account balances. Unfortunately, that can make it easy to go over your allotted budget each month. That’s where the home budget app comes in.
In recent years, a growing number of budgeting apps have hit the app stores. You could scroll for hours through all of the various apps, comparing their needs. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you.
Some apps are geared towards families, where others are designed for a single user. Some sync with bank accounts and others depend on your own input to keep track of your expenses. In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best budgeting apps for keeping up with your household and living expenses.
If you’re hoping to split expenses and plan your budget with your spouse, family, or roommates, HomeBudget is a good place to start. With HomeBudget you can assign one person to be the payee, making it easy to determine who pays certain bills.
You and your family members can also assign expenses and attach images of your receipts to see who paid which bill.
At the end of the month, you can view reports that will tell you if you stayed under budget. You can then compare the month’s budget to the previous six months and decide if you need to increase your budget or try to cut some expenses.
YNAB: You Need A Budget
If you’re new to budgeting or are having trouble paying off debt, YNAB is the budgeting tool you need. Aside from keeping track of your spending, YNAB is also a learning resource. Signing up gives you access to budgeting tips and information that you may not be familiar with.
YNAB links up with your bank accounts to tell you just how much you need to save each month in order to keep up with everyday expenses like mortgage payments and utilities, and get out of debt.
Mint is designed to be your one-stop shop for all things financial. It combines your bills, bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, and more all in one place.
Mint enables you to track your spending, plan a budget, and gain access to resources like free monthly credit scores.
Having an organized budget is a reward of its own. But, if you need even more of an incentive, Unsplurge is here to help. With Unsplurge, you can focus on saving up for a goal. You’ll get updates when you save enough to “splurge” on your goal.
It’s a great tool for people who like to see their progress and feel the sense of accomplishment when they meet their objective.
Now pick the app that sounds right for your needs and get started with saving money and managing your household budget today.
The factor that has the most impact on your home search is your finances. You’ll need to save a significant amount of money. It’s not easy to save when you have continuous monthly bills and responsibilities. Read on for tips on how to get your finances under control in order to save the amount of money it takes to buy a home.
Do A Budget
Once you have decided to buy a home, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your finances. A budget is critical when you buy a house because it tells you how much you’ll have to spend on your mortgage. Doing this ahead of time will allow you to maximize your income and make adjustments ahead of time as needed. Don’t forget that even though you’re buying a home, you still need some savings in addition to all of your other monthly expenses. Your budget should be outlined as follows:
- Monthly utility spending
- Insurance bills
- Entertainment expenses
- Grocery spending
Basically, you want to write down how much money is coming in and where all of the money is going. That’s a budget in a nutshell. See where you can cut back. What you’re left with is the amount you can save each month. You may want to do this on a percentage basis rather than a flat dollar amount.
Get A Separate Account
The most straightforward things to do when you start saving for a home is to put all of your money for your house fund into a separate account. This way you can automatically transfer money in, and you’ll be less likely to spend any of the money if you don’t see it.
Sacrifice The Small Things
Can you take some hand me downs for your kids? Maybe you can start packing a lunch for work instead of buying lunch. Can you cut the cord on cable? It may be hard to sacrifice small luxuries, but these expenses can add up. If you cut these out of your budget, you’ll have a little more wiggle room to save for a home purchase. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save just by doing little things. Your morning latte is probably around $5. You could save at least $25 per week by merely making coffee at home! That’s a saving of over 1,200 per year!
While saving for a home can seem overwhelming, if you take it in small chunks, you’ll be see the results of your efforts rather quickly.
Buying a home is a big change. New surroundings, new town and sometimes even a new state. And these things take time to get used to.
But there’s one thing you want to adjust to as quickly as possible - your new budget.
You already know that with a move comes lots of expenses and fees. However, there are a lot of long-term changes you might not realize to take into consideration until they show up in your mailbox.
One is your mortgage payment over the years. Okay, I know you know that your mortgage payment has changed. But what you should consider is how to plan to make that payment each and every month. Sometimes life happens and we don’t have a great month and sometimes we have a string of not so good months. It’s best to come up with a plan now to prepare yourself if anything should happen
It’s recommended to keep three months worth of living expenses saved and put to the side for emergencies. Perhaps you already have money set aside and need to increase this amount to reflect your new lifestyle. And if you don’t have any set-aside, it’s wise to start a savings plan now. Even if you are only able to put aside a small amount each month, your total will grow over time as you stick to the plan.
Home insurance, property taxes, and homeowner association fees/dues. If this is your first time owning a home these will all be new expenses for you and ones you don’t want to catch you by surprise. And if it’s not they are certain expenses you will need to account for. Be sure to add these to your budgeting software of choice ASAP.
Seasonal budget changes. Throughout the seasons you may find significant changes to your expenses. If you have moved to a larger home you will probably find you have higher utility bills, especially in those months where you need to run the furnace or A.C. However, there are also yard maintenance costs to take into consideration. Does your new home have a pool, lots of landscaping or a snowy climate? Ease upfront costs by estimating expenses and create an account to put money aside each month to spread these costs throughout the year.
Another account to consider building up throughout the year is for emergency repairs and renovation projects. Replacing appliances, a roof, porch or pool lining are not expenses we typically expect and can easily shell out for. At least, not without some planning ahead of time. Setting up an account to add money to each month for these specific costs can help ease your mind and feel on top of things.