Money is a touchy subject in most households and very few take the initiative to take a look at their financial life and see how it is doing. Before, it used to be hard and sometimes expensive to keep track of your financial life as it could have involved getting a professional accountant. Now with so many applications on the market that help people keep track of their spending, it is easier and convenient for people to know their financial standing. Here’s are the applications that I have used and recommend but before we get to that, why should one even keep track of their financial life.
I’ve been guilty of just wishing that my financial life would improve and many people I know have had that problem too. It is hard to really come to terms with how you’re spending your money especially if you hadn’t been doing it before. Now for anything to improve in any area of your life, you need to know where you stand, have a plan for improvement and then follow through with the plan.
The first step is to record how you’re spending and earning your money, this lead me to the first application.
Track each dollar at a time with Dollarbird
This application is really easy to use and it does well at recording, analyzing and summarizing of financial data (financial accounting). When you download and install the application, you can set the starting balance for the account so it means that you can even start when you just have $1 or even nothing and then work from there.
You have the options of adding fixed repeating expenses that you incur every month or week depending on the time period you select. I found this feature really convenient as you could just set certain expenses and then not need to worry about remembering them each time that it is incurred.
Another option it has is adding income, categorizing expenses and also showing you statistical graphs of how you’re spending or planning to spend your money in a given month or day. Even-though it is limited to one currency and one export format, it is a good application to start with as it provides all the bare necessities for you to start tracking your financial life and make adjustments.
Get to know your finances well with Toshl Finance
Toshl takes the whole personal finance tracking game to a whole new level. Unlike Dollarbird, you can set up more than one account for financial tracking. For the free version of the application, there is a maximum cap of 2 accounts but you can always purchase the membership in order to get more features like increased number of accounts you can track.
With Toshl, you can do almost everything that Dollarbird does. However, it has the added advantage of allowing you to create a monthly budget that you plan to stay within and see how you’re doing against that budget as time goes on. You can quickly glance at how you’re spending your money by filtering the expense graphs by category.
You can also add different incomes to different categories and revenue streams and then view an income graph which shows you how the different sources did for a given month. You can also export the data that you would have recorded for as a PDF, Excel, Comma Separated Values document (CSV), Google Drive excel document or Evernote document.
If exporting sounds like too much work, they also have a web application that you can log into from your web browser and get access to the same data you have on your phone.
You don’t have to choose one
Just because one application might be more capable than another, it doesn’t mean that you have to choose one only. Personally, I use both. Toshl tracks the bank accounts that I want to monitor. While Dollarbird tracks my EcoCash account and the cash that I have on hand if I’m lucky to have any considering how hard it is to get these days.
Ultimately, these applications will not change your spending habits or suddenly increase your income but they will help you take a bird’s eye view of how money is moving in your life and start controlling the movement instead of just wondering where it all went.