Tracking expenses is perhaps the first step in getting your finances in order. By understanding what you spend money on and how much you spend, you can see exactly where your cash is going and areas where you can cut back. However it’s easier said than done. Recording all your spending can become an hectic job. However, you don’t need to worry because there are dedicated applications for this. A monthly expense tracker app automates the process of recording transactions, totaling expenses by category and tracking progress toward goals. While there are many resourceful apps available, the best tools are ones you actually use. That means finding an interface and tracking features that appeal to you. Fortunately, you have many options.
So in this post we will have a look at 7 great apps to track your expenses.
What to look for in an expense tracker
Whichever expense tracker you decide to use, you should look for one that can handle the following tasks:
Tracking income and expenses
An expense tracker app should be able to track business expenses and monitor any income. Monitoring spending is important for not only maintaining healthy cash flow but also qualifying for deductions that could reduce your taxable income. It is also highly recommended to separate your business and personal finances to most effectively track each of them.
An expense tracker app should import transactions from your accounts, mobile wallets and credit cards. It should give you a clear image of how much you are making and how much your expenses are. The app should help you determine if expenses are feasible with your income.
Capturing and organizing receipts
A good app should allow you to capture all your receipts when receiving or making payments. Each receipt should be placed under an appropriate category. These receipts are stored in the cloud and can be retrieved anytime. This feature is especially beneficial for employees who travel for business. As such, many receipt-tracking solutions are designed to function well on mobile apps, across various devices and with multiple linked accounts.
Organizing tax deductions
An app should categorize the tax required for payment after you key in your income and expenses. Of course, it is always helpful to understand which business tax deductions you can take (and which deductions you should avoid).
Accepting payments and managing invoices
The app should accept debit cards, credit cards, net banking and bankers directly to your invoice. From the app, you should be able to track the status of invoices and credit card bills. The app should automatically match your payments to your invoice and send payment reminders. In addition, you should be able to customize a logo for all your invoices.
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Expense apps should generate and run reports for profit and loss, expenses, income, and balance sheets. You should be able to customize the reports to indicate business needs, as well as to generate budgets and inventory reports.
Ideally, an expense app should double as an e-commerce solution. The app should connect to your preferred e-commerce application programming interface (API). It should also integrate credit cards to seamlessly track your sales from various payment methods.
Managing vendors and contractors
An expense app should have a feature that allows you to add vendors and contractors and assign them to specific categories.
Providing secure access
An expense management app should allow you to give another party, such as your accountant, secure access to your books. It should also give specific access to certain functions of the expense management software to reduce errors. Secure access allows you to assign work to particular users and increase your team’s productivity without compromising security. You can also create custom permissions for deposits, expense reports, balance sheets and sales transactions to maintain security of sensitive data.
Tracking projects and inventories
An expense management app should be able to track products and the cost of goods; it also should notify you when stock is running low. You should be able to create purchase orders and handle vendors directly in the app.
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Best Apps For Tracking Expenses
So now, as you are aware of the pre-requisites any good expense tracker must have, let us have a look at 7 Great Apps for Tracking Expenses
BEST FOR INVESTORS
If you mostly have your money situation under control but want better charts and graphs for your finances, Personal Capital is the best option. Personal Capital is actually a full-featured investment manager for hire, but its free personal finance dashboard is available for anyone who signs up and is packed with features.
Specific to expenses, Personal Capital automatically tracks and categorizes every expense you make on a linked credit or debit card. From there, the app creates charts showing your monthly cash flow with an ability to break down expenses by category and dig in deeper where you see concerning spending habits. It isn’t great for budgeting, but is powerful for tracking your finances overall, particularly your investments.
BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
If you run a small business, you might have attempted to run both your personal and business finances through one expense tracker app. This leads to messy reporting, unclear results, and trouble understanding what is going on with both sides of your financial life. Plus, blurring your finances between personal and business can lead to problems with taxes and might harm your personal finances if your business is ever sued.
Like Mint, Intuit is the clear leader in this space as well through its popular QuickBooks program. QuickBooks comes in various versions and editions depending on your computer and business needs. While it is far from perfect, it is the biggest and best option currently to wrap up your entire business management, including expense tracking, contract management, and payroll, all in one app.
Clarity Money is a financial app with both online and mobile interfaces available. However, on the phone, it stands out as a clear winner. This is thanks to its easy-to-navigate design, a wide range of accounts supported, and its fun card style in-app analysis that gives you highlights of your recent account activity, including spending, savings, and subscriptions.
One notable feature tracks your spending over time each month compared to your expected monthly income. Users can also quickly see what they spent at top merchants with a few screen taps. The app also includes features to track and cancel subscriptions, track your credit score, and automatically add to savings (through a Clarity Money account) on a regular basis.
BEST FOR MILLENNIALS
Wally is an integrated expense tracker app that provides insights into your spending habits by syncing with your financial accounts and using artificial intelligence. Wally has a big focus on expenses and presents feedback and useful information on your spending, but it also has a social feature for shared expenses. For example, if you share utilities with a roommate, Wally can track those expenses.
No list of expense tracker apps would be complete without a mention of Mint, one of the best known personal finance tools around. Mint is great because it is free, supports a wide range of banks and lenders, and comes from one of the largest and most trusted names in financial software, Intuit. With this app, you are receiving help with budgeting, expense tracking, credit monitoring, and bills.
However, while Mint is one of the oldest and most full-featured expense tracker app options, it isn’t perfect. There are a handful of bugs in the software, and new features are slow to release since Intuit bought the app in 2009. And if you do find a bug or a problem in your account, getting support can sometimes a challenge.
BEST FOR BUDGETING
YNAB stands for You Need a Budget. The folks behind this app worked hard to build an app specifically focused on budgeting and expense tracking. The app takes a unique philosophy to budgeting. Users are forced to give a job to every dollar they earn, whether it is related to savings, expenses or investments, and the app uses that to show user budgets.
The original version allowed for manual expense tracking only, though the newer update allows you to automatically import expenses from a linked bank account as well. It isn’t perfect for everyone, but if you want to start budgeting and need help getting the process moving, YNAB is likely a good fit for your needs.
BEST FOR DIGITAL MONEY ENVELOPES
How much money do you have to spend this month at coffee shops? How about on clothes? Most budgeting and expense tracking apps are designed to tell you what happened after you spend your money. Mvelopes takes a different approach and offers spending forecasts and suggestions to keep you from going overboard on your next visit to the mall, or Amazon, or wherever else you like to spend money.
Envelope budgeting is a style of budgeting where you literally put cash in envelopes at the start of the month, and you can spend until your envelopes are empty. Mvelopes takes that experience online, offering users digital envelopes to store their spending money each month.