5 Helpful Apps for Families on a Tight Budget

5 Helpful Apps for Families on a Tight Budget

It’s hard enough to keep a budget for one, let alone get your entire family on track with their finances. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps out there that can help keep you, your spouse, son, daughter and 11-year-old pug (OK, maybe not that last one) from spending beyond your family’s means.

Here are some choice apps that can help with your household budgeting.

1. Goodbudget

Platforms: iOS and Android

Essentially a digital version of the envelope system — you know, where you put money allotted for a particular spending category in one and then don’t use any dollars beyond that — this app syncs up across household devices. That way, everyone in the family can know exactly what’s left to spend on groceries, entertainment and other categories each month. The free version lets you set up 10 regular envelopes and 10 annual envelopes across two devices. A subscription service with unlimited envelopes and device syncs costs $5 a month or $45 a year.

2. You Need a Budget

Platforms: iOS and Android

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is another app that lets folks sharing finances sync their devices and work together. This app pairs with web software of the same name to help users implement the YNAB four big rules: give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches and age your money. You can try the latest version, launched in late 2015 and dubbed “The New YNAB,” for free for 34 days. After that, a subscription costs $5 a month or $50 a year.

3. Home Budget

Platforms: iOS and Android

This digital expense tracker from Anishu includes a feature called Family Sync, which — you guessed it — enables household devices to exchange income and spending information within a single, shared budget. There’s a free version (Home Budget with Sync Lite) which limits your expense and income entries, and a paid version (just plain ol’ Home Budget with Sync) that costs $5.99.

4. Wallet by BudgetBakers

Platforms: iOS and Android

This budgeting app lets your share selected accounts with family members so everyone knows what’s going on with the household budget. You can also choose to connect your bank accounts to the app to get automatic updates about their standing. Wallet has a free version with limited features and several paid subscription versions that vary in cost. Its top tier, called Master plan, allows up to 10 users, unlimited bank connections and customized financial analysis. It costs $5.49 a month or $44.30 a year.

5. EveryDollar

Platforms: iOS and Android

This budgeting app helps people apply the money management principles of budgeting guru Dave Ramsey. It syncs across devices so you can budget from your smartphone or your household desktop. There’s a free version and a Plus subscription, which lets you connect your bank accounts to the app and call for support. It costs $9.99 a month.

Balancing the Family Budget

Remember, you’ll want to read the terms and conditions of any app you’re looking to use so you know what it costs, how your data is protected and whether any information will be shared with third-parties. You can find more information for vetting mobile apps on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

And, when it comes to maintaining a household budget, it’s also important to keep track of your credit because a bad or even fair credit score can really cost you on everything from mortgage interest to your family’s cell phone plan.

If your credit isn’t in great shape, you can improve your scores by disputing errors on your credit reports, paying down high credit card balances and getting delinquent accounts back in good standing. And, as always, you can maintain good credit by paying all your bills on time, keeping debt levels low and adding a mix of new credit accounts over time. 


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#1 Shopping Deal Hack You Are Overlooking That Could Save Your Budget

#1 Shopping Deal Hack You Are Overlooking That Could Save Your Budget

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

Through the years I’ve found a shopping deals and hacks that has saved my budget hundreds of dollars. I admit I’m not the biggest shopping fan in the world but I do love a sale. A couple years ago I was named Mobile Shopping Guru by Essence magazine because I knew how to find great deals on my mobile phone. I am still pretty good at finding shopping deals because I simply do not like paying inflated prices for goods and services. 

One of the top hacks I have used for years is shopping online at deal sites like Groupon Coupons. That is the first place I turn when I’m looking for a gift or specific item I’ve been wanting.

Whether it’s a holiday, a birthday, a trip, or something I’ve had my eyes on for a while I go to a site like Groupon to see what they have. If you haven’t signed up for this site you go ahead and do it now.

The main idea of the site is to find local deals but now they have added coupons to your favorite stores like Target, Disney, JC Penny or my favorite, Kohl’s. Instead of hunting everywhere or scouring the Sunday paper you can just go to Groupon and grab your coupons. Print them or download them to your phone to use in the store. You can also shop online with a coupon code.

Here are a few stores you can get coupons for on Groupon right now:

  • 6 pm store #1 shopping deal and hacks to save your budget
  • aerie
  • Ashford
  • Belk
  • Birchbox
  • Carter’s
  • Coldwater Creek
  • Disney Store
  • Foot Locker
  • H&R Block
  • JCPenney
  • Joann
  • Kohl’s

I hope this shopping hack saves you lots of money so you can grow your bank account and have more money at the end of the month

To stay up to date on the latest coupons visit the Goupon Facebook and Twitter feeds.

7 Free Single Mom Budget Worksheets

7 Free Single Mom Budget Worksheets

It’s a new year and probably time for a new or updated single mom budget. What do you typically use to create a budget? Is it something you will use again and again? Maybe you are looking for a new tool or worksheet to jump start the process.

Reasons to Create a New Single Mom Budget this Year

You might not think you need to create another budget. Reasons to consider creating a new budget is because you got a raise or you lost income because of a layoff. Regardless of the reason why it is a good idea to update so you know what will happen with your money this year.

I admit, I am pretty lazy with it comes to making a budget. I’ve used several tools and either didn’t follow my budget religiously or I completely forgot about it. When unexpected expenses come up the budget goes out the window.

My Budgeting on a Smaller Income

I got laid off from my “regular” job in July last year, so budgeting was pared down to rent payment, utilities, phone, and groceries. I had to keep it simple to stay sane.

This year could be different so I’ve compiled a list of single mom budget worksheets to help me and you work this thing out together. I can’t promise I’ll be good, but I’ll do my best.

7 Free Single Mom Budget Worksheets

Free Home Budget Worksheet Download
This site has a list of printable budget worksheets you can download to Excel and use. If you don’t have Excel there are a couple more worksheets you can simply print out and use.

Microsoft Office Budget Templates
I think most people with Microsoft Office have used their budget templates. Just download to Excel or even Word to complete and print.

The Household Planner Free Printable Budget   
This budget worksheet has the typical elements most budget worksheets have. You have your income and expense columns as well as your categories to work with. It is a PDF file you have to download and print.

Dave Ramsey Budget Tools
Dave Ramsey has three different budget worksheets to choose from. The first is a quickie budget worksheet. The next is a Cash Flow worksheets that is more comprehensive. The last is a budget worksheet for irregular income. I think these are great options.

Basic Budgeting Worksheet
BetterBudgeting.com has a free printable worksheet to help you create a budget. It’s pretty straightforward. Like the others, you simply download and fill in your income and expenses. They also have a monthly spending worksheet to help you keep track of your expenses.

Home Budget Worksheets from CCC
These website has a budget in your pocket worksheet. It is a mini-planner you can keep in your purse or pocket for quick reference. They also have a workbook and an Excel and PDF worksheet you can download.

Practical Money Skills Budgeting
This is one of my favorite websites to learn about money. They have a simple (and colorful) one page budget worksheet. This is great for the person that is making their first attempt at budgeting or just want to move to a simpler method.

These worksheet should get you started on your single mom budget for the year. Feel free to play with it to find the right balance. Also, think about any emergencies you think will come up and try to factor them in. It could be a flat tire, an emergency trip to see a family member, a medical expense, or anything.

Remember to Give to Get More Money

Remember to factor in giving as well. It could be your favorite charity, helping a friend, or donation to your place of worship. Regardless of how you choose to give, just get into the habit of giving. It’s one secret way the rich use to remain prosperous, plus it just feels good!

Happy budgeting!

Download the Automatic Printable Single Mom Budget Worksheet!

I have created a printable single mom budget worksheet of my own that you can download for free. Simply enter your after-tax monthly income and it automatically creates your budget for each category.

Click the image below to go to the download page for the MS Word file and follow the instructions on page 2 (See the demo video below).

singe mom budget worksheet

Save Your Budget: Tips and Tricks to Stretch Those Holiday Dollars

Save Your Budget: Tips and Tricks to Stretch Those Holiday Dollars

There are 5 more days to shop for Christmas (that means you are in last minute shopping mode). Are you ready to brave the stores along with millions of other shoppers? It’s easy to overspend and bust your budget if you are not careful so here are a few budget tips to remember while you are out…

Budget Tip #1 – Create a List

Creating lists, checking them twice – it’s a tradition for many families across the country this time of year as they plan and shop for gifts for friends and family. Even with the economy starting to recover, many people will set a budget before tackling their holiday shopping, but two-thirds of those that set a budget will likely go over, according to a recent survey.

People also think they have a little more than $26 in spare change lying under couch cushions, tucked into purses and pant pockets and tossed about on the floor of the car, according to the survey, released by Coinstar. But the average amount customers convert to a no-fee eCertificate or gift card when they cash in their coins at a Coinstar kiosk is $56 – more than double the amount that consumers think they have, which can certainly help extend holiday shopping budgets.

“We hear all the time how surprised customers are by the amount of money they have when they pour their spare change at our kiosks,” says Mike Skinner, president of Coinstar. “Converting coins to cash vouchers and no-fee eCertificates or gift cards from well-recognized brands is a great way to stretch those holiday dollars – helping consumers stay within their budgets.”


TooMuchCoffeeMan / Pixabay

But finding additional money is just one step shoppers can take to make certain they don’t overspend this holiday season. Here are some other budget tips to save:

Check and Compare Prices

When researching gift ideas, check the prices. This can be accomplished easily by online window shopping. For example, if you have three toy ideas for your niece, compare the prices first, and then purchase the toy that is less than the amount you’ve budgeted for her gift.

Look for Free Shipping

Keep shipping costs in mind. There are many free-shipping deals to be found this holiday season, but if one isn’t available for a person on your list, make certain that the shipping cost added to the gift price is less than the amount you budgeted for that person.

Watch for Holiday Sales

Shop the sales. Your online window shopping ahead of time is a great way to narrow down your list to exactly what you’ll buy, keeping yourself within budget. Then watch the holiday sales. If you are able to buy all your items with coupons and discounts, you’ll be better off in the budgeting department.

Stay on Budget

Don’t let sales and discounts encourage you to spend more. If you are able to find a gift item on your list on sale, consider the money saved as exactly that – money saved. Don’t be tempted to find another gift item to bring the total of your gift up to your original budgeted amount, because chances are, you’ll go over.

With these budgeting tips, and the extra change you find lying around your house converted to a cash voucher or a no-fee eCertificate or gift card at a Coinstar kiosk, you’re on your way to a guilt-free January (at least as far as budgeting is concerned).

The Easiest Way to Create a Budget

The Easiest Way to Create a Budget

FreeDigitalPhotos.netCreating a budget can be intimidating. We see all the different variations and hear all the different opinions and it gets overwhelming. Fortunately, there is a way to create a budget that is easy and actually makes sense. It takes into account your income and relieves the guessing game.

Using the percentage-based budget method is easy because you are basing your budget on a recommended percentage of your income. These percentages are what most personal finance gurus recommend to live a sustainable life.

Consider Your Unique Situation

Your situation is unique so be sure to consider all your financial obligations. If it is still overwhelming, consider simplifying your finances by talking to a finance professional, reading a good personal finance book, or taking a financial literacy course.

Recommended Budget Percentages

The recommended percentages for dividing your income are as follows:


Charitable gifts 10-15%
Saving 5-10%
Housing 25-35%
Utilities 5-10%
Food 5-15%
Transportation 10-15%
Clothing 2-7%
Medical/Health 5-10%
Personal 5-10%
Recreation 5-10%
Debts 5-10%

Here are a few great articles to read further:

Basic Percentage Budgeting


A Deeper Look into the Percentage-Based Budget


How To Work Off a Percentage Based Budget, and Save At Least 10% of Your Income


10 Recommended Category Percentages for Your Family Budget


A few percentage-based calculators to create an easy budget:

Green Path Calculator


Crown Ministries Calculator