January is the month of new goals and new years resolutions. It’s also a great time to review and make changes to your financial situation if you are currently unhappy with your current status. The first step to consider is budgeting. Budgeting is something we all need to do, but few people consider it fun. Let’s be real – when it comes to money, fun is usually associated with spending after you’ve achieved your savings or credit score goals.  Common excuses for not budgeting range from “I just don’t have time” to pointing out how hard it is because of irregular expenses or income. Some just feel since it all goes to bills it’s just too depressing to think about. That’s fair. 

But sticking your head in the sand won’t help you dig out of debt, work toward achieving your dreams or allow you to experience happiness and freedom from the money worries that are weighing you down.

These free apps not only help make budgeting easier, but also may even make it fun.  In addition, your credit union or bank may have online banking tools that allow you to see all your accounts (including accounts at external financial institutions) to help with your budget. Direct Federal Credit Union offers a financial management tool within their online banking portal for budgeting purposes.

Empower: This app is like having your own personal financial advisor on standby 24/7. It gives the big picture view of where your money goes and helps identify better deals for recurring bills or even insurance options. The goal is to help you make smarter financial choices.

PocketGuard: This one syncs all your personal finance accounts into one place, including investments. It helps you track your spending (weekly and/or monthly) against your budget so you can adjust accordingly.

Goodbudget: The couple or family who budget together have a better chance of achieving their financial goals. This app creates virtual “envelopes” that help you plan and control your spending. The envelopes can be shared and synced across multiple devices so the entire family knows how much they have left to spend while on-the-go.

Wally: This app provides a way to visually track of all your expenses, saving and spending goals. Its AI learns about your personal habits to help you reach your goals.  

Clarity Money: The app not only helps you track spending and plan your budget but also identifies opportunities to save. Based on your spending, it offers relevant discounts and coupons. In addition, it can even help in managing all those recurring subscriptions, making it easy to cancel the ones you may have forgotten about. 

Albert: This one acts as your financial assistant. You’ll get a financial health score designed to help you figure out what changes you can make to meet your goals. 

Spendee: It’s hard to budget if you don’t know where your money goes. This app tracks your spending whether cash, debit or credit, to help you improve your financial situation.