Saving & Spending

The Cent$ Behind Having a Spending Log

Keeping track of how you spend your money is one of the best ways to get a handle on your cash flow and ensure that you are meeting your money goals. There are a wide variety of mobile apps available today that can allow you to conveniently and easily track your spending habits and keep you from making poor decisions.

What’s out there?

While many apps available are free, some charge for premium tools so which one you select will be a personal decision. Most of the apps will track your spending by connecting to an existing bank account or credit account. If you’d rather not allow the app to connect to your personal information you may find ones that let you input the information manually but be prepared to be diligent in your tracking.

Which one do I choose?

Do your research, shop around and find the mobile spending app that will work best for your personality and financial goals. Whether you are looking for warning notifications if you are spending too much, or want to ensure you have enough money to spend in a certain category beforehand, there’s an app for that.

Overview of 5 Potential Spending Apps

(*Credit of Samantha Sharf @ www.forbes.com)

Mint: Helps users create budgets with numerous spending categories, warning users with brightly colored graphics when they are nearing the edge of. Provides credit score access.

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: Yes
  • Available on: iOS, Android, Kindle
  • Link: mint.com

LearnVest: Categorize transactions by expense type, set and track goals and always have a handy net worth calculation on hand.

  • Price: Free; $19/month (plus startup fee) to partner with a financial planner
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: Yes
  • Available on: iOS
  • Link: learnvest.com

Level Money: Designed to recreate the experience of opening your wallet, the app subtracts recurring expenses and savings from your income before dividing up what’s left to tell you what you can spend each month, day and week.

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: No
  • Available on: iOS, Android
  • Link: levelmoney.com

mvelopes: mvelopes is a spin on classic envelope budgeting with account integration.

  • Price: Free; $95/year to link unlimited accounts and to create more than 25 envelopes, as well as for a debt management tool
  • Links to accounts: Yes
  • Manual input: Yes
  • Available on: iOS, Android
  • Link: mvelopes.com

Wally: Invites users to input purchases and income and keeps track on a lively graphic interface. Manual input is made simpler with location tracking.

  • Price: Free
  • Links to accounts: No
  • Manual input: Yes
  • Available on: iOS, Android
  • Link: Wally.me

How does your Cash Flow?

Make money, spend money, rinse, repeat. Does that sound like your current financial plan?

If so, you’re not alone. Just about everyone wants to go on an amazing vacation, buy a brand new laptop, or get the latest smartphone. But the really savvy folks actually create plans to achieve these things.

This lesson shows you how to manage your income and recurring expenses to make sure you can afford what you want or need to buy—with enough money left over to pay your bills.

Start this SALTmoney lesson here. (10mn)

Helpful Spending Articles

Money Saving Tips

Food

  • Cook with friends and split grocery costs
  • Eat at home instead of going out
  • Pack a lunch
  • Plan for a menu that incorporates similar ingredients in different ways
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it

Education

  • Take classes that work towards your degree
  • Buy used textbooks or use library copies
  • Consider sharing a book with a classmate you know and trust
  • Meet with an advisor and aim to graduate in four years

Entertainment

  • Go to free concerts, activities and speakers on campus
  • Read the Eugene Weekly to find free activities around town
  • Stay in and enjoy the game with friends
  • Join an intramural sports team

Whatevs

  • Give handmade gifts
  • Take advantage of student coupons and promotions

Transportation

Housing

  • Choose a lower-cost residence hall
  • Live with roommates, on or off campus
  • Compare housing costs in different areas of Eugene and Springfield
  • Use your utilities wisely!
  • Turn off the lights and unplug electronics when you leave a room
  • Wear a sweater rather than turning up the heat
  • Use wifi on campus to reduce phone data usage