Ask Stacy: What Are the Best Budgeting and Expense Tracking Tools and Apps?

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Welcome to “Ask Stacy,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers.

Today’s question is about tracking your expenses so you can make better decisions about how to spend your cash. In other words, this is all about budgeting. If you haven’t tried to build a budget, you really should. Creating a spending plan is the shortest path to your financial goals, guaranteed.

Watch the following video, and you’ll pick up some valuable info. Or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the full transcript and find out what I said.

You also can learn how to send in a question of your own below.

For more information on this topic, check out “8 Secrets to Building a Budget That Works” and “10 Overlooked Expenses That Ruin Your Budget” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the words “spending plan” or “budget” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic.

Also, remember that if you need anything from a better credit card to help with debt, you’ll find it in our Solutions Center.

Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.

Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video

Hello and welcome to your one-minute money manager. I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and I’m here to answer any question you can ask about money in less than a minute.

Here’s today’s question. It comes from Warren:

“I’m trying to find a budget software application for use by me and my wife. I remember you recommended one in one of your past editions.”

Before we answer Warren’s question, let’s talk about why he wants to budget in the first place. The reason is because tracking his spending is the shortest path between where he is and where he wants to go financially. If you’re not keeping track of your expenses with a budget, you should be.

How do you make a budget? Any way you want. You can put it on a napkin. You can write it on the back of your hand. Or, you can create your own spreadsheet. As long as you’re keeping track of your expenses, you’re going to get to where you want to go.

If you want some software to help you — like Warren does — my suggestion is an aptly named app called You Need a Budget. You can find it in the Solutions Center of

You Need a Budget is a great product. Although I don’t use it personally, several members of our staff do. It does have one drawback, though: It costs $84 a year. If you can’t spend any money, two alternative suggestions are Mint or Wally. Any of these options will work.

Hope that answers your question, Warren. Meet me right here next time!

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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

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