Take a moment. Close your eyes if you need to. Imagine your dream vacation. Maybe you see yourself on a beach with warm ocean waves crashing and palm trees rustling in a mild breeze while you stretch out in the sun. Maybe it’s a stroll down the Champs-Élysées in Paris as your scarf flutters and you approach the landmark Arc de Triomphe.
Don’t let these vacations remain solely in the realm of your dreams. Take control of your budget, spending, and savings and make your trip of a lifetime happen. These apps can help.
1. Mint app for budgeting
When it comes to name recognition, Mint is at the top for budgeting apps. Mint wants to help you in every area of your financial life, from creating budgets to tracking and paying your bills and keeping an eye on your credit score. Mint works best when you link your existing banking, credit card, and billing accounts so you can access all of your financial information in one place.
Mint may be the most famous of the budgeting apps, but it’s not your only option. Read on.
2. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
The basic philosophy behind You Need a Budget (YNAB for short) is that you assign a job to every dollar you bring in. That may mean a certain amount goes to housing, some to retirement, some to food, and, yes, some to your vacation fund. No dollar goes without a purpose.
You can set savings goals and YNAB will help keep you on track for reaching them. The system offers a detailed and comprehensive approach to managing your budget. YNAB costs $6.99 per month after the free trial, but its fans say it saves them enough to make up for the price.
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3. Acorns micro-investing app
If you’ve ever kept a piggy bank, then you know spare change can add up over time. Acorns is a micro-investing app that focuses on turning spare change into returns. You link your banking, debit, and credit card accounts to Acorns and it will round up your purchases, and then automatically take that small extra change and invest it. Acorns starts at $1 per month.
4. Wallet sets financial goals
Wallet is a goal-based app that lets you track your finances and budget accordingly. You can automatically sync your accounts or add in the data manually (or a combination of the two). Wallet’s ability to generate eye-catching visualizations will help you see where your money is going. You can also set up reminders in case you’re forgetful about making payments. Users like Wallet for its simplicity and clean design.
5. Simple online bank
If you’re willing to switch banks in pursuit of better budgeting, then Simple may be worth a look. It’s an online bank that sweetens the deal with a suite of budgeting and savings features that put you in better control of your money.
When it comes to your vacation, you can designate your dream trip as a goal and let Simple automatically save up money toward the journey. You can choose to set aside a big chunk or add a little bit over time as your income allows. Simple’s app lets you easily track your progress.
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6. Trail Wallet works only with Apple
Taking a trip doesn’t have to mean losing track of your budget. Trail Wallet, which is only available for iOS, is dedicated to keeping your budget in line when you travel. It lets you quickly log your expenses, big and small, by category while you’re on-the-go. You can set a daily budget to help you keep your spending under control. The colorful interface makes the charts easy to follow. Trail Wallet is free for the first 25 items but requires a $4.99 in-app purchase to track unlimited items.
7. Digit.co automatically saves money for you
You have a goal: your dream vacation, a new computer, or a home improvement project. You have a number in mind that it will take to achieve it. This is where an app like Digit comes in. Digit is more about saving than overall budgeting. It automates the process by monitoring your bank account and then automatically moving savings into a Digit account. It tracks your spending habits, income, and bills to determine how much can safely be socked away.
You can dedicate some or all of that automated savings to your vacation budget. You can even name it something catchy to help keep you motivated, like “Hawaii Sun Fun” or “London Adventure.” Digit’s hands-off approach makes it easy to save up money over time.