Every year as the holidays approach, I physically shudder at the thought of all of the money I'll no doubt find myself spending in the months ahead. From gifts to plane tickets home to a handful of annual subscription fees, the ratio of how much money is coming in versus how much is going out can be a little difficult to keep track of at times. A few years ago, I thought bullet journaling and writing my goals down on paper would be a good way to tackle issues like this, though I later found that that wasn't the method for me. A short time later, I came across an app that has saved me a lot of financial stress, and depending on your money management style, it might also do the same for you.
I use a handful of budgeting apps, but the one that I find myself relying on the most is an app called Dollarbird. Here's why:
What It Is
Dollarbird is a free, cloud-based budgeting app that you can access via your iPhone, Android, or desktop. It uses a calendar format that allows you to track all of your past, current, and future expenses on a day-to-day basis, splitting them up into categories like Groceries, Rent, Utilities, etc.
How It Works
Unlike some of the other finance apps out there, Dollarbird doesn't connect to your personal bank account, so it's safe to use even for people who are often wary about sharing their financial information. That being said, if you use the app, you'll have to log all of your transactions manually. It sounds a bit tedious, but it's actually my favorite thing about the app.
Because the app utilizes a calendar feature, logging your purchases can give you a clear look at how much money you spend on both a monthly and day-to-day basis. And since you can also enter your salary information and set up recurring transactions that you can leave unconfirmed until a bill is paid or a payment is received, it allows you to project your future cash flow as well.
Each date shown on Dollarbird's calendar has a number that should comply with the amount of money that's either in your bank account or expected to be there. That means that if today is the 13th and you have $1,000, it'll be reflected on the app. You can also see the amount of money you're expected to have on future days, depending on whether or not you've set up a recurring payday or payment. So if you have $1,000 on the 13th but plan on making a $200 purchase a week from now, the calendar will show you a future account balance of $800. If there happens to be a payday or another transaction somewhere in between, then the calendar will reflect that too.
Why I Depend on It
Dollarbird helps me look at the bigger picture of my spending habits, and it gives me a chance to see how one purchase today can affect me a few weeks down the line. This is extremely helpful when I'm planning for abnormal expenses that don't occur as often, and it's even more helpful when I'm trying to keep a close eye on what I'm spending around the holidays. The bottom line here is that this is one of the simplest money management apps I've ever used, and I'm sure my bank account will be thanking me for putting it to use later.