The creator of You Need A Budget (YNAB) recently announced the launch of YNAB for the iPhone. This could be a hugely useful tool to help you keep track of your spending since you can see your balances as you’re out and about. Unfortunately I don’t have an iPhone and can’t seem to convince anyone to buy one for me and pay for my plan . Therefore, I won’t be able to give a personal review on this product.
The launch of this app brings up an interesting point that I’ve been thinking about. I promote using a cash budget because of the instant feedback it provides. However, as the worlds of cell phones, budgeting software, and payments merges, I could see a world in which you could get the same benefits of using cash while taking advantage of the convenience of electronic payments.
For example, let’s take the YNAB iPhone app a step further. Imagine if you could use your iPhone to pay for a purchase (using a technology like contactless payments which already exists) and have an app like YNAB that could sync in real time with your budget. In that scenario you could see in real-time what your balance is for a category, make your purchase, and the iPhone would prompt you (or force you) to choose a category (or categories) for the purchase. That data would be synced real-time so if your spouse was also making a purchase around the same time, he would see the change in balance reflected on his phone. You would have all the real-time feedback of cash with the convenience of e-payments. The only thing this wouldn’t simulate is the feel of money leaving your hands which can be quite powerful. You could even enforce restricted spending. For example, on your child’s phone you could dictate how much they could spend in any given category.
Eventually the scenario I just explained will happen. All the technologies are there, it’s just a matter of them maturing and being adopted on a wide-spread basis.
But I digress, YNAB for the iPhone is a great place to start. If you decide to try it, please let me know what you think so I can pass it along to other readers.
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