In today’s age, we have a seemingly-endless number of tech resources to help us manage our lives. This holds true in our personal finances, as well — it’s never been easier to track our money or see where it goes. We now have hundreds of tools at our disposal, which range from investment portals and budgeting software, to mobile check deposits and IFTTT.
What is IFTTT?
Computer programming languages use what are called conditional statements. One type of conditional statement is called the “if” statement. If a user presses this button, then the program will do one thing. If the user presses another button, the program does something else.
A free website has now put the power of if statements into your hands. Called IFTTT (short for “if this then that”), the website enables users to create what are called Recipes. These Recipes allow you to automate countless online tasks without a single line of code.
The easiest way to wrap your mind around IFTTT is to see some examples. You can, for instances, create a Recipe that will automatically save any photo you are tagged in on Facebook to dropbox (here it is). In another Recipe, you can track how much time you spend in a certain location (here you go). You can check out other popular IFTTT Recipes here.
You can use IFTTT for anything! You can use it to help manage your social media, track your hours at work, or increase your productivity at home. In this article, I will show you how to use IFTTT to help you take charge of your budget. Whether you are on a survival budget or on your way to financial freedom, these recipes can help make your life easier.
5 IFTTT Recipes to Take Charge of Your Budget
- Text message me anytime I get a Mint.com notification in Gmail
Mint.com will help you aggregate your finances across different financial institutions into one powerful, visual dashboard. One of my favorite features of Mint.com is the ability to set up custom reminders and email spending alerts. The spending alerts section has several items for you to customize, such as a low balance warning for your banking accounts, reminders for bills, or warnings for when you reach your credit limit.
If you’re still working towards inbox zero, then those alerts will almost always get lost along with your hundreds of emails. This simple IFTTT recipe will send you a SMS text message on your phone whenever you receive an email from Mint.com.
- Keep track of your (online) purchases in a Google Spreadsheet
If you prefer to track purchases on your own, then a simple spreadsheet may work for you. This IFTTT recipe will automatically add a new row to your Google spreadsheet any time you place an online order. This row will be automatically filled in with the time, subject, and any attached document that is sent to your Gmail account whenever a subject line including Order or Receipt is received.
This is a good option for those who do a lot of online shopping. It can also be an alternative to organizing your receipts in Google Drive by emailing pictures of receipts to yourself using the words Order or Receipt in the subject line, and any additional notes in the body of the email.
- Keep track of your cash spending
Whether you use Mint.com or a spreadsheet to track your budget, one of the biggest challenges for those starting out is being mindful of where your cash goes. With IFTTT’s Do Note app, you can quickly and easily enter your cash spending and receive a weekly report of what you spent it on.
- Use Getting Things Done & Trello to remind yourself to pay your bills on time
With this IFTTT recipe, it will create a recurring bill to pay in the form of a card in your GTD Trello board.
- Save your money based on your preferences
Don’t know how you can possibly afford to save money on your survival budget? The internet-of-things has paved the way for new ways of thinking and has created many avenues for saving money.
Qapital is a unique company that breaks from the traditional concept of saving money. For example, it triggers savings with certain behavior, such as punishment for giving in to a “guilty pleasure.” With IFTTT, the possibilities are endless: Did you meet your step counter goal today? Does the rain make you want to save for a nice summer vacation? Did you read a book today?
All those conditions can trigger Qapital to save a designated amount. So with Qapital, you can use it to create a reward- or punishment-based system to manage your behavior while saving money at the same time! Take a look at some of the Qapital IFTTT recipes.
When it comes to budgeting, these five recipes are just the tip of the iceberg. Explore the possibilities with IFTTT to help automate your life and take control of your budget.
If you create or find some new recipes that help with your budget, please let me know by leaving a comment below or tweeting me @caquinoconsult. I’d love to hear from you!