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How to Make Budget Apps Work Even When You Have No Discipline

Jehanne Teo

Jehanne Teo

Last updated 17 December, 2015
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >How to Make Budget Apps Work Even When You Have No Discipline</span>

Do you have trouble using a budget app consistently? We spoke to an expat who shared secrets to making it work.

Have you ever tried recording your expenses in a budgeting app only to give up a few days later? Most people find difficulty in keeping the discipline to track their spending manually We confess: we’re the same! But many finance blogs recommend listing your expenses so you realise just how much you’re spending on a daily basis.

Expat and money saving expert Pimwadee Lai has been recording her spending on a budgeting app daily for the past five years. Her secret?

“I read an article in Psychology Today which said that big life moments, like getting pregnant or moving to a new company, makes acquiring new habits easier,” said Ms Lai.


She started tracking her expenses when she moved from Thailand to Singapore in 2010. Every single time she reaches into her wallet to pay for something, she reminds herself to make a note on her favourite apps, Spending and Expense, immediately.

“I wanted to keep track of how much I was spending living alone. I was also curious as how much more or less I'd be spending in Singapore compared to my home country.”

But even Ms Lai struggled in the beginning. She had to force herself to do it until it became a routine for her.

“It’s definitely not for everyone. My friends have tried it, but it never lasted beyond a month or two.”

However, she doesn’t believe in setting a budget. Seeing her spending listed out on the app helps her realise how much she’s been spending and keeps her spending in check. Ms Lai prioritises the essentials such as rent and food before she allows herself to spend on the fun stuff.

Her advice for making this a habit for yourself?

“Make it a compulsory thing. Do it immediately after you spend and don't round up. Most people start off by writing the exact amount. Then they begin to estimate how much they're spending because they get lazy about immediately putting it down. Eventually, they just trail off altogether.”

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Starting out as a lifestyle writer, Jehanne currently writes for about saving money in everyday situations.


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