One of the best things about apps is their affordability. Often, mobile apps can do things that desktop or web-based software and service can, but at fractions of the price. Even in-app purchases and monthly subscriptions for premium versions of some apps are usually minuscule—often no more than a cup of coffee.
Those low prices can be deceiving, however, and impulse purchases add up. You can easily find yourself spending more than you meant to if you’re not vigilant.
To help users avoid overspending, Google is rolling out a new Google Play Store setting that lets users set budgets and keep track of how much they’re spending. Below, how to set it up:
To apply this setting open Google Play Store app
Tap the menu icon in the upper-left, then go to Account & Purchase History. Note: this new setting is still being rolled out to all users. If you see “Order History” instead of “Purchase History,” then the budget setting hasn’t reached you quite yet.
We can’t say for certain when it will be available since it’s dependent on Google’s servers rather than the app, but most users should have it soon.
In the Purchase History tab, tap “Set budget”
Type in the monthly budget you wish to set for yourself. Once added, you’ll see a progress bar that will fill in with each purchase. Below that will be a chronological purchase history so you can see what recent orders are contributing to your current monthly total.
This is going to be helpful for those with strict spending limits, but there is one important catch: Google won’t prevent you from going over-budget. In fact, there seems to be minimal feedback given if you cross your limit, or even just start to get near it.
You can always see the progress in the settings, and purchases will display a yellow caution notification when purchasing something after over-spending, but that’s the most you’ll get. The only way to stop spending if you go over-budget is to cancel the transaction.
Still, for individuals trying to keep themselves honest about their spending habits, it’s a smart feature to use, and a good visual budgeting aid that will at least prevent mindlessly hitting “purchase.”