Google wants to help you curb your paid app shopping sprees

If you have trouble controlling occasional Google Play spending sprees, then a little help is at hand via Google itself.

Fresh off the back of adding a feature measuring how much of your limited existence you’re frittering away in apps, Google now lets you set a Google Play budget to ensure you don’t spend your way out of your next rent payment.

The feature, first spotted by VentureBeat, seems to be enjoying a slow roll out test phase – it’s not yet appearing on my Huawei P20 Pro – but Google is confident enough it its permanence to create a support page about it.

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If it’s reached your Android handset, then setting it up is easy. On your Android device, open the Google Play Store, then tap “Menu”, “Account” and “Purchase History.” If the feature is ready for your handset, you’ll find an option to “Set budget”, at which point you enter a figure and tap save.

After this, whenever you buy anything from the store you’ll get a note if you’re coming perilously close to your budget, and when you go over. Yep, there’s nothing actually stopping you from sabotaging yourself by going over your budget: this is purely an aid for people who want to help themselves.

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Google isn’t the first company to introduce budgets for apps. Arch rivals Apple used to have something calle iTunes Allowances which let parents set up monthly credit for their children to spend on apps and digital content. With the roll out of Family Sharing, Apple discontinued the service.

A cynic would point out that Apple probably has more need for this feature than Google, of course. While the gap is closing, when it comes to using actual money, iPhone users are still far more free spending than their Android counterparts.  

Will having an app budget help you? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.