Mobile spending, as multiple headlines have told us throughout the years, is something that can quickly get out of hand. Google today is looking to do something about that by rolling out budgeting for the Google Play Store. With this new feature, you’ll be able set a budget for mobile purchases and track how close you are to meeting that limit.
Of course, it isn’t really in Google’s best interest to outright stop you from buying something from the Google Play Store, so this budgeting feature doesn’t actually prevent you from purchasing content even if that purchase would set you over your budget. Still, you will get alerts when you’re getting close to or have exceeded your budget, so as long as you can exercise some self-restraint, this feature could help you stay within spending limits.
Setting up a budget seems to be a fairly easy thing. With the Google Play Store open, tap the menu button, then tap “Account,” and then “Purchase History.” Once you’re viewing your Purchase History, select “Set Budget,” enter the amount you want to avoid going over, and then tap “Save.” Once you’ve saved a budget, you’ll also have the option of editing it or removing it from the Purchase History page.
For the moment, it seems that this functionality is only available on Android phones and tablets, with the Google Play Help page explaining how to set a budget making no mention of iOS at all. You can also only set a budget in the currency of the country listed in your Google Play profile, but you can change your country by going back into the menu, tapping “Account” again, and then going into “Country and Profiles.”
It would have been nice to see Google let its users set a budget that prevents them from spending more once they hit the limits they set, but since Google’s ultimate goal is to make money from the apps and content on the Google Play Store, we don’t really see that happening. Instead, we’ll have to settle for these alerts, which are certainly better than nothing.