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Apps, Apps and more Apps!
There are A LOT of apps out there to help you manage your finances. And, I know you don’t have time to sort through the App Store and download and compare all of them to find the right ones. So, I decided to save you a little bit of time (because I am nice!) and tell you which money management apps I actually use, like and recommend.
They might not all be perfect for you, but at least you know that they are worth taking the time to look into and try out.
These apps will teach you how to budget, manage your money and show you how easy it can be to start saving and investing!
Here are 9 money management apps you should try:
Mint is a money-management app that gets all your financial information in one place. This is my favorite app to start with! This was the first money management tool I started with to learn how to budget and keep track of my income/expenses/debt. It has been super easy to use and helped me save thousands of dollars over the years.
I can connect any account I want to track, and Mint provides an easy-to-read overview/snapshot.
My favorite feature is the goals section. You can customize a goal, such as saving money in an emergency, paying off a credit card, or investing for retirement. With all your accounts linked to Mint, it is able to track your goal’s progress, and keep you on track. This is what helped me pay off my student loans in 2 years. Once I figured out this feature, Mint was able to show me how to “snow-ball” my payments until it was paid off. In addition, the visual tracking of my progress and being able to see that in x amount of months my debt will be paid off inspired me to keep going. I actually completed by goal ahead of schedule by over 4 months!
Get started with Mint here.
2. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a free financial software that allows you to easily manage your entire financial life in one secure place. This allows you can reach your goals faster. Use Personal Capital to develop your long-term financial strategy – calculate your net worth, set a budget, manage investment accounts, and plan for retirement.
3. Ally Bank
Ally has both great Interest Checking and High Yield Interest Savings Accounts. Ally is an online-only bank with no fees, no minimum balance, no minimum monthly deposit, and better interest rates than what a normal bank will pay you. Plus, Ally reimburses ATM fees up to $10/month. So, no more outrageous fees or wandering around town in search of an in-network ATM. They even have an Ally ATM finder app (which I used with ease last month when I was in New Orleans). Ally’s Mastercard debit card and easy-to-use mobile app make it easy to manage your money from anywhere in the world.
To get started, go here.
Exciting news! Ally Invest is coming soon!
Betterment is a smart, automated investing service for individual, IRA, 401k, and rollover accounts, with no commissions and low fees. They use a blend of stock and bond ETFs (no mutual funds) to keep expense ratios low. They do everything for you from investing, smart rebalancing and tax loss harvesting, so you don’t have to, and all for a low fee of 0.25% annually. Check Betterment out here and get up to 6 months free!
5. Clarity Money
Clarity Money is a new “personal finance advocate”. It is listed as 2017’s “New Apps We Love”, and is being hyped as better than Mint. This is still pretty new, and I have not used it enough to formulate a complete opinion, but it has some very appealing features. For example, it supposedly can help negotiate with companies to lower your bills and cancel expensive, recurring subscriptions (all with your permission of course).
One big negative, it is only available on Apple IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc)- no Android coverage yet.
Credit Sesame gives you a free credit report card and credit score and provides you with recommendations and financial education resources. It offers concrete steps, based on your situation, to focus on increasing and maintaining your credit score.
You can sign up and download the app here.
Stash is an app that makes it easy and simple for beginners to start investing, even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash. You can set up the app to automatically put in as little as $5/week from your bank account to invest (the minimum to open is only $5). They help you select with ETF investments to choose from. This is not a robo-advisor. Stash charges $1 a month (for portfolios under $5k), but your first 3 months are free with their current promotion.
Go here to start here.
Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit/debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests your spare change. You can connect the app to your credit and/or debit card and let it automatically round-up all your purchases, or manually round up only the transactions you choose. Once your spare change reaches $5, that amount is transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio. You do not need any investment/stock market knowledge to get started. It is the ultimate beginning-investor-friendly app. With just $5/day, you would have almost $2k saved in a year!
The company charges $12/year (or $1/month) in fees if your portfolio balance is less than $5000. If greater than $5000, the fee is 0.275%. Either way, this is less than a traditional broker account.
You can sign up and download the app here.
Digit is a completely free, smart savings app that analyzes how much money you have in your checking account and automatically starts setting aside an amount you can afford to save. It actually observes your cashflow, recurring bills, spending habits and patterns to determine a “safe” amount of money you can transfer save. It takes away the stress, time and guess-work from you and automatically performs all the calculations, work and transfers for you. If your income goes down, you won’t be committed to an automatic transfer that could overdraft your account.
Digit will even cover overdraft fees if caused by its withdrawals (and you know they work hard to prevent this from happening). This is free to use, however it doesn’t offer any interest on your saved money except for “Savings Bonuses” paid every 3 months at 0.20% annually. Although, you can withdraw your money at any time, such as moving it over to a high-yield interest savings account. The SMS text communication is also a cool feature.
**Side Note: There is “talk” that Digit might be adding a low monthly fee this year.**
Get started with Digit here.
There are a lot of good apps out there to help you save and manage your money, but some are better than others and not all are going to be perfect for your situation (ie spending habits, savings and investment goals, comfort level).
Finding a few apps (because Millennials love Apps), to use together will help you focus and track your spending and saving patterns and then refocus and realign your saving and money management with your future goals.
It’s Your Turn: What are your favorite budgeting and money-management apps?