January 29, 2021
Personal finance apps are a staple of today’s finance landscapes. With our world getting busier every day, with more data to consume and more things to do, personal finance apps can help us stay vigilant about our financial goals. These apps can help track spending, saving, and investing. They can also track bill payments and keep you up to date on credit score changes. You can also connect personal finance apps to your financial institution so you can see where the money from your bank account is being spent.
Let’s go over some popular personal finance apps and how they can help you make better financial decisions:
Do you have multiple bank accounts and investment platforms? Personal Capital is a digital wealth management app that lets you sync, monitor and track your financial accounts in one place. It also has some nifty tools for people with complex financial portfolios, such as a net worth calculator, a savings planner (with an intuitive dashboard), a retirement planner and others.
The company also keeps adding to its roster of offerings and tools. The Fee Analyzer scans linked investment accounts for hidden or high fees, while the Education Planner helps you calculate the impact of taking an extra year to graduate or going to an in-state vs out-of-state college.
While it’s budgeting features are more general than a purely budgeting app would have, it does allow to set time-specific financial goals.
Mint was one of the first personal finance apps to gain popularity with average investors and savers. The app and website make it easy to track your day-to-day spending and can even send you notifications when you’re close to going over a budget category.
You have to link your credit cards and bank accounts to Mint before it can monitor your spending, but once connected it syncs regularly and automatically categorizes your spending. You can set up as many categories as your budget needs, but we recommend having the basics set up like home, food, and transportation. You can also link some of your investment accounts with Mint and it gives you the total amount of portfolio.
The app and website You Need A Budget (YNAB) has a cult-following amongst serious personal financers. Both the app and website follow the concepts laid out in a book with the same name. YNAB is a great choice if you want more control over your budget or are tired of being caught off-guard by expenses.
YNAB’s budgeting software encourages you to assign a “job” to every dollar coming into your account, helps you identify places you can cut back in order to contribute to savings, and offers a dynamic interface that’s able to quickly adjust budgets when a financial situation changes. Also included are metrics such as ‘age of money’ which encourages users to use today’s money to fund expenses in the future, not the past.
The website also has multiple reports that helps users see an income statement of their revenue and expenses, track net worth and drill into expenses by category.
Does saving and investing feel overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than putting change into a (digital) piggybank, which is exactly what Acorns offers to beginning investors. But with a strong advantage over its physical counterpart, Acorns actually invests your money before you even notice it’s gone.
It does this by connecting with your checking account and rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar. It then funnels this change into a robo-managed investment account. For example, if you purchase something for $4.75, Acorns will take the extra quarter and invest it for you.
It’s not great for saving and investing for a major life event like retirement, but Acorns does help cut down on the mindless spending.
Digit automizes your savings in small ways that you might not notice as well, in a slightly different approach than Acorns. It looks over your income and spending habits to analyze how much you can save each month. Digit will then transfer money from your checking account to your Digit account, based on what you can safely afford.
If you’re worried because your spending is erratic or different month over month, Digit offers a no-overdraft guarantee. It does all the thinking and analyzing for you and can help you give an estimate of the amount you should be saving every month. This app looks at your current income and expenditures two to three times a week. It then calculates what you can save and puts that amount aside in an FDIC-insured account.
Truebill is one of the newer apps on this list and provides a service that has unfortunately become more necessary as businesses adapt to changing consumer habits. The app promises to help users track spending, identify subscriptions they’ve forgotten about, and cancel unwanted ones.
It’s truly difficult to pick out all recurring charges you might be paying for, since almost everything is offered on a subscription based model now from clothes to toothbrushes to snacks. Truebill claims to save users an average $512 a year.
It’s important to know all the tools you have at your disposal as you grow your wealth and investments. With the power and convenience of technology, saving money is becoming easier than ever.
Pick one or a combination of the apps we’ve listed above to help you monitor your spending, track your expenses, stay on top of bill payments and manage your cash flow. These apps are offering newer and ‘smarter’ services so rapidly that there’s almost no downside to trying them out.