Top 4 Personal Finance Apps You Need to Get Your Finances In Order
Technology is a blessing if you use it in the right way. Let’s fast track our journey to financial freedom by using apps to aid us in monitoring our budget, debt payments, savings, and investing. With these tools, it will be easy to know our overall financial health, and make changes in our spending, saving, budgeting, and investing habits.
1. Budgeting – Mint
Mint is the perfect app to make sure that you’re within your budget because you can connect your debit and credit cards to the app, and they will monitor your spending habits. You can also link a loan, mortgage, investment, house, or car so that Mint gets a better picture of your net worth (i.e. your assets – your debts).
Once you have linked all your accounts, it’s easy to see the picture of your spending. You can see in the graph below my spending in May compared to my spending in April:
This is a wonderful tool for you to stop and think why your spending has increased or decreased. In my case, my spending increased because I paid for a deposit on a hotel for a family trip, and will get paid back by the others for their portion of the hotel. So, I know that I actually am spending pretty much the same that I spend in April after my reimbursements from my family members.
The best aspect of this app is the budgeting tool. Once you’ve seen your spending, and analyze what you are spending your money on, the next step is to create a budget for each category of spending. Mint literally has every category imaginable, from Alcohol & Bars to Charity to Hobbies. Simply choose a category and select how often and the amount you will spend in that category:
Once all of your categories are set up, you can then see how your are tracking against your budget every month. You will see if you are over or under budget, and can dive deeper into analyzing your budget and holding yourself accountable.
You can also set up goals, such as paying off credit card debt, saving for an emergency fund, buying a home, and taking a trip. You can use Mint’s calculator to see how much you need to put towards the goal by your goal date and even link your account to your goal so that it’s easy to stick with your plan.
And pro tip: go to the Transactions tab and the Trends tab and filter through all your transactions and categories to see how much you spend on each category each month. These tools are how I realized I spend way too much money on restaurants each month, and started to adjust my behavior.
Best of all: Mint is FREE.
2. Paying Debt – YNAB (You Need a Budget)
YNAB makes it easy for you to use a budget to pay down your debt. When you create an account, they will ask you if you have a goal and strategy to pay down your debt. You can set a goal to pay your balance over time by a specific date and input your goal target month and year.
You can enter the amounts for all of your budgets, but the debt payments section is particularly useful for you to understand that paying down your debt has to actually be a budget line item. You can see my May student loan payment in my budget below:
To keep you on track, YNAB gives you a quick budget snapshot at all times.
You can even move money from other categories’ budgets to fund another budget. For example, I can move $85 from my restaurants budget to pay my Chase credit card.
You can even add a recurring transaction. For example, I pay my Chase credit card on the 1st of every month, so I can record that recurring payment on the app.
You can use YNAB for free for 34 days. After your free trial, the app costs $84/year (or $7/month).
3. Saving – Clarity Money
Like the other apps, you can connect your accounts to Clarity Money. Clarity Money is unique because they come up with insights about your spending and suggestions for you to save money. For example, they told me that I spent $130.60 in the last few days and also asked me if I wanted to cancel my Comcast subscription.
Clarity also gives you a really good picture of how much you spend month to month with a good ‘ol bar graph.
And to help you achieve your savings goals, Clarity partners with companies that offer high interest savings accounts. Yes, it is advertising, but they advertised the exact savings account I’m want to open: the 2.25% APY with Marcus Goldman Sachs (my message isn’t sponsored, though).
Clarity Money is 100% free to use, so go and check it out.
4. Investing – Personal Capital
When you first sign up for Personal Capital, one of the first steps is to tell them about yourself. They ask you to give information about your current age, planned retirement age, and how much you already have save.
You link all of your accounts like the other apps, but with Personal Capital, you also are prompted to link your investment accounts. I also love how you can easily link your student loan accounts as well. They also prompt you to enter your other assets, such as a home or car, to get the fullest picture of your net worth.
The coolest part of this app for me is the fact that not only is the stock market tracked daily, but also your net worth.
Personal Capital even gives you articles with investing advice.
All in all, Personal Capital is a wonderful way to monitor your net worth, current investments, current cash flow, and retirement savings.
Best of all: it’s free!
How do you currently track your finances? Comment below.
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