Top Apps That Help You Manage Your Money
Finance

Top Apps That Help You Manage Your Money

Clare H.
Dec 16, 2020

Once upon a time, our parents set aside some time once a week to pay bills by check and balance their checkbooks. With automated bill pay, mobile bank accounts and cashless transactions it may seem easier to manage your finances but how well do you know where your money is on any given day?

Enter money management apps. These handy apps allow you to link all of your accounts – banking accounts, credit cards, bills, investment accounts — to one tool, so you can see your financial outlook at any given moment.

Even better? Most of the apps are free or low-cost. All it takes are a few clicks and you can manage your money with ease. Here’s how.

Budgeting

The first step in gaining control of your finances is to know where your money is and where it is going. Countless financial advisors suggest following a budget to not only keep track of your funds but to help you reach your goals. Not saving enough, for example? Review your budget and see where you may be able to cut back to put more money aside.

But budgeting can be an arduous process if it weren’t for apps that can do all of the work for you. Not sure how to draft a budget? No worries; apps like EveryDollar have your back. It can help you set up a budget to follow within 10 minutes.

You can establish and set budgetary goals, or let a budgeting app like YNAB (You Need a Budget) set them for you based on your needs. The app doesn’t just show you how much you are spending but helps you make decisions throughout the month with proactive settings to make sure you spend your money the right way. It claims its users see a $600 savings in the first two months.

Link your accounts and allow your budgeting app to split your income into various spending “envelopes,” as Goodbudget does. Our grandparents may have used the literal technique of dividing their spending money into actual envelopes. When money was gone, it was gone. Goodbudget does the same thing electronically, making sure you spend your earnings the right way.

Tracking Expenses

Just as a business keeps close tabs on its expenses versus earnings, you should be well aware of your expenses versus income. Tracking what you’re spending your money on helps you to see if you are over or under on your budget and goes hand in hand with budgeting.

Apps that track expenses such as Quicken’s Simplifi, perform automatic categorization of your spending without having to save and record receipts and helps you keep them organized and aligned within your budget.

Money management apps like Mint and Personal Capital can also track expenses but go even further. These apps can help you follow your budget, pay your bills, move funds between accounts, make sure your retirement goals are on track, see your net worth, and of course, make adjustments where you see red flags.

It’s all automated so you save yourself hours of organization and tracking and just open your app on your smartphone day or night.

Paying Off Debt

If getting out of debt is a top priority, the best debt apps help you pay your debts more quickly. Often, debt apps can show you different scenarios for how you can apply your funds to pay down debts, such as paying those with the highest interest (debt avalanche) or those with the smallest balance (debt snowball).

Apps like Debt Manager can be set up to pay your credit cards debts in an avalanche or snowball method. When the debt is paid, the app automatically begins putting the former payments into the next debt on the list. The same can be done with student loans on debt apps like ChangEd.

Other debt apps work to find you extra money to help pay down your debts more quickly. Link your accounts to Qoins, for example, and it will round up your debt payment to the nearest dollar and put the spare change toward a debt so that you are paying a debt every time you shop.

Saving Money

You know you should be putting aside money into a savings account yet you never seem to get around to it. This is when a money-saving app can give you the boost you need.

Acorn, for example, works like Qoins but for investing. Link your bank account and every time you spend it will round up to the nearest dollar and transfer the balances into exchange traded funds (ETFs) with as little as $5. These aren’t stocks that will make you rich but are “acorns” to set you on your path to growth over time.

Other apps like Digit and Empower will automatically save money for you based on your goals and targets, making sure you don’t forget to get around to savings. Empower will give you 0.25% APY on your savings with no account minimums and instant access to your funds while Digit reviews your spending and will automatically — even daily — set aside some money into savings based on how much you have spent. This means when you’re spending is high, it automatically saves less and vice versa, ending the excuses of not getting around to saving.

Best Money Management Apps

Here’s a look at some of the best money management apps and how they compare, from the best apps for budgeting to the best apps for debt, the best apps for tracking expenses to the best apps for freelancers, and the best apps for saving money to the best all-around money management apps.

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The Bottom Line

Money management apps do the work for you — saving, paying bills, budgeting, tracking your money — so you have a better understanding of your finances. Using these automated tools can help you finally save, invest, get out of debt, and take full control of your finances and your life and set you on the path to financial freedom.

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