By: Taylor Martz
Whether you’re a budgeting newbie or a financial planning wizard, balancing a budget, paying bills, and monitoring investments can feel like a full-time job. A lot of us tend to let money management fall to the bottom of our priority list when we’re pressed for time; however, thanks to advancements in technology, the tools to monitor our financial health are at our fingertips.
There’s an abundance of apps claiming to help manage your finances, but I’m guessing you don’t have an abundance of time. Lucky for you, I’ve sifted through the App Store and compared the highest-rated apps to find the best roundup for all your money needs.
Here are 4 money management apps I suggest, whether you’re fresh out of college or struggling to find the time to balance a checkbook:
If you’re a newcomer to the mobile budgeting world, this is the one app you’ve probably heard mentioned in your outer circle– and for a good reason. Whether you consider yourself inexperienced or a seasoned expert, this platform features a user-friendly interface that puts all your financial information in one place. With automatic updates from all your financial accounts (think bank, retirement, and credit cards combined), Mint makes tracking and managing money a breeze.
My favorite feature toggles between the account overview page, featuring a pie chart for a simple, visual overview of my spending, and the “saving goals” tab where I can see how much progress I’ve made toward reaching different goals like a reunion trip to Nashville with friends, a new smartwatch, or a yoga retreat. You can even link all of your bills in the “Mint Bills” portion of the app so you’ll receive digital alerts and never have to worry about a late payment ever again! This app is the easiest and most comprehensive way I’ve found to track the money coming in versus money going out.
I’ll be the first to admit that “investing” is an intimidating term to me (mainly because I’m unfamiliar with trade secrets and don’t have previous investment history or knowledge). If you’re in the same boat, don’t fret– Acorns is a great place to start when curious about making a hands-off, semi-passive income.
Acorns process is simple: Once your credit or debit card is connected, it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change. You can allow the app to manually round up or choose only specific transaction amounts, like $0.50 or less. Just think about how much you could save and invest through your bi-weekly runs to Starbucks. That $4.65 cup of coffee turns into a $0.35 investment! Acorns removes the responsibility and time associated with picking individual investments or focusing on specific trades. This app makes your digital change work for you, not the other way around.
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s easy to run to an after-work happy hour and not think about where the money toward drinks could be going instead. If you struggle with putting aside money for your savings account, Digit is going to be your new best friend. Digit automatically pulls a small amount of money and stashes it in a savings account after analyzing your spending habits. It’s easy to get caught up and forget to put aside $5 or $50 toward our emergency fund, but Digit automates this tiresome process without making you feel as if you’re missing out on extra cash.
You know those lofty student loans you have? Try using Digit to help pay off principal each month to make your debt feel more manageable!
Whether you’re still in college, recently graduated, or established in your career, everyone still runs across a time when you need to split the cost with friends, family, significant others, or roommates. Splitwise makes the entire process painless, guilt-free and removes the need for awkward conversations. This app is the easiest way to divide bills equally, settle IOUs, and make sure everyone gets paid back fairly. Going on a road trip? Splitting a gift for your boss? Forgot your wallet at dinner? There’s an app for that.
Sure, sure, you’re probably thinking, “Well duh, that’s what Venmo is for.” While you’re not wrong, Venmo is great for quick transactions, Splitwise allows you to create categories, groups, and split bills all within the same app. Each person can log in, see their balances, add new expenses or settle IOUs. And Venmo users, guess what? You can settle these payments by USD, PayPal, and even Venmo! Splitwise’s clean interface and push notifications for bills and new expenses reduce the possibility of uncomfortable financial conversations or arguments (this is a college roommate and landlord’s dream!).
We’re not all financial wizards or an accounting extraordinaire; however, we can take a step toward financial security, freedom, and flexibility by managing our money at our fingertips. Whether you’re always on the go, pressed for time, or just plain uncomfortable with numbers (fear of numbers is a real thing— check it out!), these four apps can help you transition to fiscal responsibility and take some financial weight off your shoulders. Give them a try and see what I mean!
Your Turn: What are your favorite budgeting and money-management apps? How does mobile finance make your life easier?