By Kristi De Rycke, Registered Assistant
The world seems to be spinning faster and faster every day. We are trying to fit more into our 24 hours than we ever have. People are relying on organizing everything in their computers or personal devices. I often hear, “If it is not in my phone, it doesn’t get done”. So, let us get it done. Here is a list of 10 apps that can help you stay on track. The first 4 are basic personal finance each with its own strengths. The next 3 are relatively painless ways to hit savings goals or reduce debt. Find apps to help track your investments and educate yourself on what is going on in the business world and financial markets. Included below is one for teaching children and teens to manage money and save for their desired items. The last was my favorite find. It has you track how much joy you felt or did not feel with each purchase. Are we spending money in places where we do not have to and that do not provide us with joy? Read on to find out.
- Mint: This free app helps with the overall financial picture. It lets you set up a budget and easily see where you stand during the month on the budget. You can connect your bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts to it with secure encryption and multi-factor authentication. This will let you see where your investment accounts stand but also looks for hidden fees that you may not know about. It will identify where your money is going to help with the budget. It will alert you when you are over budget, your bills are coming due or there is unusual spending in an account.
- EveryDollar: This is a budgeting app that helps you track your spending. You set the budget. Then you can create a transaction each time you spend money. EveryDollar also offers a Plus version that connects your bank account and expenses.
- Personal Capital: This is a free app that essentially lets you see your total financial picture in one place. It has a snapshot of your assets, liabilities, and net worth. By putting in your investments you can see your diversification and risk level. This one will look for any hidden fees that you are paying and has a nice visual of how these fees can affect your savings. It also can help plan what you should be saving monthly and yearly with your personal established goals.
- Monefy: This free app stood out for 2 reasons. Your spouse and you can share the same one to track shared expenses. It is also very quick and easy to track expenses. There is a pie chart with categories on it including groceries, clothing, healthcare, fun, etc. You can start quickly with their standard options or personalize. All you do is click on the plus or minus button, put in amount and then click the icon to match the expense. It is that easy.
- Acorn: This app is intended to help you save and invest a little of your money every time you spend money so you can painlessly save for your future needs. It links with your credit card and rounds up every purchase to the nearest dollar and moves it directly to an account. It then is invested in ETFs for a $1-$3 monthly fee based on the type of account.
- Qoins: This app is similar to Acorn but takes the spare change that you round up and applies it to your debt. Once you have $5 or more saved up, it transfers it to pay off a debt that you identified. It has a $1.99 service fee which is taken from the change you save and not charged to your account.
- CNBC: This free app lets you track the markets, futures, and your investments. It also has constantly updating financial news. You can create a watchlist of your specific holdings.
- PiggyBot: This is a free app to teach your kids how to save money and track spending. It has fun, colorful visuals for them to learn to save and spend. It is a virtual bank account where you “deposit” money as a parent for their payday or gifts. The kids track when they make it to their goal and have enough money for what they were saving for. Then you as a parent must cough up the real cash and their account is “debited” that much. It can be helpful to avoid having to dig for one-dollar bills at allowance time.
- Joy: This is a free app that focuses on financial coaching as it relates to your happiness. It requires linking either your credit card or checking account to the app. You then must rate your purchases as “happy” or “sad”. It helps you see clearly which expenses provided you the greatest joy and was worth the expense. It also has a great deal of very down to earth finance articles to help with motivation to reach your personal financial goals.
Everyone’s comfort level is different with online activity. Please take time to look into these apps for yourself. Make certain you are comfortable with your level of privacy and security on your personal device before proceeding.
By Greg Johnson
In today’s world there are plenty of apps that can make organizing your finances easier. As with anything it is a matter of discipline in utilizing these tools to get yourself on financial track. I would suggest spending some time thinking about what your end goal is with the utilization of any type of software and then spend some time checking into the user reviews to see what others have said about the app before spending a bunch of your time entering information. Once you start using an app, be consistent. I've seen plenty of people start something and not stick with it, so they don't see the best results. Best of luck!