Master Your Money with these Essential Financial Apps
There are better ways to manage your bank balance than to pretend it doesn’t exist. (Trust us: That method doesn’t work too well in the long-term.) Instead, learn how to build a budget, stay on top of your debts, and even dabble with investing—all with the help of your phone. Thanks to these excellent financial apps, your phone is the most powerful tool you have to stay on top of expenses. Turns out you don’t need to be an accountant to get your bills in order.
Waiting on cash for the concert tickets you picked up for your buddies? Need to pay your friend back for dinner after leaving your wallet at home? There are a number of apps out there designed to solve your day-to-day money situations—and ensure your financial relationships with your nearest and dearest remain smooth and drama-free.
Venmo is one of the best financial apps for keeping on top of person-to-person payments. The app lets users seamlessly pay back their contacts and request money if owed, either through hosted app accounts or through a linked debit card or bank account. Bonus: Venmo’s public feed means you can get creative with your transfer descriptions (ample emoji use encouraged).
Then there’s Splitwise. Whether you and your roomies could use help keeping track of group utility payments, or you need to pay for that extra appetizer you took into your own hands (and mouth), the app manages IOUs and ensures everyone pays their dues.
Speaking of: the aptly named IOU app is one more clever way of reminding yourself about paying your contacts back promptly (as well as keeping you up-to-date on all of your bill and loan payments).
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Do you ever feel like money just disappears from your bank accounts? Spoiler alert: Your dollars aren’t ghosting you, but it isn’t always simple to keep track of each and every latte you buy. That’s where Mint comes in. The app’s intuitive interface gives you great visual breakdowns of your spending categories, whether it’s restaurants, coffee shops, or clothing stores that are your biggest financial sinkholes. It’s worth noting that Mint also helps you create budgets, pay bills, and even check your credit score, making it quite the in-pocket powerhouse.
Want a couple other options? PocketGuard not only keeps tabs on how much you’ve got in your accounts, but it also helps you set daily spending limits, and Wally gives you a detailed breakdown of your spending, how it relates to your income, and lets you store photos of receipts.
MAKE A BUDGET
Does “making a budget” sound about as fun to you as, say, “broken A/C in the middle of July” or “severe subway delays”? It doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to financial apps like You Need a Budget. It’s right there in the name: YNAB promises to help you save, break the debt cycle, and stop living paycheck to paycheck. How? Simple: When money enters your account, the app lets you allocate each and every dollar in advance. That means you can’t later raid your rent money for your “last minute shoe sale” fund.
And YNAB isn’t the only one. Level Money also makes savings a breeze—and keeps you on the straight and narrow—by dividing up your money into essentials, savings, and recreational categories.
Invest? Who has time to invest their money when keeping track of bills is stressful enough?
You do. At least, you do if you add Acorns to your app repertoire. Based on the idea of “micro-investing,” Acorns literally takes your spare change and puts it to good use. All you have to do is connect it to your card and start making purchases; Acorns rounds up each buy and diversifies the extra funds automatically across 7,000 stocks and bonds.
Sorry, piggy bank: looks like you might need to find another gig.
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