(FinancialHealth.net) – Our world is changing. While budgeting and penny pinching becomes more important than ever, technology rapidly expands to help make it easier, more efficient, and more effective than ever. There is no longer a need to pour hours into careful calculations with paper and pen. Now, you can use one of these apps to get your finances into shape – and keep them there, too.
Mint is a really well-thought-out financial management platform that lets you link and track transactions across bank accounts, credit cards, and more. Information updates automatically, so when you log in, you have everything you need to make important decisions organized in a single location.
So, what can you do in Mint? See spending habits unfold in real time, categorize and map out transactions so you can spot wasted cash, or just track your bills and make sure they’re paid every month. Mint even offers totally free credit scores and credit monitoring services, helping you stay safe.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) took the internet by storm in late 2019 – and there’s a good reason why. Like Mint, it allows you to link money sources, track spending, plan, and get a bird’s eye view of your finances. But it also feels friendlier, more welcoming, and easier to use. That’s often the deciding factor for people who are trying out apps for the very first time.
The catch? YNAB isn’t free, and it’s really geared more towards the committed user than the every-so-often planner. The only way to use it effectively is to plan and map out your goals in advance, which might turn some people off. On the other hand, it just might be what someone needs to stay on track and stop making excuses.
Where YNAB is complex, PocketGuard, a new smartphone app, is incredibly simple. It more or less boils budgeting down to the absolute basics and gives you an instant snapshot of where you’re spending (or overspending).
This app wins bonus points for crunching most of the numbers on your behalf, which might make it an ideal choice for people who find math intimidating or even downright terrifying. But don’t assume it isn’t robust; it still provides plenty of categorization and customization options.
Clarity Money is a special, AI-backed platform that functions very much like Mint, YNAB, and other tracking apps. It stands out, however, because it also lets you track, manage, and cancel subscriptions (such as Netflix or Hulu) on the fly. Companies who provide these services bank on people forgetting to cancel them – and they can really add up to a lot of money if you forget about them.
We really have to make mention of the fact that Clarity uses machine learning to help you budget. It learns about your habits and spending over time, which lets it make smarter suggestions and display information that’s more useful to you. The only catch is that you can’t automatically sync accounts; you’ll need to enter info manually.
Personal Capital is a finance management platform designed for people who not only want to manage spending, but also those who want to grow their wealth. It is at its heart an investment tool (complete with both robo-advisors and human advisors, if that’s useful to you). But when you peel back the layers, it’s really so much more.
Use Personal Capital to connect accounts, monitor spending, catch wasted cash, and keep an eye on IRAs and 401ks. It also lets you see your mortgage and loan status from other finance companies in real-time, which can help you stop using credit ineffectively. We also love their net worth tracker for its ability to let you see how much you improve and grow over time.
Apps can be a great way to manage your finances, especially if you want to do a lot in as little time as possible. The only word of caution we have is to always be sure the apps you use are secure. Most, including the entries on this list, use finance industry standards to ensure your data is safe, and that’s a good thing. If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask customer support for clarification before you start.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health!
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