To kick off my week of apps, I wanted to start out with one of my favorite categories. OK, they ALL might be my favorite, but I REALLY REALLY love personal finance apps! There was a time not too long ago, that I was using 3 different systems for checking up on my finances. I had an excel sheet, I used Quicken, and I used an app. I had to make sure all three were in sync at ALL times, and then I knew that was where I stood with my finances. Well, I have since ditched Quicken and the excel sheet I used to use, and now use a combination of apps. I started adding my own screen shots to this post, and then decided I really didn’t want everyone knowing that much about my finances… so you get screen shots from the Google Play store… sorry, not sorry.
Mint – I really love Mint for ONE thing, and that is to tell me where I stand across all the accounts that I have. I don’t use it for budgeting, because it just doesn’t work the way I want it to for a budget (we’ll get to that later). The ONLY account that it’s missing of mine is my Robinhood account (another we’ll get to later). I really love the broad overview of where every single one of my accounts stands, and the overall picture of my net worth.
Prism – Mint also has a Bills app, and I’ve tried to like it a few times, but I just can’t seem to get on board with it. On the other hand… Prism is my absolute favorite bill monitoring app. The user interface is fantastic, and it can sync up with a TON of different bill providers. I love that it will get the amounts owed from the billers and let you know what is coming up soon. You can manually enter the bills that it doesn’t have access to yet, so you can get the big picture of everything that is coming in and going out of your bank account.
Mvelopes – Now this app right here is where I do ALL my budgeting. It is based on the “envelope” system of budgeting, where you take all your money and distribute it into envelopes, hence the name mvelopes. When it’s time to pay a bill, or buy some groceries, you take the money out of that envelope and buy what you need. It syncs up perfectly with most bank accounts, and I can just assign the transactions that come through my account to their respective envelopes. I only have my main checking account associated with mvelopes, because if I have more than that, it just gets a little confusing trying to figure out how much is in the different accounts. This way, my main checking account is separated into various “virutal” envelopes and I can see exactly how much I can spend on each category. Using their web interface you can set your budgets for the next several months, and tell the app how much of each paycheck should go into each envelope. When you get paid you can tell it to fund all the envelopes based on what you have already set, or adjust the funding if you need to put more money somewhere else. This app seriously keeps me on track, and allows me to only spend what I mean to spend in each category.
Your Bank – No matter who you bank with, there is likely an app for that. I recommend downloading that app. It will usually allow you to deposit checks into your account from your mobile device (no more running to the bank!), and will let you transfer money to and from the account, and of course just check in on your balance.
Acorns – Acorns is actually an investment account. You don’t have to save up a ton of money right off the bat to get it started though, which is so nice. You connect your bank account to the app, and then tell it to round up your transactions. So, if I spend 24.95 at the grocery store, it will take .05 and add it to the Acorns account. The one bummer, is that it can’t actually just have you charge $25 at the store. It will take the .05 and will add it to a temporary holding area, and then when it reaches 5.00 it will take 5.00 out of your bank account and transfer it to the Acorns account. It’s the kind of thing you set, and forget about, until you look at your Acorns account one day and suddenly you have $600! As my account grows I keep meaning to take 500 out and invest it in a IRA account, but I haven’t done that yet. I have had to take some of the money out for an emergency though, and it took a little less than a week to get my money. That was a concern of mine prior to setting up my account, and it was super easy to take the money out.
Qapital – I just barely found this app, and at first glance it’s a lot like Acorns. One difference, though is this is not a retirement account. This is a savings account. What I REALLY liked about Qapital is you can create different goals. I currently have 3 goals running, a trip to Disney World for my family, a new car, and an emergency fund. You can also set different savings methods for each goal. For my emergency fund goal I have it set to the 52 week rule, where it will transfer 1$ the first week 2$ the second 3$ the third, and so on and so on. There is also the “set & forget” rule which will transfer a fixed amount every day/week/month etc. One of my favorite rules you can set is the “Guilty Pleasure” rule. You can say that if you spend money at such and such place (somewhere you are trying to avoid) then it will transfer a set amount to your goal. Another REALLY awesome rule is the “spend less” rule. In this rule you will create a budget for a certain place. If you spend less than the budgeted amount it will transfer the difference to your goal. GREAT incentive to NOT stop and grab that donut in the morning! They also have the round up rule like Acorns does, and they connect to IFTTT so you can set all sorts of automatic rules! Before you know it, you will be reaching your goals!
Robinhood – I’ve always wanted to buy stock in my favorite companies, but it’s just never worth it. Once you figure out how you will go about buying it, and how much their fees are, ugh. Robinhood takes ALL that out of purchasing stocks. First, there are NO fees for buying and selling stocks! You can transfer money from your bank, and have it instantly available to purchase stocks. Say you have been keeping your eye on a certain company, and the price dropped significantly, and you want to buy it! You CAN before it pops back up! It’s seriously been so much fun finally being able to buy stocks. I have an automatic transfer of a few dollars going into my Robinhood account every couple weeks, and when I see something I have my eye on and it looks like a good time to buy, I’ll take it! I’m still saving up to buy Amazon… boy that one is expensive!
Get going and download these essential personal finance apps and start getting your financial house in order!
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I agree- Acorns is awesome! I love being able to save without thinking about it. I’m also a fan of Digit and “You Need a Budget.”
If you have a chance, this blog mentions some of my other favorite sites: http://www.jillgalloway.com/blog/financial-tools-to-help-you-save-money