It’s easy to set goals for your money this time of year, but it’s much harder to actually keep them. Luckily, I’ve got a list of five finance apps to help you hit your goals.
These days, there are apps for everything, but nowhere is that more true than when it comes to handling your money. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to start budgeting, save more money or start investing, there are multiple apps to help with each one.
Based on the top five goals I hear people talk about when it comes to their money, here are five apps to help achieve them. They’re all totally secure, and will help you crush your money goals this year.
If your goal is… to save more money
You should use… Digit
Saving money can feel like the hardest thing in the world, despite your best intentions. To make it easy, why not take the willpower out of it entirely? Enter Digit.
Digit is an app that connects to your bank account (securely, of course) and uses an algorithm to figure out how much you spend, when you get paid, and how much you can actually afford to save. Every few days, it’ll take small amounts out of your account, based on that algorithm. Digit only takes out what it knows you won’t miss, which could be a dollar or two at a time and puts them in a separate savings account for you. Eventually, those few dollars here and there will add up to big savings!
Plus, if your first thought is “What if it takes out too much and I overdraft?!” Don't worry, Digit guarantees that won’t happen. In fact, on the off chance it does happen, they’ll cover your overdraft fees - twice.
If your goal is… to start investing
You should use… Wealthfront
Price: Free (for accounts under $10,000)
If you haven’t heard of robo-advisors yet, get ready to have your mind blown. They’re an online service that makes it easy to implement a fully-diversified, balanced investment portfolio.
If that sounds like total finance mumbo-jumbo, all you need to know is that it’s what almost every unbiased investment pro recommends for beginner investors.
Wealthfront is one of the leading robo-advisors out there today. If you’re a total newbie to the investment game, Wealthfront will actually manage your account for free, if you have less than $10,000 to invest. So it’s the perfect option to get your feet wet without paying exorbitant investment fees. (Ahem, like at a big bank.)
As long as you have $500 to invest - that’s their account minimum - you can be up and running with an investment portfolio in 10 minutes, all from the comfort of your couch. Pretty great, right?
If your goal is… to start budgeting
You should use… Mint
Mint is kind of the granddaddy of budgeting apps, and for good reason: it’s awesome. All you really have to do is connect it to your accounts, and it gives you a whole range of information. You can see your net worth, your spending patterns and more, all from an easy-to-use dashboard.
Once you’ve got your accounts connected, you can go into the Mint dashboard and adjust some things to make sure it’s putting your spending into the right categories. Then, you can set a monthly budget for each category, from fast food to books to groceries. When you go over that budget, Mint will send you an email heads-up that hey, maybe you want to cool it on the Amazon orders this month.
If your goal is… to stop living paycheck to paycheck
You should use… You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget isn’t just something your dad says to you sometimes: it’s actually true, plus, it’s the name of a great app. You Need a Budget - or YNAB for short - is built on four main principles, all of which aim to help you do money better and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Those principles include giving every dollar a job, so you never accidentally spend next week’s grocery money on a new bag, which helps keep you out of credit card debt (yay!). They also help you figure out your real expenses, so that big, “unexpected” spending like Christmas or birthdays don’t come as a surprise. Instead, they help you plan for it in your regular budget every month, so when Christmas does roll around, you’re covered.