Managing your money can be hard, even though it feels like it should be simple. You make a certain amount of money doing whatever it is you do, then you spend that money to meet your daily requirements for living. More and more though, you need some top finance apps to make things happen. Because somewhere along the line, our daily lives intervene and we always end up deviating from the plan because places like Chipotle and Target exist, not to mention the wonderland that is Amazon and the hundreds of other shopping apps out there to separate you from your money. To help keep you on track and make sure you don’t spend the rest of the rent money on collector socks, here’s four mobile finance apps to keep your bank account in the black.
Mint: The Bird’s-Eye-View of Your Expenses
One of the most top finance apps on the market today, Mint is brought to us by Intuit, makers of TurboTax. Mint is not software to pay the bills, but it’s software to do everything else. It is compatible with pretty much any bank you can think of as well as Venmo and PayPal, and from there can give you information on your money at any given time. However, unlike someone getting hold of your actual bank information, Mint shows your numbers but cannot do anything with them. From that information, it can give you a very detailed overview of your finances from monthly budget, your credit score, transactions, and even give you offers for better credit cards if it thinks you’re paying too much interest on your current ones. Even with all of these features, we’re only scratching the surface of what this app can do for you.
Level Money: Create a Daily Allowance for Yourself
We’ve all made plans at some point and wondered what exactly we could afford to spend doing those plans. Likewise, we’ve also wanted to know how much we can spend on Doritos for game night. Most of the time it’s just a case of mental math that we tell ourselves is completely accurate, only to wake up the next morning, not able to put gas in the car because the Dinglehopper bill came out three days early. So wouldn’t it be nice if you had an app that told you what you could spend per day based on your income history? Say hello to Level Money.
With the same read-only protections Mint uses, it peeps on your banking accounts to see what you make. When you get new money, it asks you questions like “is this a normal source of income or an one-time thing” to help it understand how your finances work. From there, it gives you an allowance as to what you can spend, either in a day, week, or month. In addition, its “Insights” feature allows you to track your spending in different places, to see exactly where your money goes. There are also notifications you can set up for hitting certain marks, such as 50% of your daily allowance and so on. Overall, it’s a great app to give you a simple guideline on how to spend your disposable income wisely.
Venmo: Sure Beats an I.O.U.
Think of Venmo as PayPal for your friends. It’s an app that allows you to transfer money between your friends. And by friends, we mean Facebook. It’s not specifically limited to Facebook, but it’s the social platform this one definitely gets along the best with. Venmo can either integrate with your friends list from there, or it can scour your phone’s contact list for contacts. Either way, to get the most from this app, you need to ensure your friends are using it too, since that’s the only way it works. However, keep in mind that the service does charge a 3% transfer fee from any credit card or non-major debit card. But with that out of the way, this is a great way to make sure you and your friends always stay even with each other. Just make sure that you turn the transaction notifications to only be shown to those involved.
Acorns: The Superman 3 Approach to Investing
While there’s a million different ways to make money on the internet, few take things as slow and steady as Acorns does. This app connects as many debit and credit cards you want and essentially rounds up every transaction you make to the nearest dollar and puts it aside, investing them in Exchange Traded Funds across over 7,000 companies on the market. You can also make lump investments of your own if you wish, up to $20-30,000 dollars. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all approach to investing as well. Acorns provides six different portfolios to choose from, from conservative ones heavy in government bonds to aggressive ones investing in small business and real estate. It also handles all of these mostly autonomously. You just need to add money and maybe change up portfolios whenever you want.
While it’s not free, it is certainly not expensive. Acorns costs one dollar a month and either .05 or .025 percent of what you invest annually, so the costs are negligible, even if you use the app only sparingly. This isn’t an app to play Wolf of Wall Street on, though, just keep that in mind. It’s here to work slowly and steadily for you. It’s going to build you a nest egg, it will just take a while. Like growing a great oak tree from an acorn, expect it to take decades to develop it into something to be in awe of.
And there we are. Navigating the world of personal finances is something that takes discipline to get accustomed to, and you might learn some hard lessons along the way, but these apps are here to take some of the weight off your shoulders.