It’s amazing how much easier it is to manage your finances now than it was, say, 20 years ago. Even longer ago than that, before computer spreadsheets made life easier, fewer people were willing to scratch out a personal spending plan on paper with a pencil. Nowadays, the only paper copies of spending plans you’ll see are likely ones that have been printed out for reference. More often than not, all planning and calculating has already been computed and is being tracked digitally.
So how do you find the app that will best help you keep track of your finances? First, think about how much help you really need. There are apps perfect for beginners that won’t much for someone looking for more advanced help with investing. And likewise, someone just starting off on their own might be confused with apps that track your portfolio. Once you’ve decided where you fit on that spectrum, you can take a look at what’s available to meet your needs.
Beginners – Start With a Spending Plan
Try: You Need A Budget (YNAB), Quicken
YNAB is a great app to help you learn to live within your means. With more than just spending plan help (namely, an online accountability partner), you’ll find yourself paying down debt, and maybe even saving for larger expenses.
While not free ($34.99/ yr.), Quicken is probably the most complete financial app out there. It can just about do everything you need to set up your entire household – planning, tracking, banking, and more!
In Between – Daily Money Managing
Try: Mint, Wally, Acorns
Mint starts you with a spending plan and guides you after that by tracking expenses, reminding you of bill due dates, and even tracking your credit score. (All for free, from the makers of Inuit, the creator of Quickbooks.)
Wally (also a free app) is a streamlined app to please the most organized among us. What people love most about Wally is how it can save you the time of inputting information by simply taking a picture of your receipts.
Acorns is an app designed to help you save money – sometimes without even realizing you’re doing it! Connect the app to the card(s) of choice, and Acorns will automatically round up the amount of your purchases and invest them in the manner of your choosing. This app is free for students, and $1 for everyone else.
Advanced – Investing and Trading
Try: Robin Hood, Tycoon, Coinbase
RobinHood is your invest at home (or on the go, or wherever your phone happens to be!) app for all your portfolio needs. Not only is the app free, but your transactions are commission-free, too!
Freelancers will want to check out the app, Tycoon. When you are self-employed, it can be difficult to manage the details of each job. Tycoon is a way of keeping track of payment schedules as well as other details that might help you decide whether or not to take a particular job.
If you are in the cryptocurrency business, the app you want is Coinbase. With this easy-to-use app, you can learn how to or continue trading in most of the major brands, such as Bitcoin. Manage you portfolio, schedule recurring transactions, or even secure your fund in a vault.
So no matter where you see yourself financially, you can probably do it all on your phone. Just remember: No app or computer software can replace a qualified and experienced financial advisor. Your best bet is to work with a professional and use the apps to supplement the advice you receive.