2018 is going to be a good year. In the famous words of Zyzz, “we’re all gonna make it!” This is the year that everyone is going to get their finances in order. My biggest expense comes from eating out. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, I absolutely despise doing dishes. I know, I know. This is a terrible reason to justify eating out all the time. I am making it a priority this year to eat out less and put that money towards more useful ventures. Whether you’re looking to stop living paycheck to paycheck or saving towards a new car, there is an abundance of resources to help you out. Here are six apps to help you budget better and save money.
Budget App: Clarity
There are a ton of great apps for budgeting. Mint and YNAB are a few. YNAB costs $6.99/month which is a tough sell for many people. My personal favorite budgeting app is Clarity. It tracks your financial spending like Mint and has extra functionality of putting a small amount of money into a free Clarity Money Savings Account.
The main thing that Clarity does is to make managing your bills and incomes easier. You link your bank account and it will automatically categorize expenses. Clairity goes even further to show you clear actionable ways to save money. One example is that Clarity will present users with a list of their subscriptions and let you cancel any directly from the app.
Clarity offers a free savings account to let you save money without a second thought. You can set an amount you want to automatically transfer into your Clarity Savings account so you can save towards a certain goal.
Credit Score App: Credit Karma
Having a good credit score is extremely important. If you are ever thinking about buying a house, car, or opening up a business, you’ll need to make sure your credit score is good. Loans are a necessity in our lives and with a bad credit score, it’ll make it difficult to do any of the things mentioned above. Credit Karma allows you to monitor your credit score and it will give you tips on how to increase it.
Credit Karma doesn’t give you a real FICO score. Instead, it uses a Vantage 3.0 credit score. It is still based on your actual credit report so it is still good to use to monitor if your score is going up or down. You can also track credit as often as you like and you don’t have to register a credit card which most other sites make you do.
Credit Karma also shows credit cards that you are highly qualified for based on your score. I was able to get my American Express card through credit karma after seeing I had a high probability of getting approved for the card.
Payment App: Cash App and Venmo
Cash app is the easiest way to pay people back. You should never have to split the bill between ten people ever again. The Cash app lets you pay anyone with ease. The other party doesn’t even need the app, just a phone number, and email address. It will send the recipient a text saying there is money waiting to be sent to you. You can also put money directly into your bank account. Just know you’ll have to pay a 1% fee to get money cashed out instantly. You can even get a free Cash Card to use like a debit card to spend your money anywhere.
If you’re someone who is younger, another alternative is Venmo. This is the app that most people who are under 30 use on a regular basis. It’s so popular that Venmo has become a verb to pay someone back. I use it to send my roommate rent money every month and it has never given me an issue. However, the Cash app is no frills and much easier to use.
Savings App: Digit and Acorn
Digit is the effortless way to save money without thinking about it. Digit uses a messaging-based platform that intelligently looks at how you spend your money and based on the information moves money from your checking account to your Digit account. Your Digit account is like a savings account and you can access your account anytime. In fact, Digit will transfer the money from your Digit account back to your checking account next business day. This is perfect for the millennial who has trouble saving money and are so used to texting. Think of it as autopilot saving.
Digit gradually moves small increments of money after analyzing your balance and spending habits. It pulls every 2-3 days and will never pull more than 50 dollars. This is a great option for building your emergency fund where you’re not expecting interest growth.
Acorn is for people who want to be more aggressive with the money they save. Unless you’re saving money for a specific purpose such as buying a new computer, your money is better off elsewhere. You can make your money work for you by investing instead. Acorn uses your debit and credit cards and links it to an investment account.
Acorn monitors these cards and rounds up the nearest transaction to the nearest dollar. The small savings are automatically put into an investment account where it is automatically diversified across 7,000 stocks and bonds to help improve your return while reducing risk. This is a good starter to get into the world of investing. You’ll be increasing your wealth without thinking about it.
Most people suck at saving money. Even people who make a lot of money suck at saving money. If Allen Iverson, who made over $200 million over his career, can go broke, anyone can. Nearly 70% of lotto winners go broke within seven years. This just goes to show how important it is to get your finances in order. These six apps are a great way to get control of your finances so that money doesn’t control what you do in life. This is the year to make moves towards financial freedom!