Managing Finances on Your Own
Not all people can manage their finances very well, especially because financial literacy has not been a compulsory subject in educational institutions. Many adults grow up without mastering financial skills like budgeting and investing.
Before, ordinary folks used checkbooks, paper ledgers, and spreadsheets to track expenses and balance the budget. These days, you no longer need to do things manually. Technology has created ways for people to build better personal financial habits. One of these ways is using personal finance apps.
What is a Personal Finance App
Like other apps (applications), a personal finance app can be downloaded on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This type of app helps you manage your finances.
There may be many reasons why you should use a finance app, but the main ones involve making better financial decisions and meeting financial goals.
Personal finance apps have a variety of features and uses like:
- Tracking expenses and savings
- Tracking bills
- Figuring out which areas you spend the most in
- Offering financial data in one location
- Checking credit score
- Checking the performance of investment portfolios
Most personal finance apps can connect with banks and other financial accounts to give you a good idea of your spending and balances within certain periods like monthly or quarterly.
Determining the Best Personal Finance Apps
Not everyone would agree on the best personal finance apps because people naturally have different financial goals and app expectations. However, there are still app features that are universally deemed desirable.
The best personal finance apps are easy to use, have outstanding features, and would easily stand out from the others. Some sought-after personal finance app features include advanced tracking capabilities, billing notifications, email reminders, and shared wallets.
A great personal finance app does only offer information efficiently, but it should also empower you to stick with your budget and finance goals.
Here is a list of the 6 Best Finance Apps that most experts and authority sites recommend:
1. You Need a Budget or YNAB
This personal finance app is perfect if you wish for a hands-on approach to managing your budget.
YNAB’s philosophy is based on four rules that help you create a better budget plan and control your spending.
The four rules are:
- Give every dollar a job – make a plan for every dollar earned.
- Embrace your true expenses
- Roll with the punches
- Age your money
With YNAB, you can import transactions from your checking account and categorize them. The objective of using the app is to maintain a balanced budget. You can do this by adjusting budget categories. YNAB app offers budgeting tools and detailed monthly reports on spending. This reporting feature helps you identify ways how to improve your spending.
YNAB is especially helpful when you need to plan your financial decisions to accomplish goals like paying off debts.
YNAB is a paid app service but it offers a free trial to users. Even though it is a paid app, it boasts high Google Play and Apple Store ratings.
Mint (also known as Intuit Mint) is a popular personal finance app that aims to provide users with a complete financial picture.
You can link Mint to your credit cards and debit cards. After linking, the app can pull bank transactions and categorize them. This process gives you an idea of how you spend money.
You can set limits for these categories and the app will notify you if you are almost meeting the limits. In addition, Mint can track bills and payments, track investments, and provide your credit score.
Mint is a free and full-featured app that received high ratings in Google Play and App Store. This app can sync many kinds of financial accounts like credit cards, loans, checking, and savings.
Mint is good for tracking expenses but is unsuitable for planning budgets and financial strategies. This free app may also feature ads that can be annoying to see.
The site provides access to your credit score for free, and you can get a breakdown of the factors contributing to your score to stay on top of your credit health. Plus, you can track your investments and manage utility payments.
3. Personal Capital
Personal Capital sets itself apart from other apps by allowing you to manage your investments and assets aside from tracking everyday spending.
Personal Capital can track portfolios of different accounts and asset classes. You can connect it not only to savings and credit card accounts, but also to mortgages, IRAs, and 401(k)s.
Personal Capital is an intelligent app that lets you determine risks, hidden fees, and diversification opportunities. Personal Capital helps you achieve your investment goals by comparing your portfolio to established market benchmarks.
Another impressive feature of Personal Capital is it provides access to registered financial advisors, who can offer advice suitable to your financial conditions and objectives.
Personal Capital is great when you are looking for investment features. But the app can be too complex for simple budgeting goals.
While the personal finance app features on this list are for individual use, Spendee focuses on shared expenses.
With Spendee, you can create wallets that are shared with family members or friends. When you invite individuals to share the wallet, they can get access to budget tracking reports. Thus, Spendee is ideal for managing an entire household budget or for promoting collaborative budgeting.
Spendee can import bank transactions and categorize them. You can use the organized data to count the money spent every month. This app allows you to add cash expenses aside from bank transactions to create an accurate picture of your spending. Spendee also has a bill tracker to help you remember bill payments on time.
Spendee’s premium version is the only one that can sync to bank accounts. The free version of the app is available but has limited features.
Just like the YNAB app, EveryDollar follows the zero-based budget method. This method gives purpose to every dollar in the budget. EveryDollar has both a free and premium version. The premium version is capable of connecting to banks to import transactions.
EveryDollar’s best feature is its intuitive expense tracker that informs you of your expenditures and balances. This app adopts a detailed approach to budgeting by offering custom reports and giving recommendations based on spending habits. Furthermore, EveryDollar can also aid your financial planning by connecting you with money management experts.
Although the premium version is more expensive than other apps, you can receive a free trial before paying for the service.
How to Choose the Best Personal Finance Apps
There are several excellent personal finance apps in the market today. And there seems to be more coming out. It is hard to determine the best personal finance app because every person has their own needs and preferences. Some people may like a simple budgeting tool while others enjoy extensive features.
To find the right app, base your decision on your financial goals and priorities. You can also try out free versions of personal finance apps to give you an idea of which functionality or features are most helpful to you.
If you are inspired by our personal finance apps list, check out our other articles on finance and technology.