Surprises are usually pretty delightful. Presents! Parties! But it's never enjoyable to receive a surprise message from your bank saying that your account is overdrawn. Certain financial situations are out of your control, but careful money management can help you make the most of your resources. These six apps provide practical advice, assist with budgeting, and help reduce your overall financial stress.
Budgeting in your head is tough, especially if you haven't had someone show you the ropes. YNAB (You Need a Budget) makes financial planning manageable. You'll be able to sync all of your accounts, track your monthly spending, stay on top of your bills, and set aside savings for emergency situations—all in one hub. The company also offers online workshops that can give you the skills needed to break free of that pesky debt and increase your savings. After a free 34-day trial, YNAB costs $99 per year—but you can just factor that into your budget.
The free Mint apps takes a more passive approach to budgeting than YNAB, showing you the balance of each account, your custom budgets, and how much money you've spent recently. You can make your own decisions from there. Mint offers some savings tips, though you won't get the level of guidance that YNAB provides. But hey, it's free, so you might walk away with a few more bucks in your pocket.
The breezy user experience provided by Copilot makes the finance app stand out. Once it’s connected to your bank account, transactions are automatically organized into emoji-labeled groups. The app can suggest new amounts for budget categories based on past spending and keep tabs on recurring payments. Acorns, Robinhood, and other apps connect with Copilot to help you keep an eye on any investments. For those who are overwhelmed by the thought of financial tracking, Copilot is an approachable entry point to the world of money management. Unfortunately, the app is only available for iOS users. After a month-long free trial, the annual subscription costs $70.
Credit scores are often hard to understand, but yours is very important. Lenders, landlords, and insurers may all want to check your credit score. The number fluctuates over time and primarily tracks whether you make credit card or loan payments on time and how much of your allotted credit is used. The free Credit Karma app makes it easier to navigate the weird justifications for changes in your score by giving you free reports from TransUnion and Equifax and then explaining the factors affecting your score. Credit Karma is great for score tracking, but you are likely better off ignoring the in-app advertisers pushing loans based on your data.
The world of investments and returns can be obtuse to a newcomer. Skip the appointments with stockbrokers and download Acorns instead. It simplifies the investment process by rounding up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and automatically investing the change into a diversified portfolio. The service costs $3 per month, but you can cash out your investments at any time.
If you're not ready to fully plunge into the risky world of investments, Digit provides a safer way to build your savings. It's an automated process, just like Acorns, but instead of mainly focusing on investments it's more geared toward saving the money you already have. Every day Digit withdraws money from your account to deposit into a savings account. Don't worry—the app monitors your spending habits and your income, so it will only withdraw what it thinks you won't need. Long-term and retirement investments are also available through Digit. You can try it out for free for 30 days, after which you'll have to pay $5 per month.
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