We all want a few extra dollars in our bank accounts whether it’s to be able to make ends meet, start paying off debt or put money aside for a rainy day. But where do we find this extra money when year on year since the financial crises the average person has become worse off?
One possible answer is within the technology in our pockets.
Here are the five money apps that could help improve your financial situation:
A budget is something that very few of us make, and for those that do, it can be tough to keep. That is where Mint comes in. You provide them with your bank account numbers, credit card details as well as any loans or debts you may have. Set your budget and you are ready to go. Mint will then start tracking your spending.
“People think it must be shopping and clothing,” that gets them into debt, says Mint marketing director Stewart Langille. “Where people can make the biggest impact is cutting back on dining and food and bar spending.”
Should you exceed your budget, you will get a message right away to inform you. Likewise, you will also get a message if any suspicious activity happens on your account. Adding an extra level of security against online crime and fraud.
With over 15 million users, Mint is the largest personal finance apps in the world. However, some people feel that by giving them full access to your online accounts and their storing of all these details in one place you are at a far greater risk of identity theft.
Want to save money without realizing it? It sounds like a dream, but that is exactly what Digit tries to do. All you need to do is connect the app to your bank account. It will then analyze your income and expenditure to find an affordable amount for you to save. The amount is usually between $2-17 every 2-3 days. You can also set how much you wish to save.
Unlike Mint, after analyzing your bank account Digit will remove your login details. Although this is good for security, should your financial situation change you may be saving more or less you can afford. However, Digit does have a no overdraft guarantee which will prevent you from becoming overdrawn if your economic situation should worsen.
Since its launch in 2014 Digit has gained a lot of interest from users and investors alike. The fact that you can save for your summer holiday, Christmas or a special occasion without even knowing the money has gone, is of huge help to even the worst savers. One great last plus is the fact that you can withdraw your savings at any time, without charge. All you need to do is send Digit an SMS.
The richest 10% of American own 84% of all shares in the USA. Why are the rest of us not investing? Do we see it as something that is too complicated? Do we think it requires more money than we have or can afford? Stash tries to answer all three of these questions.
First of all, Stash allows you to start investing with as little as $5. I am sure we could all forgo a large cup of coffee or a draft beer to make our first investment. But now what do you invest in? This is where Stash makes things very simple by offering you a broad group to invest in, for example, “Clean and Green”, which allows you to invest in companies making renewable energy. And blue chip, which allows you to invest in well-known tech firms like Apple and Microsoft.
If you invest less than $5000, the monthly fee you will pay to use Stash is $1. Any amount over $5000 will have a 0.25% monthly fee (or $12.50 on $5000). In addition, you can either make a one-off payment or set up a regular monthly payment to Stash.
After using Stash for almost a year one investor said: “Thanks to my small $5 transfers each week, and a 6.34 percent return, my portfolio had grown to just over $300.”
You Need A Budget, also known as YNAB doesn’t just aim to help you keep a budget, but also to pay down debt and put money aside for those unexpected expenses. Like Mint, you can also link your bank account to the app when setting up a budget. However, you also have the option to enter your expenses manually. Adding peace of mind to those of you who may be more security conscious.
Where YNAB stands out from other financial apps is in the support they provide you. As well as a wealth of online material there is also the possibility to attend online courses with a live instructor. This support makes YNAB probably the best app to use if you are trying to work your way out of debt.
You Need A Budget costs $6.99 per month, which may seem a lot when compared to other free financial apps out there. However, they claim that the average person saves $6000 in their first year. Making the monthly cost a mere drop in the ocean when compared to what is saved.
Just like Digit, Acorns aims to help you save money without even realizing its gone. It does this by rounding up each purchase you make to the nearest dollar and transferring those extra cents to your Acorns account. For example, you buy a coffee for $2.70, three dollars is removed from your bank account, and 30 cents goes to your Acorns account.
These cents really do add up. Other banks may offer a very similar service to Acorns and even though you may be quite a conservative spender, you can save around $60 per month. Although this kind of monthly saving is unlikely to vastly change your future or retirement, it can be used to pay for quite large expenses. You may use this money each Christmas to buy gifts for your friends and family.
There are however a couple of things that Acorns does that your bank would not. The first being that you can get cash back at around 100 retailers, including Apple, Airbnb, and Nike. The second is that you can also save on payments made when using your credit card or other accounts. These extra options could make a huge positive impact on the amount of money you could save each month.
If you are a student with a valid .edu email address, Acorns is absolutely free to use. Even If you have a job it still only costs just $1 a month for balances under $5000 and 0.25% per year for balances over $5000. However, as mentioned, this is a service that some banks offer their customers free of charge. So it is worth checking with your bank prior to signing up to this app.
Have you used any of these financial apps? I’d love to hear your thoughts…