What is it about managing money that can be so challenging? Maybe it can seem similar to a strict diet — one that evokes rules, feelings of deprivation, and guilt when you inevitably break the rules. There are plenty of negative feelings that make people want to stick their heads in the sand instead of facing their finances head on. Luckily, there are many smartphone apps that relieve the stress by automating your finances to make them seem much less scary.
Here are five free apps that can completely change the way you manage your money:
You know that sinking feeling you get when you take a glance at your checking account after a week, and see a much lower balance than you remembered? Those impulse online purchases and afternoon coffee runs can do more damage than you guessed. Enter the lifesaver Digit – an app that uses an algorithm to learn your spending habits, and then sneaks away money from your checking into a savings account without you noticing. Mindlessly saving instead of spending is a method we can definitely get behind.
When you’re just beginning your adult life, spending money on investing is probably the last thing on your mind (somewhere after loans, saving, and making sure you pay rent this month). Thankfully there’s Acorns – the app that takes the daunting task of investing and makes it virtually painless and automated. It works by rounding all of your daily credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar, and then uses that leftover change to invest in a portfolio on your behalf. Investing has never been easier!
The “Envelope System” is famous for a reason – divide your paycheck into allotted categories, put the cash in its respective labeled envelope, and voilà! A budgeting system that makes it possible to live within your means by not overdrawing or using a credit card. For people who love this method for its simplicity, there’s the Mvelopes app – all the benefits of the envelope system from the convenience of your cell phone.
Wally is a seamless, intuitive app that takes the complication out of knowing the updated amounts of all of your checking and savings accounts all at once. According to their website, Wally wants to “…give you a 360 view on your money; what comes in, what goes out, what you have saved, what you have budgeted.” For people who want to see the entirety of their financial landscape in one easy-to-navigate app, this is a top-notch pick.
The OG of all budgeting apps, Mint has been around since 2006 — long before most budgeting apps existed. It’s easy to see why: the app runs smoothly, is an eye-catching mint green color, shows your net worth (assets – liabilities = net worth), and allows you to set several savings goals while tracking your daily spending. You can’t go wrong with this solid choice.
For someone who doesn’t know how to manage their money and wants to take a step in the right direction, any of these apps would be a welcomed addition to your smartphone. As long as you find one that works for you, you’re on your way to a healthier and happier financial life!