5 (Mostly Free) Helpful Money Management Apps to Try
In a fast-paced world whose pace is only getting faster, we’re always looking for time-savers. These days, it’s possible to do just about anything through an app on your smartphone or tablet-including managing your personal finances.
Understandably, you may have reservations about plugging your sensitive bank information into an app of questionable origins. That’s a good thing. You should definitely be cautious about what (or who) you give access to your bank accounts. If you’re just not sure about it, it’s probably best if you don’t budget with an app that requests your banking info. If you do choose to use a budgeting app, here are the 5 we’ve found to be most helpful.
1. Mint Personal Finance – Organize spending & track purchases
This app has been rated 4 out of 5 stars by over a million satisfied users. It takes a bit of exploration at first to get the hang of it, but once you know how things work, keeping track of your finances is a breeze. No need to worry about your bank account information being stolen-made by a reputable company, the Mint app has earned praise from the likes of CNN Money and Wired magazine.
2. GasBuddy – Find cheap gas prices
Who doesn’t want cheaper gas? This app not only shows you the cheapest gas prices in your area, but you can actually earn points by reporting them through the app. You also have the chance to win $100 in gas every day. It’s an invaluable tool on road trips where saving money is especially important. With a perfect 5-star rating from users, this is not one to pass up.
3. BillGuard – Money tracker & personal finance
If you’re looking for an app that tracks your budget in an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-read format, this is a great one. With very clear categories and a user-friendly layout, it includes such features as charts and graphs of your spending and the ability to report false charges to your account. It also provides important information like where something was charged and which payment method was used.
4. Debt Free – Pay off your debt with debt snowball method
Whether you’re deeply in debt or simply want to keep track of who you owe money, Debt Free helps you to input various debts and loans along with payment schedules. It also includes financial calculators to help you figure out the best type of payment schedule for your budget. Despite the name, this app is not free. It’ll cost you US$0.99, but a vast majority of users have found it well worth the price.
5. Check – Bill pay, money, bank & credit card manager
Check makes it simple to track and pay your bills directly through the app. It’s highly secure and even sends you reminders and alerts when bill due dates are close or have passed. You can schedule bill payments automatically, but we recommend doing it through your bank account-there’s a transaction fee tacked on to any payment made by credit or debit.
Honourable Mention: Level Money
We didn’t list this app in our Top 5, but it deserves a mention. It has a very practical interface, which makes for an easier learning curve for less advanced users. It is fairly basic, in that it doesn’t offer many of the features other apps do, but it’s a great choice for people looking for a simple app that tells them how much of their money they can use without overspending or going over budget.
Some Things to Keep In Mind
While all of these handy apps are great for tracking and maintaining your finances, they’re no substitute for professional financial counseling from the right source. You’ll probably be better off using the apps to augment the advice given by your trustee, rather than solely depending upon them to get you out of debt.
Another thing to remember is when you read reviews in an app store, some of those positive reviews may be paid, and therefore less dependable. A good rule to follow is looking at the number of positive reviews given-if there are only a few, watch out. But getting into the thousands, it’s unlikely the number of paid reviews (if any) outnumber reviews from real users.
Check your bank’s website to see if they offer an app, too. Many banks have developed apps for their customers that provide a lot of the features you need in a secure format.
It’s likely that sometime in the near future, an app will emerge that combines all the features for money management you need in one place-debt and loan tracking, bill paying, credit monitoring, and personal finance tracking. For now, it’s up to you to judge which apps are the best (and most secure) for your needs.