Three apps that can help you manage your money

Three apps that can help you manage your money

There’s no escaping it—technology is everywhere you look. From the mini-computer you call a phone to the touchscreen on your new car’s dashboard, everything in our lives is becoming “smart.” And the financial industry is no different. Tablets and smart phones are changing the conversation and are helping retirement plan participants become educated in new ways that they never could have ten years ago.

This goes far beyond checking account balances on the go. Today, savers have access to money management apps that can help create a monthly budget—allowing you to constantly track and monitor your spending to verify you’re financially on track for the month. And if you’re not on track, the apps give you the unique ability to see where you’re spending the most money, whether it be on entertainment, food, transportation, bills, or anything else. This instant feedback can help shape your spending habits and help you see where you can spend less money—and in turn, save more.

How money management apps can help you prepare for retirement

These money management apps are even more beneficial than just providing us with a monthly budget to follow; they can help us reach long-term savings goals. Because these apps connect with a bank account and can see the monthly bills and paychecks that are going in and out, they can help you determine how much you can reasonably save each month. The apps then can assist you on setting and maintaining your goals with weekly reminders and updates, such as, “You have reached 50 percent of your spending for this week.” These weekly reminders can help keep your spending on track to ensure you’re reaching the savings goals you set each month.

Apps that can help you manage your money

There are hundreds of money management apps you can download to your smartphone or tablet, but not all of them are going to be worth your while. However, some of the most popular money management apps can make a huge difference in your spending habits.

1. Mint

The Mint app is essentially a one-stop shop for those of us trying to learn how to effectively save. The app allows you to create a budget and track your spending habits. Plus, you can connect all of your bank accounts, credit cards, and monthly bills to the app, so all the important financial information you need is stored in one convenient place.

2. Acorns

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at investing but didn’t have the background knowledge in stocks and bonds to do so, Acorns might be just the app you’re looking for. The app connects with your credit or debit cards to track your spending, and when you make a purchase, the app automatically rounds your purchase up to the nearest dollar—investing the remaining change in a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds.

3. You Need a Budget

If your savings goals are more centered on getting out of debt than saving for retirement, You Need a Budget deserves your attention. The app forces you to live within your means by selecting a budget based on your actual income and has a built-in “accountability partner” that’s not afraid to let you know if you get off track with your spending. The app does charge users a small monthly fee, but the value far outweighs the minimal cost.

Even if you’re not the best at managing your money, your own financial health is probably important to you. Using these types of apps can help you successfully save money and follow a budget—something you may have struggled with in the past. You’re ultimately in charge of putting yourself on the right financial path, and the first step to financial freedom is getting in a position where you’re comfortable with your savings and spending habits.