If there’s one thing we all want and need more of, it’s money. However, many of us struggle to take control of our finances, whether that’s because we spend too much on non-essentials, have a less-than-ideal credit score or any number of other factors. Thankfully, there are numerous smartphone apps that can help you keep track of your money and stabilize your financial situation.
Many people — including members of the NerdWallet editorial staff — consider Mint to be one of the best budgeting apps around, and it’s easy to see why. Its main purpose is to track how much you spend and separate your purchases into categories like entertainment, bills, food and more. If you set a cap for each group, Mint will automatically alert you if you spend too much, giving you immediate input on where you should cut back. The best part? It’s all free, and even provides complimentary credit scores and monitoring for active users.
If you want to take a more active role in your finances, YNAB may be for you. The most important thing to know is that it’s built around the zero-based budgeting philosophy, which encourages you to divide your total income into categories like food, rent and savings, with the goal being that every dollar is accounted for at the end of the month. It’s certainly a committed approach that requires you to consider every dollar in your pocket, but it could save you a bundle. You can try YNAB for free for 34 days — with an additional year for students — but it will cost $84 per year after that period.
Setting up a long-term spending plan can feel stressful, but Clarity Money makes it far easier. You can sync the app to all of the accounts you use on a regular basis, track your overall spending, set up categories and keep an eye on your credit scores. What sets it apart is that you can even monitor how much your monthly subscriptions cost and cancel them right from the app. Just like Mint, Clarity Money doesn’t put any features behind a paywall.
For simplicity, PocketGuard cannot be beaten. It takes a complex matrix of figures — your monthly expenses, everyday spending, savings goals, charitable donations, account balances and more — and condenses it into one number: how much you have to spend. As a first step on the road to financial security, knowing if you can afford that online impulse purchase or if it’ll put you into the red seems like a great idea.
Personal Capital combines the convenience of a free smartphone app with the expertise of a certified professional, especially if you’re interested in growing your investment portfolio. The program provides you with multiple tools you can use to stay aware of how much you’re spending from day to day, get a holistic view of your financial accounts and keep an eye on any outstanding loans. Personal Capital also has a staff of real-life advisors, just in case you have any questions.
Stabilizing your finances can be a challenge, but these easy-to-use apps are a good way to simplify the process. For more information on which one is right for you, contact your trusted advisor.