Our phone apps can help us with just about anything these days. You can order a ride, a pizza or set up a dinner date all with a push of a button. If your phone can double as your personal assistant (Hey, Siri!), it undoubtedly can step in as your financial advisor.
Long gone are the days spending hours clipping coupons out of a newspaper or balancing your checkbook with pen and paper. Whether it be couponing, investing in a bright financial future or budgeting your current financial picture, we are breaking down the best apps and tools to become a financial pro right from your smartphone!
1. Penny pinching apps to stretch your dollar
● Rakuten: The Rakuten app, which also operates as a plugin on Google, helps you get cash back on all of your purchases. Who doesn’t like money back on what you're already planning on buying?
● Trim: Trim is a personal finance website that helps you save money by analyzing your credit card statements and getting rid of old, unused subscriptions. And it's completely free!
● Dosh: Dosh is an app that gives you cash back when you make a purchase at participating businesses using your credit card. Just link up your credit card to your Dosh account and the app will do the rest without the usual hassle.
● Honey: This Google extension can help you compare prices to make sure you’re getting the very best deal on all of your purchases. Honey also will automatically apply promo and coupon codes when possible.
2. Keeping your credit score in check
● Credit Karma: The Credit Karma app is a must have! This is a very user-friendly way to keep an eye on your credit score and credit reports via TransUnion and Equifax. The app also provides a platform for credit card options matched to your spending and credit score, ID theft protection and a credit score simulator to help you make a plan to get out of debt. You can easily dispute and resolve charges with the credit bureaus when errors are reported.
● Credit Sesame: While other financial management tools focus on corporate bank accounts, retirement investments and target savings goals, Credit Sesame stays on the debt side of the transaction. It tracks and monitors the financial obligations of each user as well as providing recommendations.
● CreditWise: CreditWise is a credit-monitoring service from Capital One that's free to use even if you aren't a Capital One customer. The app gives you free access to your credit score and report.
3. Investing and saving
● Truebill: Truebill optimizes your spending, manages your subscriptions, lowers your bills and stays on top of your financial life. Truebill claims to save customers around 20% on their existing telecommunication plans through its negotiation techniques. In terms of pricing, Truebill will charge you 40% of the annual savings. That means if you save $100 per year, Truebill will charge you $40 for negotiating on your behalf.
● Every Dollar: EveryDollar is a good choice for those who are in search of a simple, back-to-basics app. There's a free version that lets you enter your transactions yourself. However, if you want the app's full functionality and automatic sync features there is a premium offer for a fee of $99 a year. The EveryDollar budget app helps you create a monthly budget, track spending, save money, AND get out of debt fast!
● Acorns: Last but certainly not least, Acorns is an investment app that lets people automatically invest spare change from debit and credit card purchases. Acorns connects to a debit or credit card to "round up" the spare change to the next dollar on all purchases. If you are new to investing or unsure where to begin, Acorns is for you! The charge to use the service is minimal at a $1 per month fee on accounts under $5,000 and .25% per year on accounts over that amount. This is an easy way to save money without consciously making deposits.
Budgeting, investing and couponing can be an overwhelming mountain to climb, to say the least. Whether you are a self-proclaimed “serial budgeter” or you do not even know where to begin, there is always a starting point with room for improvement. Because of all of these innovative apps, it has never been an easier time to start! If we purposely set some time to investigate these apps, there will be serious cash savings in our future. As the ancient proverb states, “Something great can come from a modest beginning. Don't give up on the project - mighty oaks from little acorns grow!“