by Christine Maxwell, Guest Contributor
You have already digitalized many aspects of your life. Nowadays, keeping up with your social life, shopping for a new car, calling an Uber or ordering a pizza can all be done from your phone.
You probably have your bank’s app to monitor your checking or savings account too but what about your budget, credit, investments or retirement planning?
As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that.” Check out these 7 apps below that can help you make the most out of your hard-earned cash.
Best App To Take Control Of Your Credit
The first stop on your journey to financial success is to know where you stand and go from there. Whether you like it or not, your credit score and credit report are going to impact your financial future and you need to know how the credit world works so that you can make strategic financial moves. Credit Karma will allow you to access your credit scores and reports for free.
The credit scores of military family members may be impacted more than civilians because of frequent moves. Although I think I’m financially well versed, in just a few months as a Credit Karma member, I improved my score by over 25 points. I didn’t realize how the different types of credit inquiries for common things like utilities or mortgage rate shopping were impacting my credit every time I PCSed. Now that I understand how credit scores are calculated, I’m already improving my own score.
Best App For Investing Spare Change On The Go
With Acorns, anyone can become an investor through micro-investing. Connect the banking and credit card accounts of your choice to your Acorns account and when you make a purchase, Acorns will round-up your purchases to the nearest dollar. For just $1 a month (accounts under $5,000) you can start investing the spare change from your daily coffee run into a portfolio of investments you create yourself or ones that are curated by Acorns.
Acorns also partners with “Found Money” retailers. When you shop with them they will automatically invest the cash back bonus you earn into your Acorns account. You can transfer your money back at any time with no fees and no hassles.
Best App To Get A Free Snapshot Of Your Financial Summary
View your financial life in one place when you log into your free Mint account. You can instantly get a complete picture of your net worth by linking your banking, investments, credit cards and loan accounts with Mint. With all your accounts in one place, it’s easy to track and pay your bills directly from Mint. Mint also makes it easy to create budgets, track investments and discover ways to save for new financial goals. Analyze your spending with quick and easy charts to see where all your dollars are going every month.
Did you spend $200 on work lunches last month? Yikes! Mint will show you your bad habits and help you correct them.
It will also send you personalized alerts whenever you are charged fees, if you go over budget or anything else that seems suspicious.
Best App To Whip Your Budget Into Fighting Shape
You Need a Budget or “Y-NAB” has a cult following of users who swear by the YNAB method. YNAB has a 4-step method for helping you to budget and save: Give every dollar a job, save for a rainy day, roll with the punches and live on last month’s income. It’s free for 34 days (or 1 year if you are a student) and then it’s $50 a year. YNAB claims that on average, its new budgeters save $200 their first month and more than $3,300 by month 9 and that’s savings you can take to the bank!
Best App To Save For A Rainy Day Fund
Save for a rainy day fund or a special treat for yourself with help from Digit. Digit is constantly learning from your spending habits and automatically moves small amounts of money into your Digit account if you can afford it. Your Digit account doesn’t earn interest but it is FDIC-insured.
If you save with Digit for 3 months straight, they will deposit a 1% bonus into your account, which helps to offset the $2.99 monthly charge (but try Digit for free for 100 days first). You can access your savings at any time by simply sending Digit a text. You can also text Digit other commands such as check my balance, set up a new goal or set minimum transfers.
Best App To Get Cashback On Everyday Purchases
If you are going to shop for the things you need anyway, why not get paid to do it? Using Ebates is really simple. Sign-up with Ebates and anytime you shop online, go to ebates.com, search for the store that you want to shop with and click the “shop now” button. Ebates will take you directly to the store’s website, where you shop like normal and make your purchase. A few days after you make your purchase, you will see the cashback in your Ebates account.
On a quarterly basis, Ebates will pay out your “big fat check” either through PayPal or a paper check. Since using Ebates is free, the whole process sounds a little too good to be true but Ebates is just a really good example of affiliate marketing.
Another great feature of Ebates is that you can enjoy the benefits of Ebates as well as any points or cashback you receive from your credit cards as well.
Best App To Analyze Your Net Worth And Plan For Retirement
Similar to Mint.com, Personal Capital’s free financial software allows you to view and manage all of your financial accounts in one place. You can calculate your net worth, set a monthly budget, manage your investments and plan for your retirement. Mint and Personal Capital are very similar tools, but Personal Capital is more focused on investing and retirement planning and less on spending alerts and budgeting.
One really great feature of Personal Capital is access to its free Retirement Planner. You can build, manage and forecast your future retirement goals and compare where you currently stand to where you need to be in the future. If you would like personalized wealth management advisement, Personal Capital offers additional services for an annual management fee.
What apps do you use to manage your money?
Christine Maxwell is an Army wife and toddler mom. She works as a Budget Manager in Higher Education and also manages HerMoneyMoves, a blog about personal finances, career and military family life geared toward military spouses and their families.