Digital assistants to help you stay financially healthy
We all know the program—budget, monitor expenses, pay bills on time, save for the future. Truth is though, life is busy. Working, commuting, parenting, plus a host of other distractions can cause us to lose track of our fiscal activities. And to be honest, it also requires discipline, which is not so easy.
Fortunately, in today’s digital age, there are great financial apps that can help you stay on track so you can enjoy a healthy financial life. Here are five highly-rated apps for your smartphone or tablet. Most run on both Android and iOS and most are free.
- Mvelopes will help you to create a detailed budget, with a variety of categories, such as income, debt reduction, recurring bills, savings, etc. With Mvelopes you can link to as many as four bank accounts and the app will automatically track all of your online payments, which can then be sorted according to the categories you set up in your budget.
- Home Budget with Sync is great for couples and families. Keeping track of the family’s expenses is always a challenge, especially if there are joint bank accounts or credit/debit card accounts. Home Budget has many of the usual features, such as a budget tool that allows you to set income and expense categories, but the family sharing feature enables syncing of income and expenditures between multiple devices. In this way, you can see the family’s spending habits, coordinate bill payments, and have less surprises at the end of the month.
- Level Money lets you know at a glance if you can afford to buy that new outfit. The app is very simple, with far less of the frills of other financial apps, but it has one very important feature. Level Money links to your bank accounts and credit cards so that just before you dive in to make that purchase, it will tell exactly how much money you can afford to spend, based upon the budget and savings goals you entered when you set up the app. Level Money estimates your monthly income, accesses online payments and credit card purchases made to date, and shows you what you can afford to spend at that moment, or even a week later.
- Mint Personal Finance is a more sophisticated app that is perfect for when you are on vacation and suddenly have a yearning to maybe buy a vacation condo. In addition to the usual features of budgeting, management and purchase tracking, Mint Personal, from Intuit, can securely access your bank and credit card accounts, obtain a free credit report and provide you with an up-to-date snapshot of your overall financial condition. Mint even gives you tips on how to improve your credit score.
- Acorns is a great app to help you save, even when your savings goals seem impossible. Acorns can be linked to your bank and credit card accounts. It automatically rounds up the price on all your purchases and at the end of the month invests the balance into a low-cost ETF that you have established. This is perfect for those of you with modest disposable income, but even if you have more, Acorns can facilitate investments of as much as $30,000 in a single transaction.
Developers are constantly at work to produce the most sophisticated apps that contain user-friendly yet technologically savvy features that tap into all facets of your financial life to provide you with the optimum tool for managing your finances. If you make full use of all the features and are careful to use the app on a daily basis, then you will find yourself with an outstanding digital assistant to help you keep your financial books in the black.