One month down, eleven more to go…can you believe it? January 2017 has come to an end. Jimmy Fallon hosted the Golden Globes and Donald Trump is President. But how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you really spending less and saving more?
According to polls by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and data-driven digital marketing company iQuanti, one of this year’s top New Year’s resolutions is to spend less and save more. But, that is easier said than done. Trust me I know! I help people do exactly that every day. How you ask? Well, it’s not just any one thing, but one thing I always recommend is looking into Finance Apps for help.
In this article, I will provide an overview of the pros and cons of some of the top finance apps out there. They are spending and budgeting solutions, a cash sharing app, and a more sophisticated finance tool…
- You can see all of your accounts in one place
- The software learns how you label transactions to help with tracking and budgeting
- Tracks bill due dates to help you make payments on time
- Free credit check every 3 months
- You can set spending limits for categories if you can't keep your spending down
- You can set custom alerts/notifications for what is important to you
- You have the option to use on the website or the apps available for both Android and iPhone
- Mint can only read your bank data, not make any changes or transactions
- The budgeting software is inflexible. Whether you want to debt stack or debt snowball, the software calculates your goal using a static formula. This makes me look like I'm nearly always behind!
- Mint is a great tool for looking backward at where you money goes every month., but doesn't do well planning ahead
- Mint tries to push new credit cards, loans, and investment accounts which may not be the best out there. They only show results of companies that pay to be there. Be wary.
- A simple, fast, and free way to send and receive money between friends
- Keeps a record of how much is sent and when
- You can send money or pay in apps using credit cards (3% charge for credit card)
- There is a 3% charge if you want to send money or pay with a credit card (Personally, I would never send money on credit anyway. That's robbing Peter to pay Paul and a quick way to get into financial trouble.)
- Easy to setup and use
- After you set your budgets, it's very simple to follow and know if you are on budget with the "in my pocket" feature
- Easy to identify ways you can cut spending or save more
- PocketGuard can only read your bank data, not make any changes or transactions
- Very limited number of banks and credit card companies will work with the app
- If you use the "Find Savings" option, it will only recommend companies and products that pay to show up (These may not be the best option for you!)
- Helps you budget and monitor spending and an advisor can help you set everything up
- You can see charts and summaries of your investment accounts. (more advanced reports available)
- You get access to an encrypted, electronic vault to store important documents like W2s, taxes, wills, trusts, statements, etc.
- eMoney creates a living, dynamic balance sheet that updates daily
- eMoney has the capability to look forward, account for things like inflation and big decisions, and help determine if your current life style and decisions will allow you to achieve your financial goals
- You can analyze your current investment allocations by account and across all accounts. (This way you can work with your advisor to determine if your portfolio is positioned appropriately for your unique situation.)
- Your advisor can share their screen with yours and answer questions
- Morningstar, one of the most respected leaders in financial research, is included. You can research most any fund or equity holding out there
- Like any website scrapper, you have to keep your accounts linked. This means updating eMoney if you update your account username or password
- The tools are advanced so there is a bit of a learning curve
Conclusion: Your Must-Haves
So which apps should you use? The answer is that depends.
Mint: I love using Mint. It's made by Intuit which is a trusted name in finance so I feel safe linking my bank info. It is very user friendly, simple to setup, and easy to monitor on an ongoing basis. It can be overwhelming keeping track of money across so many accounts and transactions. Mint is a great tool if you want to see all of your financial information in one place.
Venmo: Venmo is a part of Paypal which has been around for years. It takes a few days to setup your bank account, but then sending money to a friend or colleague becomes incredibly easy. What's more, Venmo has started to work with other apps and websites, like StubHub and even PocketGuard. Next time you want to split a dinner bill, concert tickets, road trip, whatever, it is only a few clicks away to being shared if you have Venmo.
PocketGuard: While I prefer Mint for overall options and capability, PocketGuard has such a simple approach to budgeting that I had to add it here. If you are overwhelmed by Mint, are just starting on a budget, or you have a spending problem, this is a great app to get you going. It's easier to say no to that extra taco trip when you see how much is left in your Pocket.
eMoney: While I use and love the other apps, eMoney is the most powerful tool here. You have to work with an advisor to access eMoney, but this program can show all of your accounts in one place, including your life insurance, options, pensions, and annuities. eMOney is so robust that you can project how your lifestyle, habits, and decisions will affect your financial health. If you are serious about your financial health and future, especially near a big decision like a job change, child going to college, or retirement, this program is invaluable.
For more tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolution see this article by business insider.