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11 Personal Finance Apps for All the "Ifs" in Life

Jada Wong | Apr 2, 2019

“Money management” can seem like a scary thing. After all, there are well-paid professionals dedicated to the art of telling you that you can’t actually afford a latte every day or that you need to start saving if you want to realistically retire by 65. But with these 11 personal finance apps, you can get all that from the comforts of your phone...without paying someone all your money to handle, well, your money.  

The first step is identifying the type of help you need. Do you need general tracking or a customized budget? Are you trying to pay off student loans or just trying to remember to pay your bills? No matter your situation, there’s a personal finance app that fits your lifestyle and helps you reach your goal while still letting you stay caffeinated.

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If you need all the help you can get without going to a bank: Albert

If you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing and $50 in your bank account, download Albert now. It creates a budget based on how much you have and want to save, and it sets up a rainy day fund without you constantly monitoring it. For even more personalized recommendations, you can choose to upgrade to Albert Genius, which offers a pay-what-you-want-but-really-$4-is-the-minimum monthly fee. This feature lets you text a financial advisor all your burning money questions, like whether you can afford to go to a friend’s wedding or if you can go out to celebrate a birthday. It’s basically like having a financial advisor in your pocket at all times.

Cost: Free, $4/month for Albert Genius

Availability: iOS, Android

If you want general money management: Mint

Mint is great for overall money management and tracking. You can add multiple bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, recurring bills, and more to monitor all your finances, track your net worth, and pay bills on time without hitting late fees. Once everything is synced, you’ll get customized recommendations on where and how to save based on your goals and spending habits, as well as helpful notifications about current offers from banks, credit cards, and retirement funds so you can save even more. One caveat there though is that you might be tempted to jump on every offer thrown at you in an effort to save all the money you can, so you have to figure out if they’re actually right for you. Its most distinguishing feature however — and one that’s super important if you’re serious about your financial health this year — is the free credit score reporting that lets you see beyond the dollar signs.

Cost: Free

Availability: iOS, Android

If you want to invest, but don’t want to do anything: Acorns

If you want to take money management one step further and invest your savings, Acorns has an easy “set it and forget it” approach. For every transaction you make on a credit card synced with the app, Acorns will round up to the nearest dollar and invest that difference into an exchange-traded fund. An ETF is a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and commodities that is a safe and easy way to invest without having to keep an eye on prices like a hawk. Combine this with Acorns’ automated micro-investing method, and you’ll be making bank on your spare change in no time. Additional features like recurring contributions, support with rolling over retirement funds, direct deposits, and more come at a few dollars per month, but to be honest, these aren’t necessary if you’re just a casual investor.

Cost: Free for college students, $1 for Acorns Core, $2 for Acorns Core + Acorns Later, or $3 for Acorns Core + Acorns Later + Acorns Spend

Availability: iOS, Android

If you’re still paying off student loans: SoFi

According to Federal Student Aid, around 67 percent of Americans under 34 and 33 percent over 35 have student loans. So basically, everyone. While it’s easy to pay off the minimum each month because that’s what you’ve been doing whether you graduated two or 12 years ago, you might actually be paying a high interest rate that’s eating at your money. SoFi helps refinance your loans to get lower interest rates, meaning you’d be paying less interest over time and potentially paying off your loans faster.  

Cost: Free

Availability: iOS, Android

If you’re an active investor: Personal Capital

Now, if you want to keep an eye on your stocks at all times, try Personal Capital. In addition to providing a quick look at your financial health, the app really shines in updating your stocks’ performance in real time so you know exactly where your net worth stands, even at noon on January 27. It’s kind of addicting to watch the prices shift but helpful to know when your stock is tanking so you can jump ship before it’s too late.   

Cost: Free, 0.89 percent for the first million in wealth management

Availability: iOS, Android

If you’re a freelancer tired of chasing people down for money: Tycoon

Take it from model Jess Perez — freelancing is great...until you have to hunt down clients for money you’re owed after a job. That’s why she founded Tycoon to help freelancers track their projects and payment statuses without needing several spreadsheets or invoicing systems. The app sends friendly reminder emails to overdue clients so you won’t have to unleash your inner Rihanna every time someone is late with your money. If you pay a $6.99 monthly fee, you can also calculate your take-home pay after commission, fees, and taxes to see what a potential job is worth before taking it on.

Cost: Free, $6.99 upgrade

Availability: iOS, Android

If you have too many damn subscription plans: Clarity Money

In addition to monthly budgeting, Clarity Money tracks all your subscriptions and their fees to help you figure out which ones to keep or quit — like Hulu, because you forgot to cancel after the free trial month and you already have Netflix, and HBO, and Showtime. It’s easy to say that a $7.99 monthly fee isn’t a big deal, but if you’re paying this every month and you don’t even use the service anymore, what are you even doing?

Cost: Free

Availability: iOS, Android

If you want to share a budget with your family or partner: Spendee

Most personal finance apps are for individual use, but for $1.99 a month, you can add family, friends, and partners to your Spendee account to share expenses, budgets, and more. If you don’t want to fork up the extra cash, the free version of the app is still super helpful in terms of syncing your accounts, analyzing your spending habits, and setting up basic budgets as well as special occasion budgets for things like vacations and big expenses.

Cost: Free for 7 days and Spendee Basic, $1.99/month for Spendee Plus, $2.99/month for Spendee Premium

Availability: iOS, Android

If you just want to know how much money you can spend: PocketGuard

This app has all the same big-picture features as some of the others listed here in terms of personalized budgets, reporting, and goal-oriented recommendations. But what’s most unique and helpful is its “In My Pocket” feature, which shows how much money you have to spend on any given day, week, or month after paying off your bills and stashing your savings. Now you’ll know if you can afford to buy avocado toast for breakfast, or if you should hit up your office pantry for cereal.

Cost: Free, $3.99/month for PocketGuard Plus

Availability: iOS, Android

If you always miss bill payments: Prism

Paying bills may be painful, but paying late fees on top of that? That’s money you could easily avoid wasting with Prism. Set up all your services and bills on the app with their due dates and never miss a payment again — this is also pretty helpful in figuring out which services you can cancel in case of some overlap. From there, you can pay bills instantly within the app or schedule payments later, all without having to log into individual accounts or reset any passwords because you forgot them again.

Cost: Free

Availability: iOS, Android

If you need a hands-on approach to finally pay off debt: You Need A Budget (YNAB)

If you have debt of any kind, You Need A Budget And You Need This App. YNAB helps pull your money out of the red with four rules, the most important being “give every dollar a job.” That means you manually indicate exactly how much you want to spend each week or month in a category you’ve created, like rent, pet supplies, or bills, as well as any long-term goals like paying off debt. If you overspend in one category, you can easily shift your funds around so you’re still on track to stick to your overall budget. The app provides realistic recommendations to guide you in a big picture way without making you feel like a failure for overspending on takeout again. It’s also claims to be so effective that it’s helped users save an average of $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 their first year.   

Cost: Free for 34-days, then $6.99/month

Availability: iOS, Android