Apps and technology have come a long way in helping users reach all sorts of goals, from fitness, to healthy eating, to even finances. Whether you are a college student trying to make ends meet or a homeowner trying to get out of debt, chances are there is a free app just waiting to make a difference in your finances. Whether you need help shaping a budget, sticking to a savings plan, or want to earn back some cash on common purchases, these apps and others will help you reach those goals. Which one will you start using today?
For: Apple and Android
In order to get where you’re going, you have to know where you are. Think of plugging an address into your GPS or maps function. The GPS has to know where you are first before it can calculate your route.
A budget works much the same way for your savings goals and debt reduction goals. You need a clear picture of the state of your finances before you set goals. Mint is a great service to track your budget, set goals, and easily categorize your spending as it syncs with your checking and savings account. The app offers both Apple and Android versions, as well as the desktop site. You can easily check how much you’ve used in specific categories, like grocery or entertainment, and what you have left for the month to spend. With a few clicks, you can see spending trends over the past month or even the past few years.
For: Apple and Android
Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for shopping? Ibotta is rebate app that rewards you with cash back on common items from the grocery store and other retail stores. Once you earn at least $20 in rebates, you can choose to transfer the money to your PayPal account, or receive it in a gift card from popular places like Sephora, Old Navy or a variety of restaurants. The rebates are unlocked by answering a question or watching a short ad. To cash-in, you scan the item, as well as your receipt after making your purchase. The app also offers bonuses for redeeming a certain amount of rebates in a certain time period and other easy tasks.
One of the trends in budget technology are savings apps that automatically deduct from your accounts to squirrel away funds in another savings account. From apps that round up to the nearest dollar, make deductions based on your spending habits, or take your change to invest in low-risk stocks, there is an app for you. Acorns and Digit are great ones to check out if savings is one less thing you want to think about.
Acorns is available for Apple and Android and focuses on “micro-investing.” The app rounds up to the nearest dollar on your purchases and invests the spare change in ETFs, or Exchange Traded Funds. This a great app for those with long-term savings goals, or those that want help with some basic, low-risk investing.
Digit is also available for Apple and Android. Digit connects with your bank account and tracks your spending trends. It tucks away a small amount here and there in a separate account that you can access anytime. The app will send you updates of how much you’ve saved per week, and how much is in your account. The amounts that are tucked away are small so that it doesn’t impact your daily cash flow, but you’re saving nonetheless, making it a seamless experience for you.
We have our phones with us all the time, so why not put it to work by using it to change our habits, shape our budgets and save money? It’s not going anywhere, so let’s make it work for us. Download these apps today and take back your budget.