Saving is more crucial now than ever with the rising costs of living, attending college and the cost healthcare. It’s become more clear that regardless of your income level, you have a responsibility to live within your means and plan for your future. Unfortunately, not many people are taking the necessary steps to become financially fit and budget their paychecks. The saving habits of Americans are unsatisfactory, with 42% of workers living paycheck to paycheck and 29% have less than $1,000 in savings. The spending habits of Americans are just as bad the national government with the total U.S. credit debt being over $750 billion. Whether you want to get out of debt, save for your retirement, buy a house or all of the above, we can all use a little help getting our finances in formation.
Here are four apps and online tools you can use to become more confident about your financial future.
Mint is an app owned by Inuit, that helps users track bill due dates, spending habits and credit scores. All you have to do is connect your Mint account to your bank accounts and it categorizes each purchase you make and sets personalized budgets for things like shopping, entertainment, and food. The app also alerts you when you have low accounts balances or when you are about to spend over budget, as well as give you advice on what you should do next with your money. Signing up is free and what’s great about Mint is that you don’t always have to check the app to see what’s new because you’ll be getting email alerts when bill payments are coming up.
YNAB is an online software that uses their own rules for saving and spending money. When there is a deposit in your account you immediately decide h0ow the money will be spent. The second rule of the YNAB method is putting money aside for unexpected or infrequent expenses. The basis of all the rules is to be stress free because you feel prepared and confident in your budget planning through the software. Rule three is all about overspending – it teaches users that if you do mess up its ok. Make a sacrifice to balance your spending so you’re still on track. The fourth rule of YNAB is about having enough money saved up that you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck anymore. The money you spend will be at least 30 days old. YNAB is great for families and couples, as well as singles.
The Quicken budgeting app allows you to sync your checking, saving and investment accounts and keep track of activity all in one place. This is similar to Mint in that it categorizes your purchases and gives you insights on how you are using your money, Quicken also lets you take photos of your most important receipts so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of them all. Quicken is also very secure, it requires a password to access the app but you can also deactivate the app from your desktop account.
Every Dollar is a tool created by finance guru Dave Ramsey. The app has a free and paid version which gives you email support, the ability to create multiple budgets, and coaching calls. Users have access to Dave’s proven plan for building wealth and paying off debt and you're able to apply those methods to create financial stability for yourself. You can manage your money from any device and while the app helps you visualize your spending and goals.
What do you use to budget your money and invest in your future?