There’s no end of personal finance tools and apps in sight to get your money right. The very thought of doing the research to compare apps and finance trackers could stop you dead in your tracks!
We’ve done some research for you. Here’s a bird’s eye view of some of the best personal finance tools out there. Some of these tools come with a monthly fee, others are completely free. So no matter what your needs and desired price point, you’ll be tracking, measuring, and analyzing your dollars like a pro!
If you’ve listened to any of the ChooseFI podcasts, you’ll know that Brad and Jonathan are big proponents of the Empower app. This app provides a quick analysis of all of your investment accounts, taking into consideration fees and how it levels out with your desired asset allocation.
Empower is not a budgeting app but is truly designed to help you manage and track your investments. It can give you a bird’s eye view of all your accounts for an accurate snapshot of net worth in one place. For those on the path to FI, it allows you to see your investments as they contribute towards your overall net worth, track fees and see if you need to rebalance.
Ideal For: Anyone who wants to see how their investments are performing in one place, along with snapshots of their assets and liabilities (mortgage, credit card debt) for a fast net worth check.
Cost: Free! Includes add-on services at cost.
Mint is the mother of all budgeting apps, as it’s been around and trusted for just about the longest in the tech world for this type of service. With Mint, you can quickly set financial goals, budgets by category, and then connect your bank accounts, credit cards, as well as assets and liabilities.
When you go over your desired budget, you’ll get an email alert that you overspent. You also can visually track your progress toward a financial goal. Goals like saving for a house, building an emergency fund, or other FI milestones.
It may take some work to track all of your transactions and bucket them to the right budgeting categories, but it’s a relatively easy interface to use on desktop or mobile to help you stay on track with a budget!
Ideal For: Anyone who needs budget tracking that’s easy and appreciates getting a nudge if they’ve overspent (via an email or push notification) to stay on track throughout the month.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
YNAB is Mint on steroids. This app is a great lifestyle changer for anyone who might need a shove in the right direction. While Mint is a bit more passive in budget tracking, YNAB is designed for someone who wants to or needs to be, actively involved in their finances. This is for someone who wants to mindfully track where their dollars go.
YNAB offers a bit more coaching than other apps designed to track transactions. With easy syncing with your imported bank and credit card institutions, you’ll be able to monitor what’s going on and given insights into spending trends and puts a bit of skin in the game.
Ideal For: Robust budget tracking and active management of your expenses to change behaviors–not just someone who wants a snapshot.
Cost: (at the time of publication of this article) 34-day free trial. Then $6.99 per month/$83.99 per year.
Trim is perfect for anyone who has experienced the horror of discovering a subscription they forgot they were paying for and not even using. The Trim app analyzes your credit card and bank transactions to identify any recurring expenses you may have forgotten about.
With the Trim app, after you import account information, it identifies recurring expenses. After that, it then sends you a text message with your subscriptions that have popped up. The best part is that you can easily cancel any subscription you no longer want. Simply text “Cancel X Name Service” and it will cancel on your behalf!
They can send a certified letter to get out of any memberships you don’t want–like a gym. Brilliant!
Ideal for: Anyone new to FI who needs to radically cut costs and hasn’t been diligent about checking credit card statements.
Cost: Free! Although they will keep a percentage of any negotiated bill.
There are some budget categories that you know you should probably look into reducing, but it is very low on your to-do list. Bi-yearly car insurance premiums, TV service, phone plans, and gym memberships are usually categories we’d like to comparison shop, but don’t always get around to!
Fortunately, PocketGuard helps you track your budget and optimize categories, helping you identify certain recurring expenses where you could get a better deal. Budget tracking, and trimming all in one place!
Ideal For: If you’re single with regular income this app is user-friendly without a lot of distracting offerings.
Cost: Download is free, but PocketGuard Plus runs $3.99 monthly and $34.99 annually.
Cinch builds on the idea that personal finance should be highly personal–and as such, this app will collect a lot more information than your transaction records to provide a very personalized picture of your finances.
The Cinch app folds in your bank account info, your social security number, along with your annual income. The extra information is used to determine your financial plan with more insights than what a snapshot can typically provide. Through this, it offers advice on how to manage debt, lower expense categories, and advice tailored for your life stage.
Ideal For: Someone looking to manage every aspect of their financial life beyond a basic budget tracker.
Cost: 90-day free trial, $4.99 a month after that.
For those of you who have come from the Dave Ramsey budgeting style, the envelope system will not be new to you, but managing the system digitally via the Mvelopes app can be a game changer.
This is for you if you love the envelope system but would like something a bit more technologically advanced. Your envelopes can be separated by categories: bills (ex: mortgage and utilities), every day (like food, gas), charitable giving, goals, and/or irregular payments (like vehicle maintenance or car registration).
Not only can you manage your money digitally using the familiar envelopes concept, but the app also lets you set goals. Goals that fit your lifestyle by order of importance–pay down debts, charitable donations, savings, or plan for the future.
Ideal For: People who love the Dave Ramsey envelope method of budgeting, who want the simplicity of digital tracking.
Cost: $4 per month, $40 per year after that.
The app world is always changing and the finance tools are no different. Don’t get discouraged if one app doesn’t seem to fit just right, just try another one until you find the budget tracker, investment minder, and saving nudger that fits your personal journey to FI. Let us know which finance tools you like, whether it’s an old app or something brand new.