Life is expensive. There’s a reason why everyone has money on the brain — dollar signs and hidden costs are everywhere.
Sometimes it may seem easier to forget about a budget or forget about insurance and loans, but we all know what that looks like down the line, and its not pretty. Rather than feign blissful ignorance, approach money as an informed and organized consumer.
Below are six apps to help you master your finances. Securely connect your accounts and credit cards, and let them do the heavy lifting.
1. YNAB(You Need a Budget)
If you need a budget, YNAB is the app to help. Sync your account with all of your/your family members’ devices through the cloud to stay up to date.
Add a charge before you leave the store to ensure your account balance remains accurate at all times. YNAB also helps you set money aside for an account dedicated to unexpected expenses, which prevents emergency costs from setting back your budget.
Track your spending patterns by category using Mint.com’s app. The app figures out exactly how much you’re spending on various categories (e.g. transportation, groceries, rent, etc.) and helps you see where you may be able to cut back. It also helps you budget in monthly expenses and set money aside for one-time endeavors.
Additionally, Mint will send you alerts when you’re exceeding budgets, wasting money on unnecessary fees and whenever potential fraudulent charges arise on your accounts.
Verify all debit and credit card charges on BillGuard to avoid any fraudulent or wrongful expenditures. The app compares your location with the transaction location and alerts you when the two do not match. Click on locations where you’ve spent money to read reviews of the vendor and any previous incidents of fraud as told by fellow customers.
Should you incur a wrongful charge, BillGuard helps you get your money back in a timely and simplistic way. Based on recent charges, the app also compiles coupons for vendors that align with your consumer interests, saving you money while you spend. (Note: Many credit card companies include fraud protection, and won't hold the cardholder liable for fraudulent purchases. Inquire with your credit card company about the protections in place for these types of charges.)
Ever wondered if buying in bulk is actually cheaper? Now there’s an app for that. Compare unit prices regardless of the size of the package and figure out exactly how to cut costs on individual items.
Additionally, the app can help you watch what you eat by converting calories per serving from difficult-to-interpret nutrition labels on food items.
Get alerts for deals, exclusive rewards and earn free gift cards at top retailers using Shopkick. Browse the daily offerings before a trip to the mall or grocery store to see how you can save. While shopping, Shopkick will determine if any nearby stores are having sales and will alert you to the offerings.
Even if you choose not to buy something, you earn rewards just for entering the store, which is pretty much a win-win. Once you’ve earned enough points, choose a free reward gift card to the store of your choice.
The only thing better than saving money is making money. That’s where Acorn comes in. Invest your spare change from every purchase and earn money as you spend. Watch as financial experts invest your change and turn your cents into dollars.
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