It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new habits—like finally learning how to manage your money. In each installment of Get Your Money Right, we’ll tackle a different aspect of financial anxiety and offer practical solutions and steps you can take toward a brighter financial future. You got this.
When it comes to using fintech (aka “financial technology”) apps to help you manage your money, it can feel overwhelming to pick just one since the market is now so saturated with options. However, the benefit of using these money apps is so great that it’s worth getting over that fear and diving right in.
Jenn Monahan, a financial trainer at The Financial Gym, says it’s good to keep in mind that “these apps are meant to help keep your approach to budgeting and saving (and eventually investing, if you’re not there already!) more mindful and intentional.”
To find out the best money apps to use when you’re financially fearful, we spoke with a team of experts and got their tips.
1The EveryDollar App
Ariel Kiley, a yoga and meditation teacher who also runs a financial realization course, swears by the EveryDollar app. It helps users create a monthly budget so they can achieve their money goals, and Kiley says she likes the free version because it doesn’t sync with her bank account. She says she prefers to manually enter in her spending data because it allows her to feel more personally connected to her spending and earning choices, while also allowing her to review them regularly. “Manual entry ensures that conscious review is part of my process,” she tells HG.
Another reason she prefers this app is because it offers three different ways to view your finances. “For each month, there is a tab you can look at that says ‘Planned,’ one that says ‘Spent,’ and another that says ‘Remaining.’” Kiley says this helps her to easily track her budget from multiple directions.
It’s also worth noting that the EveryDollar app is centered on the the “Zero Based Budget,” in which all money, down to the dollar, is accounted for. “This is how I paid off over $36,000 in 10 months as a yoga teacher. Now it is how I’m building hefty savings quickly,” she says. This type of budgeting is magic when you want to accomplish big goals—and rapidly.
Kristen Euretig, a certified financial planner and the founder of Brooklyn Plans, a financial advisory company that focuses on helping women, recommends the Mint budgeting app because it provides a clear picture of all your finances. “I find for a lot of clients the source of anxiety is the unknown and the lack of clarity, which can sometimes best be resolved by getting a good handle on what’s going on,” she says. The Mint app provides the opportunity to sync all of your financial accounts and see balances, activity, growth, and expenses in one place.
Euretig’s favorite feature is the goals section, which allows you to set and track your progress on financial goals in real time by linking dedicated accounts to save towards that goal. However, she says, “One drawback to the app is that it has a lot of bells and whistles and might be overwhelming if you’re just getting started with first steps to getting your arms around your finances.”
Monahan recommends Clarity Money because it’s a “clean platform [that allows] for syncing up accounts (checking, savings, investments, loans, bills) and tracking progress towards your personal goals.” The app helps track your expenses over time, allowing you to see a trend analysis with certain categories like dining out and retail, plus it can send alerts based on how far along you are towards reaching your goals (or if you’re overspending). The app allows you to easily pull your credit score, too.
For those who like to shop and get a good deal, Euretig says ShopSavvy helps you manage “the nagging sensation that you might get a better deal somewhere else when shopping.” Through this app, you can scan a barcode of almost any item to see how prices compare to other retailers. “The app also provides similar product suggestions in case there’s something very close to what you’re looking at for half the price,” says Euretig.
Navigating money stuff can become even more complex when you’re in a relationship. For this reason, Monahan recommends Honeydue. “It’s a great tool for couples looking to have a better understanding of their joint accounts, shared expenses, and money habits,” she says. It works by helping you budget day-to-day expenses while also allowing you to track joint goals (for example, home savings, vacations, or a wedding), providing a more interactive way to talk about money in a relationship.