Top Personal Finance Apps
Budgeting can be tough. Bridging financial gaps and reconciling your expenditure versus your income can be a daunting task. Not only because you could run into a cash crunch, the numbers involved that could be a bit overwhelming.
Most people are used to the retro styles of creating a budget, which involves gathering all your receipts, bank account slips, monthly utility bills and credit card statements, followed by pasting every detail onto a massive spreadsheet.
However, that is all gone in this technological era, thanks to budgeting software in the market. With this software, you no longer have to stay up into the wee hours of the night. All you have to do is input the numbers and watch the magic unfolds before your eyes. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the leading software in personal finance.
Top personal finance apps
- You Need a budget
Also referred to as YNAB, this software ranks as the most popular personal finance software. Apart from crunching those numbers on your behalf, YNAB also teaches you how to budget with its built-in education system. There are also multiple improvements in the latest version that runs on Mac and Windows.
In addition, YNAB comes with a unique interface that appeals to the current millennials. Even better are the online classes uploaded every week as well as podcasts that aim at improving the relationship between you and your pocket.
You can sample YNAB for 34 days, after which you’ll need to pay $6.99 per month. You can also get the mobile app for both iPhone and Android.
This is one of the oldest personal finance software out there. However, don’t let that fool you because Quicken can take care of all your budgeting problems and it is available on both Windows and Mac.
A unique feature about Quicken is that it is available offline. This means that you have to download and install the application. Furthermore, you can download all your transactions to eliminate the manual entries. There are other advanced features included like the generation of personalized invoices with your logo, export to Excel, secure cloud backup to Dropbox and integrated Quicken Bill Pay.
There are 4 plans available if you wish to use Quicken. First is the Starter which goes for $34.99 per year. Then you have the Deluxe version which allows you to customize your budgets and will cost you $44.99 per year. You then have the Premier version which comes with free online bill payment and priority customer service and for this, you’ll need to part with $67.49. Next up is the most comprehensive package – the Home and Business version that allows you to separate business and home expenses as well as personalized invoices. For this, you’ll need to spend $89.99 a year.
Mint is quite similar to Quicken probably because Intuit once owned Quicken and then bought Mint in 2009. However, the one difference that stands out is the fact that it is free.
That comes with its own consequences, including having to deal with annoying ads. Other than that, Mint gets the job done, including linking all your financial accounts. In addition, you can get alerts regarding bills that are due as well as providing analysis of your entire financial situation.
Furthermore, Mint comes packed with a host of security features aimed at securing your data. They include VeriSign secure scan, multi-factor authentication and the ability to wipe your entire financial data remotely in the event that you lose your mobile phone.
CountAbout comes in 2 versions. The basic that goes for $10 a year and which will let you do all the basic stuff including budgeting. The premium version goes for $40 and comes with multiple advanced features for intermediate to expert users.
CountAbout also lets you import your financial data from Quicken and Mint. You’ll also have the ability to link your financial institutions and download the corresponding transactions straight to your app. CountAbout also comes with extra features including customized categories, split and recurring transaction support and multi-factor authentication for security purposes.
The app is available on Android and iOS platforms as well as on PC through a web-based version.
- Personal Capital
Personal Capital is one of the top budgeting apps in the market. Some of the top features include transaction import from your preferred financial institutions. A downside to this app is the lack of the ability to customize your budget categories. This means that you’ll have to get creative with the preset layout.
Apart from that, Personal Capital comes with an interactive dashboard to make things easy for you as you navigate the app. In addition to that, if you are a Forex trader, you’ll be glad to know that the app offers monitoring tools to keep an eye on the Dow Jones and S&P 500. The app also reminds you of due payments to your brokers.
With all the above features, you’d expect that they would come at a cost. However, Personal Capital is free, but you can choose to pay a premium for VIP treatment.
Acorns is more of a savings app than a budgeting app. The app literally converts your change into savings. It doesn’t stop there. The app invests this change in a safe exchange traded funds in one of the 5 platforms you choose.
Say for example you spend $74.20 at a local store, Acorns will round off the total to the nearest dollar and the difference, 80 cents, will be invested in ETFs. How about that for hassle-free saving?
Until you hit $5,000 in portfolio value, you will pay $1 per month. From then on, you’ll be charged 0.25% of your balance. Check this, if you’re a student, you get to use Acorns for free and it is available for both Android and iPhone.
Tips on How to use you Budget App Safely
Most of the time it’s never the hacker-led security threats that trouble security experts. It’s the ignorance that users of apps and smartphones in general, not forgetting the sensitive information in them.
So, here are a few safety tips to help you follow
- Use strong passwords. Almost all budget apps employ the latest password encryption techniques. So, lock your data away from malicious hackers. You need to employ strong passwords. A strong password includes at least one symbol, uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers. In addition, please avoid using your birth date as a password.
- Decline auto-logins when requested. You’ve probably come across a number of websites asking you, “Remember this password?” the answer is always Never. Do not allow your browser to remember your password.
- Make sure you are comfortable using the app. Sometimes you’d feel a bit insecure while using some of these apps. That is completely understandable and if you feel uncomfortable, you can always decline the invitation to link sensitive accounts. This is because these apps operate by consolidating all your financial information.
- Install an anti-virus. Just like PCs, mobile phones also need an anti-virus to alert you of any suspicious activity.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi. Sending and receiving sensitive data over public Wi-Fi is risky as it sounds. These hotspots are vulnerable and a soft target for many hackers who thrive on causing mayhem. So, the next time you are at the restaurant, avoid using personal apps such as budget apps.
There are countless personal finance apps out in the market. Once you find an app that solves your problem, then that is what will work for you. Otherwise, there’re apps for every situation.