Personal Finance

5 best personal finance tools to help you manage your money

hero image

Whether we actively know it or not, we all have financial goals. Maybe your goal is to someday buy a house or get a new car. Or perhaps you want to pay off student debt or make a little extra side cash

If you're here after reading our article on 7 unique side hustles, you might be looking for ways to better manage your influx of cash. The first step toward better finances is setting a financial goal through understanding where you’re currently at compared to where you’d like to be. And if you go it alone, that sounds like a daunting task.

Luckily, there are plenty of services and apps that can help keep you on top of your finances. Here are five that are worth checking out.

Track your spending with Mint

Cost: Free to download on desktop, iOS and Android devices

Intuit’s Mint offers free insights, tracking, budget planning and subscription monitoring. You’ll add your bank and credit card information, and Mint tracks where your spending goes each month through its personalized “Mintsights.” The app breaks down your spending by category, so you can see how much you’re spending on, say, groceries versus going out to eat in a certain month.

Mint also does a great job of helping you set goals unique to your situation. If you want to save for a down payment on your home or a new car, or boost your credit score, you can share that information with Mint. It’ll provide motivation and tips along the way to help you achieve your goals.

Beyond customizable budgets and spending tracking, Mint also offers credit monitoring. You can see your score for free at any time, and the app will give you a heads up if it notices any major changes in your score.

 

 

Save on your subscriptions with Trim

Cost: Free 14-day trial with $99 annual subscription

As we practiced social distancing and quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic, we gravitated toward streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+. As a result, spending on those services went up 24% since the start of the pandemic, accounting for $47 per month on streaming services.

What’s more, about half of U.S. consumers (49%) subscribe to four streaming services, with 13% saying they use seven or more.

If you’re getting value out of all of those streaming services, keep on watching them. However, chances are you’re only using one or two to their fullest potential — which could provide an opportunity for you to save.

Enter Trim, which analyzes your spending patterns to find ways to take action and save you money. The tool helps you cancel those old subscriptions. If, for example, you signed up for Disney+ to watch Hamilton and have been letting it collect dust ever since, Trim can help you finally...well, trim that cost.  

Streaming services aren’t the only thing Trim helps you save money on, either. It will also negotiate your cable, internet and medical bills for you and work with your bank to waive interest charges and get refunds on fees. In other words, it takes the hassle out of talking with customer service reps for hours on end.

Trim users can contribute to a high-yield savings account, with a 4% annualized bonus on the first $2,000 deposited.

Start investing with Betterment

Cost: Free to start for checking and savings accounts, 0.25% annual fee for digital investing and 0.40% for premium investing, which includes more in-depth advice

If the idea of investing makes you a little uneasy, Betterment can help bridge that knowledge gap. The tool guides you through different portfolio options, getting a sense of your risk tolerance and goals, and puts together an automated savings plan that goes to work for you right away.

Rather than investing in just a few stocks here or there, Betterment’s robo-advisor selects exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. These funds include access to a variety of companies, so you’re still getting a diversified portfolio without having to do all of the work. 

They’ll also save you money in the long run. Some funds have excessively high fees, but with Betterment, you’ll only pay 0.25% of what you make in a year. Over time, those savings really add up.

A couple of other cool features from Betterment: you’ll get automated tax strategies to help you save more each tax season, and you can use Socially Responsible Investing to help make additional impact with your investments, all while still earning money for your portfolio.

Budget with your partner with Honeydue

Cost: Free with advertisements on both iOS and Android devices

Ask any couples therapist the key to a healthy relationship, and they’ll likely say learning how to communicate well with your partner. But when it comes to money, that conversation can quickly turn tense.

Luckily, you can get on the same page with Honeydue, an app that specifically focuses on budgeting for couples.

Whether you have a joint bank account or your own separate finances, you can keep track of it through the app. Use bill reminders to avoid late fee penalties, talk about a transaction that doesn’t look familiar and get notifications and real-time balances for each partner. 

Honeydue’s Joint Cash feature offers a collaborative bank account with no monthly fees or minimums, accessible from more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs and functional with Apple and Google Pay. You’ll also be able to set up automatic bill payments from the joint account, all in one easy to manage dashboard.

InPost_MoneyATM.jpeg

 

Try zero-based budgeting with Mvelopes

Cost: The basic plan starts at $5.97 per month and offers transaction importing, account balance monitoring, live chat and interactive reports. More premium options also provide elements like a debt reduction center, dedicated personal coach and personalized financial plans.

In Mvelopes’ own words: “spending is easy, but budgeting is hard.” And the service aims to turn the stressful part of budgeting into something as easy as spending, helping you make a plan in less than 15 minutes. 

Mvelopes borrows from a traditional envelope system but puts a digital spin on it. After you choose your most important financial goals, you’ll add your bank accounts and set your income level. You’ll then create different “envelopes” for spending like restaurants, gas, retail and more.  

Once your plan is set up, Mvelopes keeps tabs on your spending, showing the amount left in each of your envelopes, giving you control of every dollar you earn. Per the company, Mvelopes users save $6,175 and pay off $17,425 in the first year, on average.

 

 

Other resources to check out

Compare insurance rates to find out how much you could save

or
Location pin icon
glyph-shield-checkmark No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.
Don't forget to share!
Joey Held photo
Joey Held

As a writer, Joey Held has specialized in business, marketing, sports, music and insurance topics for more than a decade. He's also a podcaster and author of Kind, But Kind of Weird: Short Stories on Life's Relationships. His first car was a Buick Regal with an inconsistent radio but pretty good gas mileage.