April is Financial Literacy Month, and if you’re wondering how to manage your finances better, well, there’s an app for that.
A recent study by Experian found that nearly half of consumers currently use some sort of money application to gain confidence and control over their financial welfare. Four in five users said they felt more knowledgeable about their financial situation after downloading and using a technology solution.
Here are four apps that can help you stay on top of your finances—and even improve them.
With over 15 million users, the Mint app is very helpful with setting up a budget and aggregating all your financial accounts in one place. You add your bank account information, as well as credit cards and loans: The app tracks your spending patterns and offers pie charts and bar graphs that can help you quickly see which areas you need to cut back.
You can also sign up for alerts for bill reminders, large purchases, late fees, and notices on whether you’re over budget in a particular category. Eating out too much, perhaps?
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This solution offered by Level Money is essentially a real-time money and spending meter. It takes your estimated income (based on your previous history) and deducts your recurring bills and a savings rate. Whatever is left over is what you can spend for the day, week, or month.
The app is adept at tracking cash flow–and if you’ve spent too much in one day, the money meter will adjust and show you have less to spend for the remainder of the month.
The CEO has said he wanted a “digital equivalent of opening up your wallet and seeing how much you have left.”
Personal Capital is another app that’s like Mint. It aggregates all your financial information in one place but also makes investment suggestions.
The company, a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) with the SEC, manages more than $1 billion in assets and tracks a total of $120 billion in registered users’ personal funds. The app focuses primarily on investing and retirement planning, and gives you useful features such as the 401(k) Fee Analyzer that tells you how much your retirement plan is costing you.
Another option is their Investment Checkup tool, which recommends an asset allocation based on your risk profile.
Acorns is an app that lets users invest spare change from their purchases. The app links to your debit card or credit card and rounds up every purchase—and invests it into a diversified portfolio.
So far, the company has reportedly helped its 650,000 members save a combined $25 million. While the app is free, the cost for the service is a dollar a month plus a small percentage of the earnings. There are no minimum balance requirements.