Take Control of Your Money Goals With These 4 Key Personal Finance Apps
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Mind over matter? Try mind over money.
The more you believe you can accomplish your financial goals, the more likely you are to actually do so, suggests a newly published study that followed millennials over the course of 10 years, starting with their freshman year in college.
When researchers looked at subjects’ overall well-being, they found that the concept of financial self-efficacy (or believing you can accomplish your money goals) had the strongest correlation not only with financial well-being but also with peer relationships, psychological well-being and satisfaction with life. So, yes -- believing you have the ability to meet your money goals could help you turn them into accomplishments. But more than that, it could help increase your happiness in areas like relationships, mental health and overall outlook on life.
It’s especially important for women to get in financial formation (sorry, Beyoncé). Why? The same study found that only 27 percent of women earned more than $60,000 per year, compared to 45 percent of men -- and that’s on par with national figures suggesting women earn 17 to 20 percent less than their male counterparts. That gender pay gap can lead to less in retirement savings, which means less compounding interest, which means a smaller nest egg when we do decide to stop working and take a fair-weather cruise to Florida.
Since there’s no shortage of reasons why it’s vital for women to take control of our finances, we’ve rounded up four personal finance apps to help you do just that.
What We Love: Digit connects to your financial accounts and analyzes your spending patterns, then auto-saves small amounts of money on your behalf. More than $1 billion has been saved with Digit to date, according to the app, and those savings are FDIC-insured with a no-overdraft guarantee. One of the best aspects of Digit is its subtlety -- it only pings you when you’ve reached certain savings milestones, meaning it’s easy to “set it and forget it,” then be happily surprised once you see the stockpile you’ve built up. Plus, you can set specific savings goals -- like $1,000 by June 1st for a summer trip -- and it will save with your goal date in mind.
What Users Say: One reviewer says, ‘Love this app. Saves money little by little that you don't really notice but adds up very quickly.’ Another writes, ‘Great app! Saved over $600 in 5 months not touching anything!’
What We Love: Clarity Money is all about displaying your complete financial picture: total cash, credit card debt, spending, monthly income, subscriptions and credit score. You can sort through recent transactions by category -- “June spending on entertainment,” or “What did I spend on Lyft this month?” -- to get a better idea of your spending habits, and the app also lists out your recurring subscriptions and offers to cancel them for free on your behalf. Plus, you can turn on automatic savings to meet long-term goals (for example, saving $5 every Monday for your nest egg).
What Users Say: One reviewer says, ‘This app is really something else. It’s comparable to Mint or Level Money (RIP), but it gives a lot more insight and helpful guidance than those in my opinion.’ Another writes, ‘Great app! Super useful for tracking all spending across multiple accounts, seeing ongoing subscriptions and keeping a detailed budget.’
What We Love: Qapital is a savings app specializing in IFTTT (if this then that), meaning users can set savings “rules” based on spending habits, location, day of the week and more. The team behind the app built it to drive behavioral change and help users spend money on things they actually wanted in the long term. For example, every time you spend less than $25 a week on coffee, or go to the gym, or make a purchase you’ve tagged as a “guilty pleasure” (like ordering takeout), you can set Qapital to save a certain amount for one of your longer-term savings goals. You can also tell the app to round up to the nearest dollar for every purchase you make and save the change.
What Users Say: One reviewer says, ‘I've been using this app to save for a trip with my mom to Italy. It's very easy to use, and totally customizable. You can use it with IFTTT and make automatic triggers for different actions, whenever you enter certain locations, or save for your rainy day fund whenever it rains.’ Another writes, ‘This app makes it so easy to save money that I don't even realize I'm doing it!’
What We Love: It’s too easy to spiral into credit card debt. That’s probably why Americans kicked off 2018 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time in history. Debitize aims to help consumers take advantage of that credit -- and reap as many rewards as possible -- without paying the price later in interest. The app does this by acting as a middleman so you can treat your credit card like a debit card: Each time you swipe, it deducts what you’ve spent from your checking account balance, then pays off your credit card on your behalf. Since the purchase amount is immediately deducted from your account, you don’t have to worry about racking up a revolving balance.
What Users Say: One reviewer says, ‘I have never been disciplined with money, and every time I would use a credit card for rewards, I would end up paying interest for not being able to pay off full balance -- this solves it. In the first three weeks I’ve received $65 in rewards with no extra debt!’ Another writes, ‘This app helps curb you from yourself.’How to Download: Free for iPhone