A new year often means focusing on financial goals, whether simply improving your budget or saving for a big ticket item, like getting a new apartment or affording tickets (and travel) to a big music festival.
No matter what your money goal is for 2018, the time is now to start looking at your finances. Need some guidance? Perhaps a money app is the way to go. Here are five of my personal favorites.
Mint is one of the original all-inclusive personal finance apps. Download it and connect to your bank account so you can see everything — like your balances, credit card statements and other bills — in one place. You can also use this app to track other improtant things like your credit score and spending habits to see where you can improve.
Venmo isn’t just the name a money-transferring app anymore; it’s also a verb in almost all millennials vocabulary — and even some of their parents, too. Gone are the days of splitting the bill for dinner, your Lyft ride or your boss’s birthday present; Venmo lets users easily transfer and request money from each other — all without any fees.
If you want to slowly begin investing on your own, but have no idea where to start, Stash is exactly what you need. All you have to do is connect your checking account and decide how much money you want to set aside each month. You can start with a fixed amount or set up an Auto-Stash that adds a few bucks every month.
The app gives you access to more than 30 different investment options, as well as advice on which ones to choose. The Stash investment team even curated these into different categories that are easy to understand and choose from, like Clean & Green, American Innovators and Small But Mighty. Choose based on what you believe in or decide to go with the choices of the experts. Either way, Stash simplifies the process so you can start investing — and seeing your money grow.
Digit has been my secret weapon for a few years. Their tagline says it all: “Save money, without even thinking about it.” You connect your checking account and the Digit machine pretty much does the rest. It even comes with an automated messenger that texts you every day with your checking balance and the status of your savings.
So how does it work? The Digit systems analyze your spending patterns during a given period and then moves an amount it deems you can afford into a "Rainy Day Fund." If you happen to spend more during one month, Digit adjusts and puts a bit less into that fund. And, on the flip side, if you have a little bit extra, Digit sets a bit more aside.
As a Digit user myself, I can verify that you don’t even notice when this money is being set aside, until a few months later when you decide to check your Rainy Day Fund balance and it’s surpassed $1,000. Talk about successfully adulting!
Wally keeps track of your income in relation to your expenses, gives you insights into where your money goes, keeps an eye on your savings and budget, and even helps you set (and achieve!) your financial goals. How? Having a bird’s eye view of exactly how much money is coming in and exactly how much is going out is extremely helpful for getting your budget under control. Best of all? This tool is really intuitive so there's no guess work.