Last month, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel about Women and Money with FemCity here in Atlanta. We talked a lot money hangups, but one woman asked a great question about free money apps she could use to make her life easier. I rambled off a list of the ones I liked and the ladies furiously started taking notes.
It was then that I realized then that unless you're a blogger (and your job is writing about finance) or a big money nerd… you probably don't research these kinds of tools, even though they can definitely make your life (and your money) better.
I'm a little hesitant to jump on the wagon for any new technology. Call it the old lady in me (I still haven't tried Periscope, even though all the cool bloggers are doing it).
So keep in mind that in order for these apps to be in my rotation, you know they're good, they're all FREE, easy-to-use, and most importantly incredibly useful to you in your everyday life. Here are my five favorite free apps for your finances. Seriously. They rock.
Free Money Apps for Your Finances
I hear a lot about Mint.com, but Learnvest has an excellent expense tracking/budget platform. It also comes with a companion app for your phone. It's been the one “budgeting” software I've used over the last four years. You can image having four years worth of my spending habits and data in one place that it would be hard to leave, but I just love Learnvest so, so much.
For example: I moved last month, and moving is always an expensive endeavor, so I want to be more granular with my budget for the rest of the year. With Learnvest, if I'm deciding to be lazy and order Uber Eats or be a good girl and cook...I can look in my app and see how much money I have left in my “eating out” budget and make an informed decision. It really is that simple!
Give Learnvest a try, here.
I've written about this money saving app a lot before, but I absolutely love it. It makes saving money super brainless, which is good because I'm still trying to figure out how I save best. I've been using it for just eight short weeks and I've already saved ~$300, which was super helpful during my aforementioned move.
The way it works is that you enter your checking account information and set “Rules” – like rounding up purchases to the nearest even amount, saving a fixed amount each week, rewards for when you spend wisely or hit fitness targets. It saves the money in an account via the app, which you can withdraw at any time. What separates Qapital from competitors (like Digit below) is that you can sync up with your friends and either compete or support one another in their own savings goals. I'm obsessed with this app.
I don't like to coupon. Really, I kinda hate it. And I firmly believe you can't coupon your way to wealth. My thoughts on “couponing” changed when I met the SavingStar app. I log in to the app and select offers I'm probably going to use that week, then after I'm done shopping I upload my receipt and they give me cash back rewards in my SavingStar app, which I can withdraw later on.
It's a great way to save a little “here and there” and feels more like a reward than knocking money off my grocery bill each week. I prefer this over traditional couponing any day.
Chime is a new type of bank account with many of the functions of the apps listed in this piece “built in.” Much like Qapital, it saves you money, automatically. Plus it's Free (app is free too!) with no fees, or monthly minimums. Since it's all online and hassle free they're revolutionizing the way millennials bank – i.e. operating outside your typical brick-and-mortar and really leaning into the whole managing-money-via-app thing. You can analyze spending, pay friends, pay bills – all from your mobile or desktop.
Also! For a limited time, they're giving Financial Best Life readers $5 when they sign up and make an opening deposit. Hooray for free $$$.
I'll admit, I was a little late to the Venmo party. As a freelancer/online entrepreneur, I have a lot of people pay me via Paypal, so I was pretty stuck on using that platform. I still use Paypal for business, but friends prefer to send money via the Venmo app, which makes it ridiculously easy (and fun to pay someone if you can actually believe it.)
I also thought this article on how Venmo might be making our culture petty was great food for thought, too.
If there is one technology I am excited about above all others it's probably Track.
It works in the same way Digit and Qapital do for your savings accounts, but it's built to help freelancers and entrepreneurs save better for tax day. Taxes are tricky when you're self-employed, so any technology that makes it easier is a no-brainer. You sync your checking account and when you get paid or deposit a check, Track will check in via text to ask you if it's for your 1099 income and you respond yes or no. It keeps a running tab of your tax liability and you can set aside certain amounts to ensure you're always putting aside the amount you need to.
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