Apps have quickly become an essential and, for some, preferred way of keeping track of personal finances and investments. Managing money and investments has never been easier or more accessible. With thousands of apps to pick from it’s hard to know which apps to choose. If you need an app to help you save for vacation, keep track of your monthly budget, or invest for retirement, the solution is on this list.
Acorns automatically rounds up purchases and invests the change in diversified portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that range from conservative to aggressive. Round-up settings are customizable so you can control how much is rounded up from each purchase, and you can link multiple cards to the account. It’s easy to do additional one-time or recurring investments or to withdraw money if needed (however the money isn’t immediately available when requested).
Con: If you prefer knowing exactly what you’re investing in, this may not be the app for you. The app shows a pie chart detailing the type of securities in your profile, but it does not show specific companies or bond information.
It seems like every scroll through social media contains yet another offer for a subscription service. While they can be incredibly convenient, they can also be hard to track, and you may end up throwing away money on subscriptions you aren’t using. Clarity Money tracks your expenses to make recommendations about how to save money and helps you cancel unwanted subscriptions.
Con: Clarity Money doesn't offer a custom budgeting tool. It will tell you how much you're spending, but it won't let you set spending goals for specific items. It also will not let you input your spending manually. It only tracks the transactions for linked accounts.
Prism includes over 11,000 billers so all your bills and financial accounts appear in one location, and you won’t have to log in to multiple websites to pay your bills. The app can be used to pay bills by scheduling payments and can also send due-date reminders. Payments can be made instantaneously, which many other bill-paying apps don’t offer. The app is a great way to avoid late fees and overdrafts.
Con: PDF versions of your bill statements for certain popular billers are available in Prism. For others, you will still have to log in to that biller’s website.
Robinhood is a good app if you’re brand-new to investing because it’s incredibly user-friendly and transactions are commission-free for stocks, ETFs, options, and American Depository Receipts (ADRs). It also offers Bitcoin trading capabilities, and there are no account minimums or maintenance fees. New users get a free stock valued between $3 and $150 when they fund their account.
Con: Robinhood doesn’t compile any reports or have analysis tools. You can see how the stock has performed historically but otherwise; it can feel like you’re just guessing at stocks to track and buy.
Twine allows you to set specific savings goals for a vacation, a wedding, large purchases, or just a rainy day. The app automatically deducts an amount you set from an attached account and contributes it toward your savings goals each month. The app also allows you to link with a “Trusted Contact” so that you and your partner can contribute simultaneously and achieve your goal together.
Con: Automatic withdrawals are something you must watch carefully. While it’s convenient, it can result in overdrafts, and some people prefer to make manual withdrawals.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) helps you manage a budget by prioritizing money and assigning it to an expense instead of spending freely as money arrives in your bank account. It also allows you to set goals for large, less-frequent expenses so you can work to pay them over time. This app (and companion website) utilizes zero-based budgeting but makes it a little more simple to learn.
Con: For being an app with the goal to save money, it’s a little pricey. There is a free 34-day trial then it’s $11.99/month or $84/year.
There are hundreds of other great apps out there. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear from you!
This article was updated on November 11, 2020.