My Favorite Personal Finance Budgeting & Savings Tools
I get asked about personal finance tools all the time specifically what my favorites are and what I would recommend. And while there are a ton of really great tools out there, these 4 are the ones I've used and like the most and in this blog post I'm going to share the pros and cons of each.
Favorite Budgeting App: Mint (Mint.com)
I've used mint off and on for many years now (I think ever since it first launch) and this app has improved a great deal since the early days. Since it connects to your bank accounts you are able to track your transactions without a lot of manual work, unless of course you use cash in which case it's super easy for you to add in your transactions on your computer or on your phone app.
- It's free
- It connects to a large number of bank accounts, utility accounts, credit cards and more
- Easy to use app both on the desktop and on your smart phone (search for it in your app store)
- Allows you to set goals around savings, debt repayment and more
- Allows you to create a high level or very detailed budget and send your alerts based on your spending
- Categories can sometimes be wrong but can be fixed manually
- Phone app is not as robust as desktop version
Favorite Spending Tracker: Penny (PennyApp.io)
- I recently discovered Penny and I am in love! It's (she is) a smartphone app (search your app store) that helps your track your income and spending so you see exactly where your money is going. She analyzes your habits and shares it with you as well as a bunch of fun facts about your finances in general. She basically acts as your pocket money manager and provides you with updates in a chat format. Since this app is fairly new, I'm sure it's going to continue to get updates that will expand on it's current features.
- Connects your bank accounts
- Identifies your spending habits
- Share interesting facts about those habits
- Tracks your day to day transactions
- Gets smart the longer your use her e.g. she forecasts upcoming bills and can help you cancel services you don't need
- Not very interactive as you are limited to what responses you can give
- Not a very robust option to set goals; Would be great if you could set savings or debt repayment goals
- May not connect to every bank or credit card company
Favorite Savings App: Rize
New on the scene, Rize let’s you choose your goals (or create your own), set monthly savings amounts, connects to your bank account and then automatically makes those transfers (sending you a reminder in advance of the transfer). Easily withdraw your money any time, quickly. Rize let’s you determine how much you want to pay them to use their service each month and it can be $0, however most people give $2 on average.
They also have three pretty awesome features that you can turn on or off in your account:
1. Accelerate: Accelerate automatically increases your monthly savings by 1% (rounded to the nearest whole dollar) each month. For example, if you are saving $100 each month towards your goals, the next month you will be saving $101. This will help you save more each month.
2. Boost: Boost finds spare change and randomly transfers the small amounts of money to your goals throughout the week. Rize will watch your account and only put it out when it makes sense.
3. Investing: For larger goals, Rize let's you maximize your savings by investing your money in ETFs on their platform. Definitely a great way to keep your savings and investments in once place as opposed to switching across multiple platforms.
- You get $5 for opening a new account HERE.
- You can create different savings and investing goals and assign different amounts to be automatically deposited from your checking account.
- You get a reminder in advance of the transfer. This allows you to cancel it if needed.
- Easy to use
- May not connect to every bank i.e. smaller / lesser known banks
Favorite Savings App: Digit (Digit.co)
Digit is a great app that helps you save without you having to think too much about it. It works by connecting to your checking account, analyzes your spending over time and then uses its algorithm to make small unnoticeable transfers every few days that you won't miss and that will never overdraw your account (their guarantee - if it does they will reimburse you the fees charged).
- Savings you don't have to think about - because it analyzes your spending it determines how much you can afford to save at any give time
- A great way to start saving in an automated fashion if you struggle with saving money on your own
- Used to be free but not anymore - now costs $2.99 a month
- Your savings does not earn any interest - interest earned (which you are not made aware of) goes to Digit
- Many not connect to every checking account
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.
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