Personal finance is a discipline where art meets science. Healthy balance sheets rely on creativity, forethought, and strategic planning. More so than spreadsheets and personal accountants, it’s mobile apps that have tremendous potential for shaping consumer behavior.
With one simple device, you can check your credit health, research financial best practices, and negotiate with car dealerships for your next vehicle. You can budget when you’re waiting for your doctor’s appointment, killing time on your lunch break, or commuting to work on the train.
When it comes to money management, consumers have never been more empowered with the resources and tools that they need to succeed. Here are 10 mobile apps that are leading the charge.
LearnVest helps consumers take control of their money to live more fulfilling lives. To that end, the company has built a set of tools that helps consumers plan for the long-term.
The app comes with a 15-minute call with a LearnVest expert, the ability to connect all financial accounts, a goal-setting platform that monitors cash flow, and access to tutorials from money management experts and fellow-consumers. All consumer data is anonymous, and the app is backed with bank-level security.
With a five-star rating across more than 5,000 reviews from iPhone users, the CreditKarma apps connects consumers with truly free credit scores. The mobile app comes with on-the-go credit monitoring, notifications when changes occur to your credit report, and a credit report card that explains the reason behind your score.
The platform also connects consumers with financial education resources to help empower informed decision-making.
This app simplifies the painful process of managing household expenses. You can think of the app as a digital file cabinet where it’s possible to safely store digital documents, write notes, and snap photos of important documents.
The app provides functionality to help consumers connect with providers — in one place. You can click to call your utility company or quickly look up company Twitter handles, organize paperless bills, back-up your documents, or store copies of files in the cloud. The bottom line is that you’ll live more efficiently.
4. Mortgage Calculator (Zillow)
If you’re shopping for a home, you need to understand the ins and outs of your financing options — and especially for first time buyers, that process is both time consuming and daunting.
Zillow’s app simplifies the financing process by providing access to real-time rates and straightforward mortgage calculators. Users can understand their affordability, analyze historical trends, read lender reviews, and access promotional offers from lenders.
5. Lemon Wallet
Imagine what would happen if you lost your wallet — ’overwhelming’ does not even begin to describe the experience. Lemon Wallet helps consumers create digital backups of their most important cards.
Store your ID, credit cards, loyalty cards, and business cards — virtually everything in your wallet. Lemon Wallet stores user information in a cloud environment, so you’ll be able to access your wallet from any device.
Mint.com is one of the most widely used and reputable money-management platforms on the market. The idea is simple — manage the moving parts of your financial picture from one place. To that end, the app can help you track your checking accounts, monitor bill payments, and track your budget.
Mint will automatically pull information from your various accounts, so there’s no reason to go through a painful, manual process. Mint will help you create customized budgets based on your actual spending activity.
This app helps consumers take control of their bills. Track due dates, amounts due, automatic payments, and confirmation numbers. A reminder system ensures that missed payments become a habit of the past.
The app also tracks complete payment histories, so that you’ll have all the data you need in one easy-to-follow list.
Business travelers are well-aware that the expense report process can feel both time consuming and tedious. Expensify addresses that pain point by automating the process. Sync your app with your credit cards and bank accounts to log transactions as they happen.
Snap photos of receipts, log mileage through your GPS, and create PDFs of reports that you can instantly forward. The app eliminates the need to carry around receipts, track work-related expenses, and monitor mileage — invest your brainpower into your more lucrative ventures.
More than 27 million drivers rely on GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas. Search by zip code and location, or contribute your own review — GasBuddy is robust because it relies on user reported data to find the best prices.
Coverage areas include the United States and Canada.
10. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Cost: $60 & 34-Day Demo
YNAB helps consumers save by teaching for basic rules: give every dollar a job, save for a rainy day, roll with the punches, and live on last month’s income. This platform comes with more than an app — users have access to a suite of free live courses on topics including making your budget work, handling credit cards, and improving cash flow.
There you have it — 10 apps that are making the process of money management more efficient than ever. Mobile apps are an all-in-one personal support system, tracking tool, educational resource, and performance improvement plan. Give your bank account and paycheck a much-needed competitive edge.