7 Financial Tools to Help You Reach Your Money Goals
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I am obsessed with managing my money. I make sure to spend 5-10 minutes in the morning to review my accounts and see if there is anything that I need to adjust or maybe don’t buy that shirt or home decor item that I was eyeing. It’s really important that you know where you are financially at least weekly. There was one time that I tried helping someone with his personal finance, and he started crying. This was me in my early twenties when i was avoiding the bill collectors, overdraft fees, and being honest about my finances. It sucks but it’s better to be proactive than reactive. It’s easier than ever with all the personal finance apps and tools that there are out there. I have downloaded a bunch and tested them out from time-to-time. These are the ones that I use on a day-to-day basis and I have been using for awhile.
Mint is the main tool that I use to check my finances daily. I am able to see all of my accounts, including my checkings, savings, investment, credit card debt, and loans. Additionally, I can also the estimates for my home, automobiles, as well as other items. The best feature is the budget. You can budget the current month and break them out by budget category. When Mint imports in your latest transactions, they will be automatically allocated into these budget categories. If a few are missed, you can update them manually. Usually Mint will learn your selections. The nerd in me thinks that Mint is using machine learning to be so smart, and that is great.
The other great thing is that you can create goals and Mint will help you figure out what you need to pay in order to make your goal by a certain date.
I am currently part of a MBA program with a focus on Information Security. In the current class that I’m in, I had to do a paper with a group on a company with a big data breach, and if they handled it correctly. During this, it has made me realize that it’s even more important to monitor what is on your credit report so you can be proactive in case you find something erroneous. It will also help know what is lowering your credit score so you can try to find ways to improve it.
Saving money can be hard so if you can find a way to save a little here or there, you should do it. Digit can help with that. It monitors your bank accounts, and it will take a coin or a dollar so you can save without giving it a thought. You can get a 30-day trial to see if you like it or not. If you do, then it’s $2.99 a month after that. Start saving fora money goal or two.
This works similar to Digit, but it’s more for investing and retirement. A scary number just came out this month that a quarter of Americans have no retirement. Acorns can help with that. You can select to contribute a certain dollar amount every week and/or have money come out here or there. It even provides stats on how much the money you are investing will be when you retire, and it has a slider so you can select your desired age.
Emma is a great personal finance app. It does analysis on the financial accounts (e.g. checkings, savings, credit card, etc.) and will give you notifications on budget categories. The best part is that it does a great job doing analysis on your portfolio.
EveryDollar was created by Dave Ramsey. It helps you create a budget for different months, and you can also see how your debt snowball is decreasing. I use this when I have Mint is because Mint only allows you to budget for the current month. EveryDollar allows you to budget for future ones. This can be helpful cause not every month’s budget is exactly the same.
Read my blog post on SmartyPig and how I use it. I have saved so much money for goals using SmartyPig. There is no phone app, but it doesn’t matter because reaching your money goals makes it ok to just use the web site.