Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5 free apps that will help you hack your finances

Saving money is difficult. There’s no other way to put it. Even people who live well within their means can never seem to save as much money as they’d like, and that’s before unplanned expenses enter the picture and throw us for a loop. For all the things we’re taught beginning at a young age in school, there’s never enough emphasis put on managing one’s finances, and what seem like small mistakes made at a young age and impact people’s lives years or even decades down the road.

Whether you’re young or old and whether you make $10,000 a year or $1,000,000 a year, there are always things you can do to save more money.

Welcome to Hack Your Finances, a new series on ways to improve your financial situation that are as painless as possible. In this new series of articles, we’ll discuss various tools that are available online and offline to help you save money. We’ll also discuss some simple life hacks that don’t involve any apps or websites at all — like this simple hack that forces you to save money — as well as ways to help ensure that you’re making the best possible decisions with your hard-earned cash.

To start things off, we’re going to take a quick look at five different free apps that will help you manage your money, save your money, and put your money to work for you. There are hundreds upon hundreds of tools out there, but we’ll start with five that span a wide range of functionality, from monitoring your money and investing, to saving money on regular purchases you make every day.

We’ll mention some of these apps again in future articles and dive a bit deeper into how to make them work for you. In the meantime, all five of these apps are free and should be installed on your iPhone or Android smartphone as soon as possible.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to use an app like Mint.

Owned by Intuit, Mint is a fantastic free app that helps you manage your finances. After linking all of your checking, savings, investment, loan and credit card accounts, it offers an online and app-based dashboard that gives you a snapshot of your finances.

Mint also serves as a portal into all of your accounts. So for example, you can see all of your credit card and debit card purchases in one stream, and you can categorize them as you see fit. Categorizing them is key because Mint also includes fantastic budgeting tools and alerts as you approach your predetermined budgets each month.

If you download only one app mentioned in this article, it should be Mint. The first step to improving your finances is getting a firm grip on your situation.

Download Mint for iOS

Download Mint for Android

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