With the right apps, your smartphone can become a miniature personal assistant that reminds you of appointments, remembers birthdays, tracks fitness goals, and helps with even more. With the addition of money management apps, it can also become a personal financial advisor that can help set your budget, provide at-a-glance spending info, and offer saving tips.
Like any favorite app, the best money management ones make life easier by streamlining often complicated processes to save time and, in this case, money. Here are some free apps that can help you manage money (although some have in-app purchase options that unlock more advanced functionality).
Spendee exists to help users change the way they spend and save money—by first understanding the ways that they are currently spending and saving money. Its easy-to-use interface lets users track cash, credit, and debit purchases with just a few swipes, and another handy feature displays spending by location or filters by purchase type.
GoodBudget is based on the popular envelope budgeting method in which cash is physically set aside in envelopes dedicated to categories like automotive expenses, entertainment, groceries, etc., to cover monthly spending. Users don’t have to carry actual envelopes of cash to make the system work; it’s “a virtual update on your grandma’s envelope system.” Plus, a sync feature makes it easy to share information with other people who factor into your spending, such as your spouse or children.
Mint integrates directly to users’ bank accounts, then uses that information to create a personalized budget based on past spending. With robust security features, Mint alerts users to unusual charges or changes in spending, and provides customized saving tips that factor in users’ credit scores to paint a big-picture view of overall finances.
Wally allows for easy tracking of personal expenses, just like users would track work-related expenses with expense reports and photocopies of receipts. Wally’s location services function can identify where users are, which saves a step when logging an expense, and it allows users to set up notifications and alerts for when bills are due or savings goals are met.
Penny’s interface and clever in-app banter reads like text messages from a helpful friend who just happens to know all of your financial info. The app provides real-time information and alerts to help users avoid things like overdraft fees and late charges. In addition, Penny automatically categorizes transactions into four simple categories (automotive expenses, food and drink purchases, household expenses, and retail purchases) so users don’t miss any unexpected charges.