4 Smart Apps to Help you Budget, Improve Credit and Invest

Published on Author Bethany Sims

From knowing your credit score to investing  – there’s an app for that. Good financial habits can be as simple as checking your smartphone instead of a dreaded hour with an Excel spreadsheet every week. Here are four of our favorite apps to help you set up and manage your budget, improve your credit score and turn extra change into an investment.

1) Mint: Simple Budgeting with Bill Management

Mint is an automated budgeting app that lets you set up a budget, goals and helps you calculate what you should save and spend in different categories. Set goals like purchasing a house and link your checking, credit cards and savings account, to manage everything in one place. Mint provides a good overview of where your money is going and the charts and graphs provide the “at a glance” look that keep you on track. Mint also lets you check your credit score, track and pay bills, and is free to use.

2) You Need A Budget: The All-Around Budgeting App

More of a partner than an app, this robust tool helps you balance your budget by giving every dollar a job. There are step by step guides to learn about finances and online classes with a live instructor to learn budgeting basics. YNAB has an annual $50 fee, but you can try it free for 34 days. If you are a student, get it free for one year and a 10% discount after the first year.  For those who want to get serious about budgeting, this is a good app for you.

3) NerdWallet: Know Your Credit Score

Your credit score is like your GPA for personal finance and it’s almost always a major factor when your interest rate is calculated. In addition to checking your score, you also get access to the resources you need to help raise your score. Checking your credit is free and won’t affect your score – as a bonus NerdWallet uses TransUnion which is the credit score we use when you refinance with us. The app is free and great for those looking to improve and understand their credit score.

4) Acorns: For Easy Saving and Investing

The modern day version of the change jar, Acorns helps put those extra coins to good use. For those new to investing and looking to ease in, Acorns is an app that rounds up your charges, to any linked card on the account, to the nearest $1 and puts the difference in a portfolio of exchange-traded funds. The minimum to start investing is $5  but keep in mind any money you earn is taxable.  Acorns also partners with brands to give you 10% cashback when you shop. If you are a student, the app is free and if you aren’t a student, it’s only $1 per month. Once you reach $5,000 the fee changes to 0.25% of the account balance per year.

These are great tools to help you get organized and learn how to be smart with your money. But apps can only go so far in helping you save. Money is personal, different for everyone and it all comes down to you – what are your goals and how do you make your money and situation work for you. Whether you are saving for a house or focused on paying off debt, these tools are here to help you reach your goals and get into better financial habits.

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