Whether you’re trying to build an investment portfolio or save money for a down payment, there are likely ways you could improve your finances. Thankfully, there are ways you can do so without adding more stress to your life. Yes, we’re talking about apps.
We live in a time where technology is our best friend. Not only can it tell us where the closest Starbucks is, but it can help us manage our money. Whether it’s an app that rewards us for online shopping or one that calculates how much we should be saving, it’s worth downloading.
In this article, we highlight the types of apps you should consider using and why:
1. Money-Saving Apps
Saving money isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Thankfully, some apps can do the work for you, so you don’t have to spend time stressing.
For instance, some money-saving apps are designed for online shoppers. Raise your hand if you’re one of them. These apps work by giving you points for shopping that can be redeemed for online purchases. Another popular app is Honey, which scans the internet for the best coupon codes and applies them automatically.
There are also banking apps that offer specific features to automate the savings process, like “round-up” savings. Once you get a debit card, every purchase you make is automatically rounded to the nearest dollar. That difference is then moved from your checking into your savings account.
You could also opt for an app that helps you save by setting goals. Let’s say your objective is to save a down payment on a house. If that’s the case, you might decide to transfer $100 a month to your savings account to reach that goal. With these types of apps, you can have that amount deposited each month automatically without a second thought.
There are also apps available that evaluate your income and spending habits to calculate what you can realistically save each month. Once that figure is determined, these apps will automatically transfer it into your savings account.
2. Credit Monitoring Apps
According to Experian, about 16% of Americans have what’s considered “poor” credit (a score between 300 and 579). Another 17% have merely “fair” credit (a score between 580 and 669). Consumers in these categories are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing financial services on favorable terms. If your score is poor or fair, an app can help you get back on track.
Mint, for example, is a well-known personal finance app in the market. And while it offers various tools to help improve your budgeting, its credit monitoring feature is hard to beat. What makes the app distinctive is you don’t have to link your credit card to the app. Simply verify your identity, and the app immediately pulls your credit information, including your report and current score.
The best credit monitoring apps turn your report into something easily understandable by breaking it down into a summary. They teach you how your score is calculated and advise you on ways to improve it.
In addition to monitoring your credit information in real-time, some apps offer a feature called the credit score simulator. This lets you see how your financial decisions could potentially impact your score before you make a move. This feature can come in handy as you try to improve your credit score.
3. Investment Apps
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been investing for years, you should consider integrating an app into your strategy. Not only do apps offer educational resources to help you invest better, but they help you invest in real-time.
Invstr is a fantasy game where you are given $1 million in pretend money. With this money, you can play virtual stock trading games and “invest.” Invstr also gives you access to real-life investors, who can answer your questions and help guide you through investing. You can also join a community within the app with fellow gamers.
Lest you think it’s all fun and games, the app does let you deal with real money … eventually. Individuals who perform the best every month win actual money, which they can invest however they want.
Chances are, if you work with a financial advisory firm, they have an app to help clients learn and make the best investment decisions possible. Downloading your company’s app means you’ll receive real-time quotes. You’ll also be able to check the status of your trades regardless of where you are.
There are also apps, like Stockpile, that let you give stock to another person. These gift cards have a fixed value and can be purchased in amounts from $1 to $2,000. The recipient can use the card to buy regular shares or even fractional shares. Regardless of how much money you give, these cards are a great way to introduce new investors to the world of stock trading.
Improving your financial well-being doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. However, it won’t happen unless you do something about it. The good news is that you can download an app — or several — that will assist you in reaching your goals. Whether you hope to save more money or become a better investor, let the apps discussed above help you improve your finances.