Yes, it can be painful to check your bank and credit card statement. Do you know what’s even more painful? Getting slammed by interest charges, overages, and late fees. Not to sound cliché, but there’s an app for that!
Online banking and smartphones have made money management easier than ever before. When it comes to finance, printing money is just about the only thing your smartphone can’t do. Best of all: many of these apps are free! Here are five of my favorite FREE financial apps.
Mint.com – Without a doubt, this is one of the best free budgeting apps out there. Mint.com can sync up all of your bank accounts and credit cards in a cinch. Once the app has access to your accounts, it gives you financial updates in real time. A quick glance at my screen lets me know what I have in my checking account, savings account, and credit card accounts. You can also create budgets, and the app will automatically track your spending for any purchases you make via credit or debit. For example, if you set a $30 budget for eating out, it will track all charges that pertain to “eating out” and keep you aware of your spending in that category.
Another great thing about the Mint.com app? You can choose to have updates sent to your email address. Mint emails me for things like payment due dates, low account balances, interest charges, and more. If you’re not exactly a financial guru, this can be a great tool for keeping yourself on track. The financial advice provided by Mint.com will certainly help you improve your credit score. For the low, low price of free, you might as well download it and get your finances in order.
Venmo – Dealing with friends and finances can get really annoying really fast. Take this common situation for instance: You’re splitting a meal with your best friend. Then the check comes. She says “Oh, I would pay, but I don’t have any cash. I’ll hit you up later.” Let the battle begin. If you both have smartphones, she has no excuse not to pay you back. Venmo is an app that allows you to make payments peer-to-peer. By syncing bank accounts and credit cards with Venmo, you can pay back your friends (and get paid back) with the click of a button. Venmo is free to use. There’s no charge if you pay directly from a bank account. However, take care to avoid paying with credit, since they’ll slam you with a 3% charge for credit-backed payments. Either way, it’s the easiest way to pay back your friends and avoid problems.
Key Ring – If you’re like me and you love saving money and getting free stuff, than chances are, you’ve gathered a lot of different store loyalty cards. I had to upgrade my wallet to a bigger one because it was so overstuffed. Keep track of your money-saving prowess by downloading Key Ring, a fun app that digitizes store loyalty cards, so you no longer have to carry around the plastic version. It’s also great because it allows you to share your cards with family members, since you can all have a digital copy. In addition to allowing you to sign up for new loyalty programs in just seconds, the app offers exclusive and FREE coupons from top retailers. Sounds like it’s worth a quick download.
PageOnce – I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this free app, so I had to check it out for myself. It gives you a high-level overview of your bills, bank account balances, and credit cards. If you want more specific information, you’ll be able to see due dates, transactions, and even pay your bills directly from the app. This sets it apart from other apps of its genre since most apps don’t allow you to actually pay bills. Like Mint.com, PageOnce gives you real-time alerts and reminders about upcoming bills that are due, overage charges, suspicious transactions, and more. It’s another great, free option. If you’re looking for a one-stop page to handle all your finances, this is the one.
Shoeboxed – Another thing that causes my wallet to be jam-packed: receipts. I’m terrible at saving receipts because I have a constant need to purge them from my wallet. Of course, when it comes time that I actually need to return something, I have to cross my fingers and hope the store accepts returns without receipts, or can look up the transaction with my credit card. This will not ever be a problem again. Shoeboxed allows you to effortlessly take photos of your receipts, digitizes them, and stores them. The other awesome benefit of digitizing your receipts? It will make tax season that much easier.
Apps are a great way to get all your accounts organized. Take advantage of one of these free apps today – you won’t regret it!
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