The Best Personal Finance Apps

Managing money is one of those things no one really wants to do, but absolutely has to. While mobile apps haven’t made it fun (yet?), they sure have made keeping an eye on your bank account and budgeting a lot easier. From up-to-the-minute info on how often you’ve been whipping out your debit card, to whether or not you have enough saved to go to your boy’s 30th birthday throw-down in Cancun, to formulating easy-to-handle budgets, apps have redefined how we’re managing our personal finance. Here are the best personal finance apps to help you stay in the black.

Digit (Free)
Digit is a fairly new kid on the personal finance block—it’s only been around about a year or so—but it’s going to revolutionize the way you save money. When you sign up for it and link it to your bank account, it analyzes the activity and transfers varying small amounts all on its own to a savings account almost every day. It will never withdraw enough for you to catch an overdraft fee, though. So, it eliminates two hassles that can stop people from saving money: it sets aside the cash for you, and there’s no need to open new accounts. You won’t get any interest on the saved amount because that’s how they make their money, but you can transfer the amount back to your checking account at anytime.

Level Money (Free)
Budgeting meticulously is one of the best ways to stay on top of your finances, and also one of the biggest pains in the ass. But thankfully, that’s what Level Money aims to help you do. Once it’s linked to your bank account, it calculates your income and bills and uses your saving preferences to give suggestions on how much you should spend daily, weekly and monthly. You’ll love its simple interface, so if you’re not into the minutiae of knowing that you spend $325.62 a month on coffee (so many lattes!) and $574.45 a month on fuel (see Mint below if this is your thing), but just want to know the final tally of our expenses, it’s for you. For folks who don’t work traditional jobs or who work for themselves and can have income that varies month to month shouldn’t feel left out; the app looks at your complete banking history to get the big picture of your money matters.

Mint (Free)
Maybe you’re saving for the big picture, like a home purchase or a wedding, and want to get hardcore and take a deeper look at your financial life. Then, Mint is definitely the app you need to download immediately. You can link bank accounts, loans, retirement accounts, and credit cards to your Mint account, and it creates your very own personal finance hub. It will keep track of payment due dates and your spending habits and will also categorize your expenses down to the details, so you’ll know how much of your income goes to eating out, gas, and more. You can even set monthly budgets for yourself or set up a specific savings goal for everything from those life-changing investments to something as simple as a vacation.

YNAB - You Need A Budget ($5/month or $50/year)
This is the app for anyone who really, really struggles with staying on track with financial management. It’s so serious that it abides by four “rules” to help you kick your own ass into better financial shape: (1) Give Every Dollar a Job, which tells you exactly what you can spend on items like food and clothes (2) Embrace Your True Expenses, which guides you through expenses that pop up every once in awhile, like birthday presents and holidays (3) Roll With the Punches, which helps you figure out how to recover from going over budget, and (4) Age Your Money, which shows you how to get a month ahead of your expenses so you can relax a little.

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