This Free App Analyzes Your Spending and Tells You Where You’re Screwing Up
It’s happened to the very best of us.
In fact, I even have a name for it: The “Monday Morning Face-the-Music Moment.” (Hey, I didn’t say it was super catchy. We’re talking about Mondays, after all.)
You know exactly the moment I mean.
And it’s not the startled response to the alarm clock going off for the first time in two days… although that sucks, too.
It’s when you sit down, grit your teeth and check your bank account, forcing yourself to once again reckon with the financial consequences of your weekend choices.
It all seemed like such a good idea at the time. But on Monday morning, Saturday night has rapidly-diminishing returns.
Those margaritas cost how much? And you had how many? They weren’t even that good!
And the pain of your bleeding wallet is only doubled when you once again face that undeniable fact. (And by “you,” I mean “I”).
I kind of suck at money.
Still. Even though I’m almost 30. Even though I’m a personal finance writer.
Money Management is Really Hard, But This App Can Help
No, we’re not personal finance geniuses. I mean, it’s not exactly focused on in American schools.
But we don’t have much of an excuse anymore. This app is going to help us get our financial (stuff) together and learn better money habits.
In fact, it uses the same technology you’re probably already using to perform that fateful Monday morning audit in the first place. (*Shudder.*)
Clarity Money is a free iOS app that helps you see, organize, and control your finances.
The way it works is simple. You just download the app, connect your existing accounts, and get ready to learn more about where your money’s disappearing to… and how to keep more of it, instead.
Clarity analyzes and uses your spending history to provide budgetary insights. It’ll show you exactly how much you spend in different categories, like bars and restaurants, as a percentage of your total expenses.
Clarity (Gently) Teaches You How to Do Money Better
But it’s not just a recap of your weekend spending with pretty graphics.
It also gives you the tools and information you need to start making better financial choices. And they’re all super-easy to use, and accessible right inside the app.
For example, Clarity will show you a list of your monthly recurring charges, and does the math to show you exactly how much each costs you over the course of a year.
Then, it offers you a single-tap way to cancel that long-foregone gym membership or the magazine subscription piling up on your end table.
The App Will Even Negotiate Your Bills For You
Clarity also takes advantage of discounts you might not know you’re eligible for to help you negotiate existing bills for stuff like cable… without going through the headache of calling customer service yourself.
(As an ex-Comcast customer, I know from experience how those phone calls might inspire you to buy enough alcohol to offset your savings, anyhow.)
If Clarity successfully negotiates a bill for you, it charges you 33% of that savings -- but only once, and only after those savings have gone into effect.
You can also take advantage of a totally-free, FDIC-insured Clarity savings account to help you reach your financial goals and crush them.
The app automatically socks away the amount you set, from the account you choose, with whatever regular frequency works best for your situation (for example, $10 from your checking account every Tuesday or every 17th of the month).
You can designate a specific purpose for the savings or simply use it to (finally) start your emergency fund. Pause or withdraw whenever you see fit; you’ll see the money back in the account it originally came from within three to five business days.
Basically, it’s like having a financial advisor in your pocket telling you how much you can actually afford to spend on brunch this weekend -- all while silently slipping spare change into your piggy bank before you have the chance to blow it.
… And suggesting 0% interest credit cards and other financial goodies leagues better than the ones you’ve stumbled upon yourself.
… And granting you free access to your credit score.
… And who does it all for free.
How to Use Clarity Money to Learn Better Money Habits
If you’re eager to avoid the Monday morning blues, it’s easy to get started with Clarity.
Even if you decide it’s not for you, you have nothing to lose: It’s totally free and secured with firewalls, VPN technology and 256-bit encryption. You can also close your account at any time.
Just download the app and start connecting your financial information. The system is pretty user-friendly, and the support team is available via the in-app chat feature should you encounter any problems.
Unfortunately, Clarity is only available in the U.S. and for Apple devices. An Android version should be available mid-2017, per its website. (A waitlist is available if you want to be first in the know.)
So go ahead, say it with me:
I kind of suck at money. And that’s totally OK.
Your Turn: What financial goals are you slowly sabotaging each weekend?
Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a freelance writer who is bad at money. Her work has been featured at Ms. Magazine, BUST, Roads & Kingdoms, The Write Life, Nashville Review, Word Riot and elsewhere.