These 8 iPhone Apps Can Help You Take Control of Your Money
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Sometimes we wonder how people managed their money way back when…
You had to put pen to paper to draw up a budget? You had to actually walk into a bank to get a loan? Or read a newspaper to keep tabs on your stocks?
And you couldn’t automatically save money; you had to intentionally deposit $50 into your savings each week?
Count us out.
OK, we’re being a bit flippant here, but in reality iPhones and their apps have made managing money incredibly simple.
“People are finding that the apps take away the pain and mystique of dealing with our finances and replace it with processes that are as easy as buying a shirt online or swiping right on Bumble,” Fast Future Publishing founder and CEO Rohit Talwar writes in an email.
The Best iPhone Apps for Money Management
If personal finances intimidate you, we get it. But financial apps can really help make managing money simple.
Talwar says these tools are breaking down the barriers of complicated financial jargon and are making it easier than ever for folks to make smart financial moves.
So, iPhone users, open the App Store and start downloading these recommended apps.
1. Credit Sesame: Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score
It’s easy to push your credit score to the back of your mind.
After all, how do you even check it? What’s it really matter? But then you go to take out a mortgage, buy a car or apply for a rewards credit card… shoot.
Take care of your financial health by keeping tabs on your credit score. One of our favorite free credit-monitoring tools is Credit Sesame.
You can sign up online or through its app, and you’ll gain access to your credit score as well as your credit report card. It’ll also offer tips on how to increase your score for when it matters.
Take Jerry Morgan, for example. He and his family have had a difficult 10 years financially.
When Morgan signed up for Credit Sesame back in September 2017, his score was at about 500. In six months, he was able to increase his score 120 points — thanks, in part, to the platform’s recommendations.
Keep your credit score in your back pocket by downloading the Credit Sesame app.
2. Truebill: Negotiate Your Bills
On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?
Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)
Download Truebill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.
After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. Truebill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.
On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.
The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.
Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.
3. WinWin: Save Money
Picture this: It’s payday, and you immediately head to the bank to cash your check and move $50 of it over to a separate savings account.
OK, if you have a lot of willpower, maybe this was the case, but saving money proves difficult. So why not turn it into a bit of a game? Try using an app called WinWin.
First, download the app, and WinWin will walk you through how it all works. Here’s the gist: You’ll automate your savings, plus play games for chances to win more money to boost your savings.
You can earn instant prizes by playing the daily games (think: classics like pinball and breakout). The more often you play, the more chances you have to win daily prizes — which include free plays (i.e. another chance to win) and cash prizes between 10 cents and $5 that go into your WinWin savings account.
So you’re saving money — and playing for a chance to win even more. Fun, right?
The app is free to download and costs $2 a month after that.
4. Acorns: Invest in Stocks
Honestly, old-school investing just conjures images of Wall Street trading room chaos, so we’ll stop while we’re ahead.
Investing isn’t nearly as intimidating nowadays with microinvesting apps. Yes — these apps allow you to invest in smaller groupings of stocks, called exchange-traded funds.
Acorns is a stellar example. Download the app, and turn on the round-up mode. Each time you make a purchase with a connected debt or credit card, it’ll round your total up to the nearest dollar. Once your round-ups hit $5, Acorns will invest the spare change for you.
Jeremy Kolodziej, for example, uses the app as a way to help him save. In less than two years, he’s managed to save $2,087 — without thinking.
“So many people use plastic and debit cards,” he explains. “Not a lot of people carry cash, where you can have a coin jar at home. It’s a virtual coin jar. You don’t even think about it.”
The app is free to download, then you’ll pay $1 a month for balances under $1 million. If you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll bank a $5 bonus to give you a boost.
5. Varo Money: Put Your Savings to Work
Varo Money has combined traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy. Its big selling points include:
- All-in-one: In addition to a bank account, you can open a Varo Savings Account, earning 1.25% Annual Percentage Yield — nearly 20 times the average savings account.
- No fees: With Varo, as long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees. Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay out-of-network ATM fees and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.
- Early access to your paycheck: Get paid up to two days before your check is typically posted when you set up direct deposit with Varo.
- Varo Forecast: Varo keeps tabs on how much you spend across all your accounts so you can better analyze and project your cash flow. It also allows you to set spending caps.
To sign up for Varo, you’ll have to download its free iOS app.
6. Stash: Invest in Real Estate
We’re familiar with the old-school way of investing in real estate — buy a house, apartment, duplex, warehouse, land, whatever it is. But that calls for a big chunk of change and commitment.
If you don’t have that kind of time or money, you may want to look into real estate investment trusts (REITs). These are funds pooled together from thousands of investors to invest in one property, like a mutual fund.
There are several ways you can invest in REITs, but perhaps the easiest is through an app called Stash. You might have heard of it. It helps folks invest and save small amounts of change. It also helps us invest small amounts into real estate.
If you don’t already use Stash, sign up here.
When you invest your first $5, you’ll get another $5 bonus to invest — on us. Now, you’ll have access to all of Stash’s tools, including its real estate investments. The app costs $1 a month.
If you already have Stash, great. Go ahead and explore the REIT feature through your existing account.
Just a friendly reminder: As with any investing, there’s risk, though investing in REITs is less risky than investing in an entire shopping mall on your own.
7. Chime: Bank From Anywhere
We try to avoid using “literally” around here, but you can literally do anything through an app these days — including all of your banking. I mean, can you imagine having to set foot into a bank?!
Chime is a great example of an online-only bank. It offers some unique features that many traditional banks haven’t caught on to yet.
For example, you can do just about everything from its app, which boasts more than 2,000 five-star reviews in the iTunes store. You’ll be able to:
- Open a checking account — which Chime calls a “spending” account. While you’re at it, set up direct deposit. Then, Chime will allow you to get paid up to two days early — as soon as your paycheck is posted. No delay.
- Enroll in Chime’s automated Saving account, where you can automatically squirrel money into a separate, hands-off account.
- Avoid bank fees. We’re talkin’ no overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees.
Last year, we chatted with Samuel Demeny, who opened a spending and savings account with Chime. He switched so he could avoid Well Fargo’s daily spending limits. He’s also been able to save about $800 in nine months with the automatic savings option.
Demeny also loves that he gets his paycheck two days early, which he says helps him budget before the weekend rolls around.
Start managing all your money from your phone by opening a free account with Chime.
8. Google Sheets: Create a Budget
We’re going to be totally honest on this one. We haven’t quite found a budgeting app we’re in love with yet. (Seriously, email us any suggestions. We’re all ears!)
That’s why we’ve largely stuck with the old-school spreadsheet. Gasp. We know, but once you get it set up in Google Drive, download the Google Sheets app (or the less popular Numbers) to keep it mobile.
Start off easy by using it to simply track your income and expenses. Break down your expenses by categories that are most relevant to you: groceries, restaurants, utilities, rent, transportation… It’s all totally customizable. Sum up the categories for a total. Then, subtract your income from your expenses. Bam.
Set a personal goal for how much you want to see leftover each month. You’ll have to play with these a bit, but that’s the joy of the spreadsheet: You can adjust it whenever you want.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to know: Which iPhone apps do you use to manager your money? Shoot her an email, and let her know!