Not Exactly Warren Buffett? 7 Apps Even You Can Use to Manage Your Money

A hand is pictured using Ibotta to search through deals.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
Honest Abe

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Are you baffled by phrases like “401(k) rollover” and “debt-to-income ratio?”

Do your eyes glaze over when it comes to budgeting?

You’re definitely not alone.

No one is born clutching a glossary of financial terminology, so there’s no reason to feel weird when you’re mystified by the nuances of money management.

Fortunately, if you’ve got a smartphone, you practically have a financial planner in your pocket.

7 Apps That Help You Manage Your Money Like a Pro

You could always take a class on personal finance to learn ways to wrangle your money wisely, but who’s got time for that?

Instead, download these money management apps and let them do the heavy lifting for you:

1. Acorns: Invest Your Spare Change

For a retirement plan that basically runs itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small — with $5 — and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate that would allow her to stash $420 away per year.

The app is $1 a month for balances under $5,000, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

2. MoneyLion: King of the Financial Jungle

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion is an all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

Basically, it offers the financial services you’d typically get from three or four different banks or providers, and they’re all bundled into one place.

Simply connect MoneyLion to your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. The app analyzes your income and spending patterns to offer advice on where you can save money, improve your credit and reduce your debt.

MoneyLion also offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits.

The rewards program gives you points for taking actions like paying your bills on time or signing up for credit monitoring, then you can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Walmart, Apple and Amazon.

3. Ibotta: Get Rewarded When You Shop

Even the most dedicated Penny Hoarder has to spend money sometimes, even if it’s just for groceries or supplies for around the house.

Ibotta is a free, easy-to-use app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers to earn you cash back on items you buy in three simple steps.

  1. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app.
  2. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.
  3. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

The cash-back money is automatically applied to your account. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

4. Paribus: Earn Money Back in Your Inbox

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you serious money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund anytime there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping.

5. Trim: Your Virtual Financial Assistant

An integral part of managing your money is budgeting. Ew, gross. We know. But it’s important to take a good look at what you’re spending and understand where you can cut back.

An easy way to automate this process is to use Trim, a little bot that’ll keep track of all your transactions.

Connect your checking account, credit card and savings account for a big-picture look at your spending habits. Then, take a closer look by checking out each of your transactions. Set alerts that’ll let you know when bills are due, when you’ve hit a spending cap or when you’ve (hopefully not) overdrafted.

Best part? It’s free to sign up.

6. Lemonade: Cover Your Assets

When you’ve scrimped and saved to treat yourself to luxurious bed sheets or simply bought your first nice mattress since moving out on your own, you want to protect your investment.

That’s why it’s important to consider renters or homeowners insurance, which, depending on coverage, can protect your belongings against damage and theft.

If you’ve never looked into it, start by getting a free quote. We recommend the online insurance company Lemonade, through which renters insurance starts at $5 a month and homeowners insurance starts at $25 a month.

Beyond affordable rates, Lemonade adds a layer of transparency you don’t often see in the insurance world. Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims. Money left over after paying claims each year goes to a cause of your choice.

That also means Lemonade isn’t going to be super stingy about granting customers the claims they deserve — ’cause the money isn’t going into its pockets.

Lemonade is available in California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

OK, so now that you know Lemonade has your back, here’s how to get a free quote. It’s easy — and you can do it all online. (Nope, it won’t hurt your credit score!)

  1. Click “Check Our Prices.”
  2. Get to know Maya, Lemonade’s chatbot. She’s nice and will ask you a few questions.
  3. Once you complete the application, you’ll receive a quote within a minute or two.

It’s easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Plus, at the end of the day, you’ll feel better knowing your hard-earned belongings are insured. After all, when life hands you lemons… (OK, we’re done.)

7. Upstart: Simplify Your Debt

Have you ever considered consolidating your debt? It could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness.

It can help you borrow up to $50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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