These Super Helpful Money Tools Will Never Judge You By Your Finances
No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.
I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.
Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.
But just help me; don’t chastise me.
That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps — that’ll help you get your money in order.
And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgment.
And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.
1. Take a Deep Breath, and Check Your Credit Score
One of the judgiest parts of personal finance comes with that three-digit numeral.
It’s called a credit score, and the mere mention of it might send you spiraling back to high school when your worth was measured on a 4.0 scale. But with a credit score, it’s different. You can actually make large strides to improve it — without having to become the teacher’s pet.
Credit Sesame can help you get there. It will provide you a free credit report card — including your credit score. It breaks your score down and grades different aspects of your credit profile.
But don’t worry. If you see a big fat “D” or “F,” Credit Sesame gives you personalized reasoning and recommendations on how to improve your grade.
The whole platform is intuitive (and easier to read than your teacher’s handwritten comments). Kenneth Bain followed Credit Sesame’s recommendations and increased his score by more than 200 points.
No extra credit required.
2. Get a Little Personal… Loan
If you have debt, you definitely aren’t in the mood for criticism.
But you’ll need to open up, just a little bit, if you want to consider some options — like refinancing or consolidating — to help you pay that sum down faster.
Don’t worry. Find the right personal loan to meet your needs with Even Financial.
To sign up for this consumer financial technology platform, complete three simple steps. Then Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer. Even’s platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
3. Start Saving While This App Holds Your Hand
Not to be a total pessimist here, but many of us aren’t the savviest of savers. We’re almost convinced this is just part of the human condition — that maybe we’re born with it.
We’ve got good news, though. Some simple tricks can help you gradually build a stash of cash.
That’s where micro-savings apps come into the picture — like Stash.
With its Smart-Save feature, Stash users can automatically tuck money into an emergency fund (or a vacation reserve) without thinking.
Let us walk you through how it works:
- Sign up for Stash in about two minutes, tops. Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus just for opening your account!
- Connect your checking account to the app.
- Smart-Save does the rest, analyzing your available funds, spending and income to calculate exactly how much you can afford to save.
- Watch the automated savings build.
If you’re tight on money one week, you can easily turn off the automated feature. Or if you need to tap into your savings, you can withdraw at any time.
Plus, it’s nice knowing Stash will never cause you to spin into overdraft. If your balance is low, Smart-Save won’t initiate a transfer.
Sneak a peek at Stash’s Smart-Save feature — then try to say that five times fast…
Please note, the Smart-Save feature is not a savings account offered by a bank. Smart-Save is a feature that may be turned on and connected to the checking account that is linked to your Stash Invest account.
4. Set (Gentle) Spending Notifications
Not being judged is great and all, but sometimes when spending gets out of hand, you need a little slap of the wrist. A gentle one. A tap, really.
That’s where my buddy Trim can help you. Trim is a personal-finance bot that automates a number of tasks for you — including personalized account alerts.
Set Trim to notify you when you’re charged an overdraft or late fee. You can also set it up to let you know when you’ve just completed a large transaction or when it’s payday! Yay!
Set other reminders about upcoming bills including, rent, cable or water.
Then, Trim sends you a text or Facebook Message with reminders.
Bonus: It scavenges your subscriptions for you, so that gym membership you haven’t used in years? Trim’s not judging you. In fact, it’ll just cancel it for you.
5. Let This App Guide Your Savings Plan
Siphoning a chunk of your paycheck into a seperate savings account isn’t the easiest personal finance move, especially if you’re already crunched on funds. Plus, unexpected expenses always pop up; it never fails.
This is where setting your savings to autopilot can save you — and your money.
Lots of apps on the market allow you to create a set-it-and-forget-it savings plan. One we can recommend is Rize.
Rize is a pay-what-you-want, 256-bit-encrypted (bank-level security) web app that’ll help get your savings on track. You’ll create a goal and set a deadline. Goals and deadlines always help kick your booty in gear, right?
These could be short-term goals, like saving for a weekend road trip or meeting your monthly student loan payment. You’ll even earn 1.16% interest on your balance. (For some context, that’s 19 times higher than the national average for savings accounts.)
If you have a longer-term goal, have Rize invest the money for you and help you maximize returns. It asks you contribute at least $2 a month for that service and will take a 0.25% fee of assets invested (comparatively low for investor fees).
Like with any savings plan, you might need time to figure out what you realistically set aside, but you can easily tweak your settings in Rize.
Plus, Rize has some fun automated features like “accelerate,” which automatically increases your savings by 1% each month, or “boost,” which triggers Rize to squirrel away money when it makes the most sense.
6. Balance Your 401(k) Without Sass
If you have a 401(k), you’re already on the right financial track — so go, you! If you haven’t looked at it — or even know what to do with it — that’s OK, too.
The world of 401(k)s is a tricky one, but there are robo-advisors out there that’ll help you and prevent you from having to read a textbook-worth of investing definitions.
Warning: This part might make you feel a little judged. Blooom uses a flower to represent your 401(k).
For example, it told me I had the wrong mix of stocks and bonds, and that I could have better diversification. So my account flower was wilted.
But the best part about flowers is they, well, “Blooom.” I opted in for the $10-per-month service, and now Blooom lets me know when it’s optimized my retirement savings.
I feel good about my future — and not so judged.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.