We’ve all heard the phrase “let your money work for you.” It sure sounds nice, but sometimes it seems like your money could use all the help it can get. Luckily, there are a slew of personal finance apps and services that make managing finances and saving money easier than ever. In no particular order, some highlights:
Mint.com. Perhaps the best-known online personal finance service, Mint.com has a lot to recommend it. As one of the oldest (founded in 2006) and most well-established names in the game, Mint.com has had a lot of time to tweak its formula to maximize value for users. Mint is a one-stop shop for managing your personal budget. The idea is simple: between car payments, mortgage/rent, savings, investments, insurance, and oh yeah, buying some food once in a while, it can be really hard to keep track of how much needs to go where, and when. Mint pools together all of your bills and expenses and helps you make a universal budget, all easily accessible from your laptop or smartphone.
SavedPlus. A new player in the personal finance game, SavedPlus knows that wanting to save money is easy, but that actually deciding to set money aside every day can be tricky. Their innovative app allows you to customize savings goals quickly and easily, and then links your checking account to your savings account and automatically transfers a percentage of expenditures every time you spend. For example, if you set SavedPlus to 5% automatic savings, every time you spend $20 from your checking account, SavedPlus transfers a dollar to your savings. It may not seem like much, but that’s the idea: by automatically putting away a little bit every time you spend, SavedPlus helps you painlessly save money without having to think about it. It’s also a great way to save with a specific goal in mind: $300 for that weekend getaway, $60 for those concert tickets, or $200 for Christmas presents—little by little, you build up your savings and before you know it you’ve got just what you need stashed away. Future you will thank you.
Americasaves.org. Speaking of savings, the good people at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America realize that individual savings are good for the country as a whole. Americasaves.org provides advice on how best to save, and what best to save for. Goal specific tips—“How to Save for A Car”—are particularly useful. A great resource for anyone interested in managing their money more smartly and responsibly…which is probably all of us.
DailyWorth. “A community of women who talk money,” DailyWorth is an online community that offers tips from pros, real life examples from other users, and, as their website puts it, “the occasional kick in the pants”—all delivered as a daily newsletter, fresh to your inbox. The website also offers a variety of features handily divided under the categories “Earn,” “Save,” and “Spend”—“Earn” in particular has some great tips on entrepreneurship and how to maximize (and manage) a salary. A great tool for staying informed, comparing stories, exchanging advice, and reminding yourself that your money concerns do not have to be yours alone.
Wisebread. An online financial forum, Wisebread is dedicated to helping you “live large on a small budget.” By focusing on the lighter side of personal finance, the bloggers at Wisebread hope to prove that living frugally doesn’t have to preclude living fabulously. With articles like “30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up” (#21: Invite Friends Over) and “15 Refreshing Ways to Use Mint” (the herb, not the personal finance app), Wisebread offers a refreshing take on money matters that makes everything from choosing the best credit card to getting started as a freelancer feel eminently manageable.
Of course, with all of the great online personal finance tools available today, these five only scratch the surface. What else have you found that works for you?