The first step to financial health is getting informed about how you are spending your money, everything else comes next.
An FKD Feature exclusive

Not many people jump for joy at the idea of tracking their spending and financial accounts because of the time commitment involved.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and apps to save money out there to make things easier.

You need to know what else is going on with your money, like where it’s going and how much is coming in, because knowing that data can help you save money and identify potential spots to improve.

Here are three apps and tools you can use to save money starting today.

1. Mint and Personal Capital

Mint has been around a little while now and was already profiled by GenFKD. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint, but it was made with investors in mind as you can track the performance of your portfolio within the app.

Both are available for free on your PC, Android, or iPhone, making them the most widely available tools you can use to budget and track your spending.

They both give you an excellent overview of your financial transactions so you can identify your weaknesses and strengths. You can set up “budgets” (or limits) for each spending category, and you’ll receive a warning when you’re nearing your limit. They’ll also email you a weekly summary of your activity so you’re kept in the loop.

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Mint and Personal Capital provide a great, no-hassle way to check into your financial accounts because you link all of your accounts to the app. It’s a one-stop shop for your money; you only have to remember one login. This is a great solution for those who have too many accounts to monitor.

2. Digit

Digit is an amazing tool that takes automating your savings to the next level. Its tagline is “Save money, without thinking about it.” What’s not to like there? Oh, and it’s free, too!

So how is this different from setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings? Well, when you set that up, you’re telling your bank to transfer a flat amount – $20, $50, $100, etc.

Digit is different in that it analyzes your spending patterns, figures out how much money you can spare to save, and then transfers that amount out of your checking account and into a Digit savings account. This happens every few days, and it promises to never overdraft your account.

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Even personal finance experts who love to save use this app – it makes that much of a difference. If you find yourself wanting to ramp up your savings, give Digit a try on top of your automated savings. There’s an iPhone app, but you can sign up for an account online and use text-based commands like “withdraw” and “save” if you have an Android.

3. You Need a Budget

If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is the best place to look. This budgeting software is good to try if you’re serious about getting on the right track with your finances, or have tried free solutions and found yourself wanting more.

"It encourages you to give your money purpose ... "

The core principles of the software (and company) revolve around giving you more financial clarity. It encourages you to give your money purpose, and it’s forgiving when it comes to over-spending. YNAB helps you create a budget that will reward you rather than punish you.

It imports your financial accounts so transactions are updated automatically and also offers personal finance classes and educational resources.

The service costs $5 per month, or $50 per year. However, YNAB notes that the average customer saves more than $3,300 after the first nine months of use. Plus, if you’re a college student, you get it for free. There’s a free 34-day trial in case you’re not sure if it’s worth the investment.

It’s available on iOS, Android, and online.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start

A lot of people have been turned off from saving and money management in general because it seems like too much work. That’s a shame. There are so many different apps, tools, and software you can use to make it easier on yourself.

The first step to financial health is getting informed about how you are spending your money, everything else comes next. Neglecting your finances could mean missing out on thousands of dollars in savings – savings that you could put toward travel, a house, or a car.

 

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Posted 05.03.2016 - 04:34 pm EDT