It’s well known that at this point finance is effectively an entire category of mobile apps. In fact, there tend to be multiple apps for just about every conceivable sub-category under the finance umbrella by this point. This makes mobile app stores wonderful resources for those who would like to address their personal finances in a more hands-on fashion. However, it also makes it difficult to differentiate between the good and the bad, or more accurately the helpful and the not so helpful.
One could fill entire books delving into this category in its entirety and sorting the apps by what they can help with, and whether or not they’re effective. To accomplish a similar goal in a more concise space though, here are five apps that cover various functions and can be of significant assistance in your personal finance efforts.
Mint may be the most famous app out there for personal finance, and it’s gained its reputation for a reason – several of them, in fact. Getting the most out of Mint can take some trail and error, or essentially experience, but over time the app can help you to gain a full picture of your finances, including your spending habits, your personalized budgets, paying your bills, and even tracking your credit score. It is, perhaps more than any other app, like having a personal assistant in your pocket to help you comprehensively manage your money.
PayPal has become a multi-faceted system for handling payments in virtually any arena. PayPal Checkout has become an option with countless online merchants; PayPal Mobile is favored with some online gaming payments; Venmo, PayPal’s subsidiary, is a favorite for handling peer-to-peer payments. Additionally, however, the core PayPal service now allows its users to connect debit cards to their accounts, accept direct deposits from clients or even steady employers, and deposit checks directly. Having a PayPal account effectively gives you a more flexible version of a bank through which to manage some of your money.
Acorns is not a particularly hands-on app, but it’s still one that can teach you about some of the basic value of investment if you’re just getting started managing your own finances, or you’re just getting into investing. It basically takes spare change from your credit and debit card purchases (by rounding up to the nearest dollar and taking that amount out) and funnels it into a diversified stock market portfolio. It’s all automated, and you aren’t responsible for making trades, but it puts your money to work for you in a very real and somewhat educational way.
Stash is often compared to its close competitor Robinhood, and even to Acorns, in that all of these apps are meant to make investing easier, particularly for beginners. Where Stash sets itself apart, however, is in its educational components. The app has a “Learn” screen on which you can browse articles and soak up tips based on the specific investment knowledge you want to learn. You can also make investments directly through the app, and monitor your portfolio as you see fit. But the blend of these practices with teaching material not only makes it possible to make wiser decision in the moment but also helps to prepare you for future investments.
5. Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance is actually quite a lot like Stash in terms of its functions and benefits. On the educational side of things however there’s almost an even more personalized aspect to it, in that the app is built to help you track the stocks you’re interested in. It practically allows you to simulate running an account and learn all you can about specific assets you might want to buy into. You can trade stocks in the app as well, but it’s every bit as useful as an observational practice tool as it is as a digital broker.