No matter how much — or little — you earn, getting by is a struggle for most people.
According to a recent report from CareerBuilder, 78% of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck. And that’s up from 75% last year.
Overall, 71% of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt, up from 68% a year ago, CareerBuilder reported. While 46% noted their debt is manageable, most feel like they are in over their heads.
Most of those asked admitted they save less than $100 each month
Maybe you want to save but can’t figure out where you can spare a few dollars here and there. Maybe you know you need a rainy day fund, but you also need food.
You don’t know where you can cut back or where you can pinch a penny.
It’s a struggle many people have. And fortunately, it’s one that hundreds of people have set out to address.
There are boatloads of apps online that you can download to budget, save, or just track your spending.
Here are a few of the best of them guaranteed to make your life a little better and help you save a few more dollars.
- Acorns – [LINK] – A savings app that invests for you. Acorn takes the change from each transaction you make and rounds to the nearest dollar. That change is invested in a portfolio that you pick. You can make money without even missing those few extra cents in your account. This app costs $1 per month (until you’ve saved $5000).
- Betterment – [LINK] – Want to take your investments to the next level without the difficulty of finding a financial advisor? Consider Betterment. Easily create different goals (like one for your retirement or for a new car), figure out how much you’ll need, let them know how risky you want to be…and they’ll do the rest (once you fund it). They’ll pick the stocks. You just sit back and reap the growth, all for a crazy low investment fee.
- Empower – [LINK] – If you want a little more bang for your buck, the Empower app, appropriately dubbed as “the financial advisor in your pocket” allows you to link all of your accounts in one safe place where you can see them all at once. It will not only show you what you’re spending and saving, it will also guide you in negotiating better rates and deals on your bills. It also gives you an opportunity to save a percentage of your paycheck before you ever see it. Because if you don’t see it, you don’t miss it, right? This app is $3.99, but is currently only available on iPhone.
- Personal Capital – [LINK] – This web platform and mobile app allows you to link all your credit cards and bank accounts. It takes your income and how much you’d like to save into consideration and gives you a readout of how much money you can afford to spend. You can compare month to month spending from an easy-to-read report so you know where your money is going and where you need to slow down your spending. This app is free.
- Mint – [LINK] – From Intuit (the brains behind Quickbooks and Turbotax), Mint is a one-stop shop for budgeting. You can connect all your spending and track all your monthly bills on one easy to install app that reminds you when bills are due. So you can avoid any late charges. It also offers free credit score tracking so you know where you stand at all times. This app is free to use.
- Mvelopes – [LINK] – This app is based on the old “envelope” system of budgeting. Except instead of worrying about losing your envelopes of cash, you digitally set aside money for all of your monthly expenses. This app allows you to link your bank and credit card accounts all in one place. There is a monthly fee for basic up to premium, but most users readily pay $4 a month for the peace of mind.
- Pennies – [LINK] – Pennies helps you create a budget for the week, the month, or just for a special occasion — like that cruise you’ve been trying to go on for years. As with some of the other apps, Pennies splits your spending into categories and allows you to see where it’s all going. It tracks your spending daily so you can see how close you are to your limit. And pennies has a color changing system that will let you know when you’re getting close to exceeding that limit. This app has a one-time download fee of $3.99.
- Pocket Guard – [LINK] – This app is great if you have lots of balls in the air. Like credit cards, investment accounts, savings accounts, loans. Pocket Guard gives you one stop to look at all of them at a glance. It also categorizes your spending in real time so you can always peek at what’s going on. It lets you know what amount is “safe to spend” after you’ve paid all your bills and put some money up for saving. This app has a monthly fee of $4.
- Tiller – [LINK] – This isn’t an app, it’s a powerful tool that integrates with your own Google Sheets. Budgeting spreadsheets have been around for a while (and most of them are free). They’re popular because you can customize them to exactly what you need. No app will get your financial situation right because they’re catering to the masses. When you customize your spreadsheet, it’s yours
- Wally – [LINK] – A downloadable app for tracking expenses. This app is not a traditional budgeting app. Instead, it lets you snap a photo of your receipt and files it for you so you have a visual at the end of each day (yes, daily) so you can see where your money has gone. This app is still in its early stages and is completely free. A paid for premium version is on the way.
- You Need a Budget – [LINK] – This app is not just for budgeting. It also helps you slowly dwindle down your debt. It has a built-in “accountability partner” that will not let you “spend” it if you don’t have it. And if you do have to make an unexpected purchase (or carelessly make one), YNAB will let you know what you can do differently next time. This app is $6.99 per month.
Budgeting, saving, and planning has never been as easy as it is today.
You probably don’t leave your house without your phone. You have no excuse to not have your money under control when you can download an app (or two) and have all of your finances at your fingertips.
It’s time you take control of your life and your finances. Stop making excuses for your poor financial choices and take responsibility.
If you feel like you’ve messed up. You haven’t saved. So what. Today is a new day.
Try something new.