Personal finance isn’t exactly the most exciting dinner conversation topic. Many people – especially those who aren’t exactly numerically inclined – shy away from the facts, figures, and calculations that come with managing money. However, ignoring personal finances and just free-wheeling it paycheck to paycheck can come at a huge cost.
Luckily, there are tools out there to help you manage your finances painlessly. Here are ten great tools to help you manage your money and make smarter financial decisions.
Although the average American has a solid 695 FICO score, many people need some help. It’s easy to feel like your score is out of your control. Luckily, the innovators behind creditrepair.com can help you take your credit scores and reports into your own hands.
Through their simple, three-step process, this tool pulls your credit reports and helps you identify items you can challenge or change. At that point, their team interacts with your credit company and bureau to help make those changes, while keeping you updated on your progress. This way, you can make steps towards having strong credit for those large purchases.
With half of American households currently living paycheck to paycheck, many people need some help planning out expenses. Mint is a free, web-based personal finance tool that examines all of your banks, investments, credit cards, and other financial accounts to give you an overall picture of your financial health. It also helps you create and stick to a budget, guides your spending and savings goals, and even offers suggestions for financial products that can be helpful in your specific situation.
Only about 32% of Americans maintain a household budget. BudgetSimple is an amazingly straightforward tool that does the work of planning a budget for you. After analyzing your finances, it provides a personalized budget planner with suggestions on where you can save money, increase savings, and cut spending. Even better, there’s an auto-link option to connect the tool with your bank accounts, so you don’t need to enter your expenses manually if you don’t want to.
The median net worth for Americans aged 35-44 is only $14,226. Instead of focusing on your day-to-day expenses, Personal Capital analyzes your total net worth to help you build up your capital in the long term. Basically, it just looks at your assets and subtracts your liabilities in one big pile to help you slowly but surely improve your overall financial situation. If you aren’t big on sticking to detailed budgets but still want to manage your finances responsibly, this tool is for you.
YNAB isn’t just a budgeting tool – it’s also a community. When you sign up, it provides you access to financial literacy courses, budgeting tips, tutorials, and a community of users that help each other make financial decisions. Through its guidance in setting financial goals and walking you through the budgeting process, you’ll be on the path towards financial security in no time. With the average household being $136,643 in debt, YNAB can be an excellent way to improve financial health.
Quicken has been around for decades, but don’t let its age fool you – it’s a powerful instrument in managing finances for those who are a little more experienced. Similar to Mint, this tool provides you a comprehensive look at your financial health, without babysitting every spending or saving decision you make. Since the average American household saves just over half of what they should save, getting a big picture view can do wonders for your finances.
78% of companies use open source software, and individuals should certainly take note. This open source platform is a free way to track your finances without having to connect it to your banks or another external service. It’s extremely flexible, allowing users to import Quicken and OFX files easily – which many banks use when you download your transaction history. GnuCash also forces you to stay on budget, as you can’t make a transaction without debiting another account for it.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in 2015, the average American spent $55,978 – a lot more than we may think. Prosper Daily is for those who want a basic, but effective personal finance tool. It only tracks your spending, but it does it well; it shows a list of your recent transactions, and you can swipe right to approve it or swipe left to flag it as fraudulent. It also displays your spending by category, as well as lets you compare your spending month by month.
For those of you who like a more comprehensive financial toolbox, MoneyDance is the answer. It supports online banking so you can manage your investments in-app, allows you to import transactions from your bank, and shows you where your money is going at all times. It also allows you to set up payment schedules for recurring transactions, and even comes with a free mobile app for planning on the go.
With only 18% of Americans actively contributing to an IRA, this is a great way to start investment planning.
Americans hold over $999 billion in credit card debt. If you need help managing yours, ReadyForZero hones in on your personal debt to help you tackle it thoroughly to improve your overall financial situation. To help you go debt-free, the tool monitors and sends you regular alerts about your progress. And for those of you motivated by prizes, it gives you a golden trophy icon every time you pay off a debt.
Personal finance takes a lot of work. However, these tools can significantly cut down on the time and energy spent on money management by streamlining the process.
What are your best tips for keeping your personal finances healthy?