When life gets busy, it’s easy to lose track of your budget or even veer from your financial goals. Whether you’re a business owner, a professional or a stay-at-home parent, managing your finances requires time and effort that you simply may not have. Enter the financial app: a great way to keep track of your daily spending, investments or business expenses while on-the-go. While Total Wealth Management works with you to handle the bigger picture, these programs may help you feel organized, informed and in control of your everyday cash flow. Here’s a brief introduction to some of the most popular and well-reviewed financial apps available now – we hope you find one that works for you!
Available online or via an app on your mobile device, Mint was developed by Intuit, Inc – the creators of QuickBooks and TurboTax. It’s one of the most established financial apps on the market, having been around since 2006. The app has gone through several iterations over the years, but its primary function is to track expenses, assets, debts, investments and banking transactions through a single interface. The app helps you create a budget and will alert you when you’ve overspent in different areas. It connects to any major financial institution’s online banking system, and is generally praised for its ease of use. Though widely considered one of the best financial app options out there, Mint is not without its flaws – users have complained that their credit card or bank accounts are occasionally unlinked from the app for no apparent reason (requiring them to set-up these accounts again). Furthermore, some debts cannot be linked – for example, a student loan arranged through a provincial student aid organization1 instead of a major financial institution. Overall, Mint is well-reviewed, widely used in North America and worth investigating for your own use.
You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (YNAB) shares many features with Mint, such as budget creation and tracking one’s investments, expenses and banking transactions. It differs somewhat in its approach, however, with YNAB focusing on every earned dollar having a specific job. There is also a focus on providing the user with financial education, generally in the form of tutorials on the YNAB website. There is additional focus on living within your means, which makes it particularly well-suited to those living on a fixed income or trying to pay down expenses, such as student loans or home renovation debt. One interesting comparison between YNAB and Mint notes that while Mint will help you create a budget based on your average past spending in different categories, YNAB makes you determine where your money is expected to come from (income, savings, etc) before creating the budget2. Essentially, with YNAB, you are encouraged to not count your chickens before they hatch. Depending on your needs, this may be a useful feature. There is a free 34 day trial if you’re interested in trying out this financial app!
Wally is a newer money management offering that is available on iPhone or Android systems. It is more basic than either Mint or YNAB, but has some great features – for example, instead of manually adding transactions, you can photograph your receipts and upload them instantly. It also uses geo-location on your mobile device (if enabled) to help track receipt uploads. Wally calls itself “a 360 degree view of your finances” and vows to replace your old expense tracking system with ease, whether you’re a pen-and-paper or Excel spreadsheet kind of organizer. According to several reviews, this isn’t the app for someone who is looking for comprehensive budget planning – however, it’s a convenient way to monitor your spending and keep a record of your expenses. If you’re interested in trying Wally, it’s a free app that’s easy to check out in your spare time.
Is there a great financial app that you use and love? Tell us about it on LinkedIn or Twitter – we’d love to share your tips with our clients!