That is the “Finance” folder on my iPhone. And behind it you will see my How I Met Your Mother wallpaper, which I’ve been meaning to change since the finale ripped my heart out, but let’s not go there.
Because what is important is the fact I have a “Finance” folder. Because, yes, I need an entire folder on my phone to house each budget app that I simply can’t live without.
Why do I need a budget app, let alone nine? Because I am a grown-up and I am in charge of my own finances. And I like the idea of being able to find out what my financial state is at any point during the day. Plus, each budget app I have serves a different purpose.
I will break them down for you and by the end hopefully you will have a better understanding of why we should all have at least one budget app, and have decided to download a few.
The Budget App Collection, By Jenny
1. My Bank Apps: Navy Federal Credit Union & Discover
I could go on and on about why I have chosen the banks I have for my checking, savings, and credit needs, but that would be an entire post of its own.
Simply put, I have been a member of Navy Federal since I was born, they are based out of Virginia (my homestate), I adore their customer service, and the fact they gave me my very first credit card, along with an awesome interest rate, when I was just a risky 21-year-old.
Their app is also extremely useful, with the ability to make transfers between my own accounts, and to other member’s accounts, which would come in handy, if say, I owed my brother money and he demanded I pay him now. You can also cash checks through the app, which is pretty awesome.
Discover, gave me my first student credit card with a cool cash back program that has seasonal promotions on items you can get more cash back for at different times of the year. The online shopping promotion is a personal favorite of mine at Christmastime.
Their app is equally useful and comes with features like letting me make my credit card payment from my phone and the ability to check the monthly FICO credit score they provide to me for free.
And it goes with out saying that having your bank’s app lets you check your balance and recent transactions, making these apps the bare minimum of what you should have in your budget app arsenal, as you will know how much money you have available at any given time.
2. The Mecca of The Budget App World: Mint Personal Finance
Mint is just the best. It really is.
It is free. It gives you an instant look at your available cash to debt ratio.
It lets you see how you are doing on the monthly budget you set-up on their equally useful website. It breaks down your spending (credit and debit) into categories for you, and how much you wanted to spend in each category within your budget.
It analyzes your spending month to month and your net income (the money you take in vs. what you spend).
It helps you set up goals for lowering your credit and loan balances, saving for specific future purchases, or an emergency fund.
And it alerts you about low balances and upcoming bills.
It’s my favorite budget app. And it is really the only budget app you need.
But I can’t leave well enough alone.
3. My Non-Bank, But Still Important, Financial Accounts: myAT&T, Great Lakes Mobile, and USAA Mobile
And while none of them are specifically a budget app, they help me keep track of where I am with all my accounts and what I owe to each financial service (which is a major part of the whole budgeting picture).
They also have other features that are useful for each specific account, like letting me know how close I am to reaching my data limit on my cellphone, telling me that my student loan debt is still crazy-high, and being able to access all the information I need about my auto insurance in a hurry if I need it to file a claim mobiley.
4. The Protector: BillGuard
BillGuard is the app that shows me each transaction I make with my credit or debit cards (which you link to the app securely) and let’s me verify right away whether I made it or not.
It is an extremely useful way to alert yourself immediately to fraudulent charges, a stolen card, and even catch possible identity theft.
It also regularly updates how much are in all of the accounts you link to the app and shows you quickly under each one how much you have spent with that account this month (which is always fun to see).
Now, I have never had a fraudulent charge, so I don’t have a story about how BillGuard saved me from something horrible. But I do feel much safer having it, as I think it would be the thing to save me.
5. The One That Keeps Score: Credit Karma Mobile
Credit Karma is a lot like Mint, with the ability to link all your accounts and keep track of your spending and balances in each (along with any loans you have).
But what the Credit Karma website is really good for, and what the app gives you a glance at when you are away from your computer, is your credit score.
Credit Karma is able to give you an updated TransUnion credit score every week and keep track of all the things that contribute to your credit score, through its nifty Credit Report Card.
Can it be scary to look at that on a regular basis? Yes. But it is important you do. Because, the way it works as a budget app is by allowing you to really consider whether you need to buy something, by reminding you of what it could cost you in more than just cash.
6. The Annoying, But Necessary, Reminder: Bills Monitor
This budget app is the only one that cost me any money, but for $0.99, it is worth it.
I “politely” tell it every single bill I have to pay every month and it “unkindly” totals for me how much I am paying and “rudely” alerts me well before a bill is due, how much the bill is, and has me check off when I pay it.
It is essential that you pay your bills on time to keep your accounts in good standing and to keep your credit score where it should be.
Is it irritating to be reminded by Bills Monitor of how much you owe to a bunch of different people for all the bare necessities in life each month? Yes. But if you weren’t, you could run the risk of forgetting and making your life so much harder than it has to be.
That is the end of my budget app collection. I hope it has given you a little more insight in to what the smartphone world has to offer other than games and photo filter apps. And I hope each of you will consider adding a few of these to your phone.
P.S. Budgeting, There’s An App For That