Google “Best Personal Finance Tools” and you’ll have no trouble getting a gazillion results to sort through. If you want to skip the information overwhelm, we reviewed some of our favorites in this 10 minute podcast bonus. Give it a listen!
More of a visual person? We outline them below:
- Mint: This free app (with paid premium features) will track your credit card and debit card purchases and help you know how much you’re actually spending SO that you can make adjustments in your spending (if you want to). You can also create a budget and get notifications about your behavior. Why we like it: we can see all of our accounts and transactions in one place.
- You Need a Budget (YNAB): The philosophy behind this app is to put every dollar you have work. They offer a free trial for 34 days and then it goes up to $6.99/month, billed annually at $83.99. It’s free for students for one year + 34 day free trial. There’s a LOT of things you can do with this system – goal setting and tracking, easy to read reports, share expenses, and more! Why we like it: Lindsey did the free trial of YNAB and really loved the accountability emails she’d receive AND knowing each dollar was accounted for in some way (e.g. future goals). She ultimately went back to Mint because of the monthly fee.
- Expensify or Receipts by Wave: These free apps help you track and scan receipts. Why we like it: come tax time, we want our receipts all in one place, especially as entrepreneurs!
- The Wallet Method: Not an app, but a recommendation from Colin. It’s where you keep all receipts in your wallet until it’s thick enough to bother you. Then you enter receipts into a spreadsheet or another way of tracking. Check out MDN’s Monthly Shared Expense Tracker here.
- The Calendar Method: Again, not an app. Lindsey either tracks the receipt right away or schedules it in her calendar to do so.
- Groupon: A website full of deals and coupons for restaurants, spas, entertainment, and more. If you’re traveling, this is a great way to find fun entertainment ideas. Just remember to check the dates of use before buying!
- Hopper: Use this free app to find flight deals based on your budget. You can watch flights and it will tell you when it’s time to book based on lowest price.
- Tada.com: A site for working coupon codes.
- ShopSavvy: This free app lets you scan barcode of item at the store and see if you’re getting the best deal based on area stores and online stores.
- Blinq: This is where you can buy returned and overstocked products in new or great condition at super discounted prices.
- Recycle centers / Goodwill / Borrowing – ThredUp is an online consignment clothing retailer and you can Google local spots in your town (look for consignment and thrift stores) to find used clothes, furniture and more. Also, don’t underestimate borrowing for one-time or occasional use items (ex. extra lawn chairs for a party or a fancy dress to wear to a wedding).
- Google Drive: Create a spreadsheet for shared expenses and share it with the other person, like the one mentioned above.
- Dutch: This free app helps you split the check with friends at a restaurant while cutting down on some of the awkwardness that comes up when you get too into figuring out who ate what!
- Ice Box: A Google Chrome Extension that lets you block an item from online purchase for a specified amount of time. Behavioral psychologists recommend 24 hours to make sure it’s a real need and not the “in-the-moment” kind.
- DrnkPay: An app that connects your credit and debit cards to the BACTrack breathalyser or QuantacTally biosensor wearable so it knows how much you’ve drunk and limits certain purchases if you’ve had too much.
- Stickk: An accountability site where you make a goal, build in a financial consequence, and sign a Commitment Contract where if you don’t keep the goal, you suffer the financial consequence (e.g. they’ll donate some money from you to an organization you passionately don’t believe in!)
Here’s the thing: You can find a really snazzy tool and it won’t matter if you don’t use it. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find what works for you. Don’t give up! Choose one and play with it for a while. We recommend starting with Mint or YNAB and go from there.