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5 Apps That Make Financial Planning Easy

Do you write down all your expenses? Do you wonder at the end of the month where all your money went? Do you want to keep a tab on your budget?

It is time to make use of technology to keep an eye on your financial transactions.

Here are 5 apps that are designed to help you manage your money better.

Mint

Platforms: iOS, Android, Web, Cost: Free

Developer: Intuit

Synopsis: Mint is the app to download if you are looking for the most popular option. It has been a favorite with consumers since it was introduced due to the overwhelming amount of options it has.

What to expect: This app will slot all your purchases into different spending categories and make it easier for you see where your money is going to and coming from. There are various charts that can be automatically pulled from the financial data you have stored.

Pros: Mint has notifications for various transactions that you can customize. For example you can have email alerts for when a bill is due or when there is unusual spending in one category. The app also helps you create personalized budgets to keep track of all transactions. Mint also has a smart watch companion app.

Cons: This could be a con for most financial planning apps. You should be comfortable with providing your personal information including bank account and credit card numbers. While the company claims the data is secure and encrypted a normal user could be put off by this. However, the app does require a password each time it is accessed giving it an additional layer of security.

Wally

Platforms: iOS, Android Cost: Free

Developer: Napkin SAL

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Synopsis: Simple and easy to use. The app has won over many users and tech critics for its visually pleasing and easy to use interface.

What to expect: Wally’s colorful text and charts make it easy to use. The layout is easy to navigate and you can set up alerts and reminders as well. All information has to be entered by you, so it is a great way to avoid providing your bank and credit card information. You have to remember to pull out the app each time you make a purchase or receive a deposit.

Pros: Safety seems to be the major factor enticing users to Wally. The developers say no data is stored on remote servers and instead stays on your mobile device. You can even backup your data.

Cons: While some people would be enticed by the safety that Wally offers, others could be put off by the fact that transactions need to be fed into the app manually. There is another option too; a photo of the receipt will ensure the app pulls out financial data from it for easy use. However the main con that users have noted is that the app while being suited for individual use is tricky for families to use on multiple devices.ChroniclePlatforms: iOS, MacCost: $5.79 for iOS or $16.99 for Mac desktopDeveloper: LittleFin LLCSynopsis: Chronicle focuses on managing bills, there is a section in the interface that also helps track expenses and planning but the primary purpose of this app seems to be to keep bills in check.

What to expect: The interface is clean and well designed making it easy for users to view pending bills, there is also a calendar view to make paying bills easier. An internal browser also pops up to make payments without leaving the app. Chronicle also has an Apple Watch component.

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Pros: The app’s archive is easy to use and makes it simple to find your bills at a later date. Receipts can also be saved to be used in the future. The Chronicle also has the option to sync data between the iOS and Mac with iCloud making it easy to access information from various devices.

Cons: There are two major cons, the first is the $5.79 price which is steep compared to the free apps on offer, the app gets even pricier if you add in the Mac software. Another important con is that this app is only available on Apple operating systems making it totally out of reach for Android users.

Good Budget

Platforms: iOS, Android, Web, Cost: Free, or $16.99 for three months of Plus Plan

Developer: Dayspring Technologies

Synopsis: Good Budget uses the envelope budgeting method. This is specifically useful for those who have been following a cash envelope system. One envelope of cash is designated for each category that goes empty when you spend it. This app makes you decide in advance about the amount you are looking to spend for each category and encourages you to stick to it as your envelope will turn empty if you don’t.

What to expect: The app has a simple interface with a status bar for each envelope, as you enter your expenses into the app, it will tell you the amount that remains in each envelope. Good Budget also has the planning tools and basic charts that most other financial planning apps do. This app is a good way to stay on budget as the decline in funds in each envelope makes you realize how much you are spending and that your envelope could soon be empty.

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Pros: Good Budget has various reports for users to download. The app can also suggest a blackout period if you are spending more than the budgeted amount for a specific category.

Cons: The basic app is free, but it only offers 10 monthly envelopes and 10 annual envelopes. While the number of envelopes needed depends on the actual planner, there is also a paid plan that offers unlimited envelopes for better planning. This app is also good for families as it can be synced with 5 devices. The premium paid app is expensive at $16.99 for 3 months.

Your bank

Platforms: Varies, Cost: Free

At a glance: Your banking provider most probably has apps that you can use. Though they may not be similar or comparable to the others we have listed above, they could be useful when used with other apps or a notebook.

What to expect: Don’t expect a life changing app and you will be happy. These apps are great for simple uses such as keep track of your account balance, transferring money, paying bills etc. Some even offer smart watch functionality.

Pros: There are specific apps suited for various uses. For example mortgage payments and portfolio management.

Cons: there aren’t a lot of cons, but interface and functionality of the apps may not be great. Getting to know what apps your bank offers could offer you a head start and you could be surprised by their functions.