Choosing the Right Finance App for You

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Published by Andrew Rogers

As technology and mobile applications continue to work their way into everyday life, there are numerous budgeting, investing and financial mobile apps whose increasing popularity has sparked an online debate over which app is best to meet your personal needs. Apps like Mint, LevelMoney and Goodbudget allow users to track their spending patterns, create budgets and reconcile accounts all in one place. Apps like Digit and Acorn help you save money while you sleep by finding gaps in your spending patterns to transfer extra money into savings or investing your spare change in low-cost ETFs. Business apps like Expensify, Wally and One Receipt allow employees and employers to track, expense and reimburse employees in real-time.

With so many options to choose from, what do you do first? Your best friend uses Mint but your son uses LevelMoney, where do you start? The answer is quite simple and low tech. Make a list of your needs, not what other people tell you, but what are you going to use this app for. After all, in 3 months when you pick up your phone and you have 12 notifications from your Mint app because you don’t ever check it, was it really worth all the time you spent setting up your accounts?

Make a list of your needs, then start doing some research. Asking questions like:

  • Does this app do everything I want it to?
  • Do I like the layout?
  • Are the navigation menus easy to read?
  • Does it make sense to me?
  • Is the $2.99 I am spending on this app worth giving up next week’s Starbucks for?
  • The last and most important question to ask is does this app do too much? If it is too confusing or requires too much effort, you will download it, spend an hour setting it up and never look at it again.

If the answer to most of these questions is no, then move on to the next app. There is a reason there are so many apps that do virtually the same thing.

For the business person looking to track their expenses, receipts and travel, the solution is very similar. The one thing you do want to add to your research is asking your company if they will accept the reimbursement statements and forms from a particular app before you spend any time or money setting up an account.

Apps are supposed to make life simpler, whether tracking your budget, creating expense reports, investing your spare change or finding the nearest restaurant. Their purpose is to make life easy by putting everything you need at your fingertips. The average American has 32.8 apps on their phone at any given time – it is impossible to use all of those at the same time, so when deciding which financial app you are looking to use, make sure do to your own research and test them out before you make your final decision.

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