Having an easy to manage spending plan is the cornerstone for financial success. It’s important to know your cash inflows and outflows so that you make the most of your hard-earned money. Knowing how much you spend on categories like groceries, eating out, or gas can help you identify areas where maybe you are spending too much. Then, you can direct funds towards something else that has greater importance to you, such as saving for retirement, a new home, or a special trip, without upsetting your normal everyday cash flow. Many people are unsure how to get started with a spending plan. With technology at our fingertips, it’s now easier than ever to track your expenses via personal finance apps, to help you keep your spending aligned with your financial goals.

3 Personal Finance Apps we like:

  1. Monarch

Mint has gone by the wayside, so many people have moved over to Monarch. While Monarch does not have a free version, it does offer a 7-day free trial. And for all that you get with the app, you might find the expense (starting at about $8/mo) worth it. Plus, because you pay a fee to use Monarch, you will not encounter ads trying to sell things to you while you are working to get your finances in order. How counterproductive!

After you link your financial accounts in Monarch, it will categorize your expenses and create a monthly budget based on your spending patterns, helping you forecast into the future. Along with showing you where your money is going, it can help you create long- and short-term savings targets and notify you if you get off track.

Other features worth mentioning are the great help center videos, the ability to share with your partner as well as your financial advisor (without giving them your login credentials), and the fact that you can access Monarch on your phone via an app or on your computer via a web browser. It will also automatically detect those subscriptions and bills that you no longer need to pay for.

Find out more about Monarch.

  2. PocketGuard

Another personal finance app that can help with your spending and budgeting is PocketGuard. PocketGuard has a free basic version and a paid version. When you sign up, all you have to do is link your financial accounts, and the app will automatically detect your bills and income. Once your accounts are linked, you can check your “In My Pocket” to see how much money you have left to save or spend after paying your monthly bills.

PocketGuard will also help you create a budget by tracking your spending patterns and income. The app automatically categorizes your spending to help you see where your money is going and where you could stand to save. You can add customized categories and hashtags to help you organize your expenses and easily review reports. With PocketGuard, all of your linked accounts will be viewable in one location, making it easy to keep track of all of your accounts and transactions.

Some additional features you get with PocketGuard are: help with negotiating better rates on recurring monthly bills and an option for setting up autosave to help you reach your goals. While many of the features of PocketGuard are free, there are a few that are part of the paid subscription (customizing categories, changing the date of transactions, and autosave to name three of them).

Find out more about PocketGuard.

  3. Moneydance

If you are looking for a personal finance app that is more desktop based, Moneydance is a great option. For a personal and household license, Moneydance charges a one-time fee. This means you can install it on as many computers as you want. You must install it on your computer. That’s because all of the information is not stored in the cloud, but rather, it’s saved on your computer. If you download the app on your phone, the information will sync from your computer to your phone.

Like the other apps, you will link up all your financial accounts to Moneydance, and then it will import your data from these institutions. Once your information is imported, the transactions in each of your accounts will be displayed in ledger form. Custom reports and graphs can be pulled from your transactions and categorized so you can quickly see how and where you are spending your money. Moneydance can help with building and monitoring your budget.

Moneydance can also remind you when bills are due, help you track your investment portfolios, and give you the option to manually record entries.

Find out more about Moneydance.

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