- Some people love budgeting apps. But others find them too involved and want direct help.
- Digit can help you pay your bills and know what’s left, while Acorns invests in the background.
- Prism will make sure you never forget your bills and Varo can help you build risk-free credit.
If we’re honest about our relationship with money, the goal of “good” money management for most of us is to enjoy life day to day without worrying about money. ‘silver. So why do most budgeting methods and apps need so much attention?
I am constantly looking for tools and techniques to get rid of money. Many money management apps, unfortunately, rely on you to actively establish and maintain a budget and regularly review your spending to get the most out of the app.
But I’ve found a few who understand that most of us don’t want to check our money all the time – we want technology to take care of it for us!
4 Personal Finance Apps That Truly Automate Money Management
Here are four apps that let you set and forget your money for real.
Figure: always know what is available to spend
Digit was launched in 2015 as an automated savings tool that uses AI to find small amounts of money in your bank account to store without you feeling any impact. It now extends to banking and investments and applies this same technology to help you pay bills, save and spend easily.
You will spend some time setting up the app when you open your Digit account (an FDIC-insured MetaBank-backed online banking account). Enter the amounts and due dates for your recurring bills – like rent, insurance, or loan payments – and Digit will create a bucket for each. It will fill them slowly throughout the month, choosing how much to move safely based on your deposits and spending.
Digit also saves you money without forcing you to set a goal or end date like many apps do. It will simply set aside what you have available, dividing it among as many goals as you want to create.
With Digit taking care of your bills and goals, your expense account only shows how much you can spend. No more quick – admittedly inaccurate – calculations before making a purchase. If the money is there, you can spend it!
Prism: never forget your bills
Prism is a bill payment app that connects with thousands of utility companies, financial institutions, and other vendors to automatically track your bill amounts and due dates. You can pay your bills automatically or manually with a bank account, credit or debit card, or prepaid card.
Prism gives you more options than setting up automatic payment with your service providers, which can be especially useful if you have inconsistent income or split bills with a partner, relatives, or roommates.
If automated payments aren’t for you, Prism can still help you forget about bills by keeping track of due dates in one place and sending you reminders. You don’t have to worry because you know the app is keeping track for you. And it lets you connect multiple payment accounts and view balances in the app, so you can easily switch between accounts when it’s time to pay.
Acorns: Invest with loose change
If you want to invest beyond your 401(k) (or don’t have one), but don’t know where to start and don’t have the energy to connect with a human financial advisor, Acorns can help you get started.
Micro-investment apps in general appeal to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money to invest. But most of them waste your time and money by forcing or letting you choose individual actions, decisions that – don’t get me wrong – you’re not qualified to make. (And neither are most professional money managers.)
Acorns simplifies investing in two ways:
- It grabs your spare change by rounding up credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, so you’re investing with money you’ll never run out of.
- It invests in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), investments that include multiple stocks and track the performance of certain sectors or indices.
A personal Acorns account costs $3 per month. This is a relatively high rate if your invested assets are only a few hundred dollars – but you might decide the price is worth a low-risk investment strategy you never have to think about.
Varo: Building credit without risk
Varo can help you build a credit history without the stress of managing a credit card balance or the risk of mounting debt.
Varo is an online bank that offers all the advantages of a typical neobank: high-yield savings, almost no fees, low-cost overdraft protection and early direct deposit. His credit builder account sets him apart.
Varo Bank customers can open a Varo Believe secured credit card without a credit check and with a security deposit of any amount.
The Varo Believe card is interest-free and your credit limit never exceeds the money you have deposited in your secure account – so no bloated credit card debt. You can pay your balance automatically from this account, and your payment history is reported to credit bureaus to establish a credit history.