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Last Updated on March 28, 2019

Top 5 Spending Tracker Apps to Manage Your Budget Smart in 2019

Top 5 Spending Tracker Apps to Manage Your Budget Smart in 2019

Managing your budget can seem dull or just not an important concept at all. However, in the world we live in, we have to survive by being financially savvy. It is very easy to swipe a debit or credit card when we are at a restaurant, shopping at the mall, or ordering merchandize on Amazon.

Whether you like or despise finance, it is indirectly part of your life. Everything you do has to do with mathematics. Meaning, it has to do with numbers, so get acquainted with them.

If you are person who stresses out a lot and checks frequently their online banking, do not panic. There are super-friendly and easy-to-use apps that will break down your expenses in an intuitive way.

The next sections will outline spending tracker apps that will alleviate your worries, anxiety and obsessions of how to organize your money.

1. Mint

    Mint was founded in 2006, and is an award-winning service. It offers a comprehensive experience that is free, fast and super easy.

    The capabilities include budgeting tools, alerts, credit scores, mobile support and compatible with Apple Watch. The support is limited to the United States and Canada accounts.

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    Overall, it is a personal finance service with a wide range of resources to users who can track their spending and budgeting, which will calculate your net worth.

    Your net worth is calculated by connecting all of your online finance accounts and verifying your credit score.

    Get Mint here!

    2. YNAB

      YNAP stands for You Need a Budget and was founded in 2004. It is a great and personal budgeting app that is built on a solid approach.

      It is deemed flexible, and offers users educational tutorials to manage finances in a coherent manner. Also, it has a great web interface.

      However, it takes time to learn the platform. And this spending tracker is relatively expensive and has no free versions.

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      Get YNAB here!

      3. Mvelopes

        Mvelopes was founded in 1999. It utilizes a principles of personal finance budgeting and based on the envelope system of allocated spending. It can also roll-over monthly budgeting, which is supported.

        As a user, you can get personalized forecasts and suggestions on how to manage your financial situation. This means, you will be advised on not to make frequent purchases at the mall or on Amazon.

        Ultimately, it helps you the consumer put savings or envelopes away, so you can have financial freedom.

        The drawbacks, however, are that it is time-consuming to get up and running. The interface is dated and the cost of upgrading is not clear with different premium versions.

        Get Mvelopes here!

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        4. Personal Capital

          Personal Capital was founded in 2009 and it is a billion dollar company. The service is regarded as one of the most popular financial management platforms. The app has a free, Free Financial Dashboard, and a paid, Wealth Management Service.

          The pros of the app are budgeting and investment management are all available in one platform. In addition, it includes investment tracking and socially responsible investing.

          But for Wealth Management, it requires solicitation, high fees and has limited budgeting capabilities.

          Get Personal Capital here!

          5. Quickbooks

            Quickbooks was launched in 1992 on the IBM on Microsoft DOS and Apple’s Macintosh. The software accounting program comes in various versions and editions for small to medium-sized businesses.

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            It can be managed from anywhere at anytime, and it is very easy user-friendly. It can help organize everything from your books, manage expenses, send invoices, track inventory and run payroll.

            Beyond the expense tracking, Quickbooks has been adopted by lots of different companies across every industry you can imagine. So this app is particularly recommended for any business owners.

            Get Quickbooks here!

            The Bottom Line

            When it comes to managing your money, it is important to become educated and financially responsible. The messages we are bombarded all around us are constantly associated with spending, and buying. Nevertheless, the messages we should be getting have nothing to do with saving you money.

            Before making unnecessary expenses and purchases, read the fine print. All of these services have free or paid versions to assist you with your money-saving schemes.

            Ask a lot of questions before making any commitments. Search up free financial consultants or advisors to get a sense of where to invest and not spend your money.

            It is very easy to get in debt, so do not live on credit cards unless you can afford to pay them. Use these apps to live within your means and allocate savings in safe investments that will help you in the longterm.

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

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            Anthony Carranza

            Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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            Published on May 7, 2019

            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

            When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

            Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

            Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

            You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

            Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

            1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

            Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

            But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

            • Will you spend more time with your family?
            • What does retirement mean to you?
            • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

            Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

            Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

            2. Figure out When to Invest

            “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

            It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

            The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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            A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

            Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

            3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

            Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

            Why?

            Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

            Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

            Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

            Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

            4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

            Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

            If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

            You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

            1. Vanguard
            2. TD Ameritrade
            3. Charles Schwab

            5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

            Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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            Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

            That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

            Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

            A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

            6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

            The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

            Robo Advisors

            Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

            Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

            Bonds

            Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

            Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

            Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

            1. Treasury bonds
            2. Government bonds
            3. Corporate bonds
            4. Foreign bonds
            5. Mortgage-backed bonds
            6. Municipal bonds

            Mutual Funds

            Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

            One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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            Real Estate

            Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

            Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

            This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

            But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

            Savings Accounts

            Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

            7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

            Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

            So how can you master delayed gratification?

            By building your discipline.

            Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

            Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

            8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

            I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

            It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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            More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

            But, how can you invest yourself?

            Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

            Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

            But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

            Retire Happy with Excess Money

            The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

            It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

            I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

            Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

            One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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            Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

            Reference

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