Many of us don’t pay much attention to what we save and spend on a daily basis. But tracking your cash flow is key if you want a good relationship with your finances.
Whether you want to pay off student loans faster or save for a trip to Europe, you need to monitor your habits.
Luckily, there are several free apps that do the heavy lifting for you. These expense tracker apps analyze your spending and help you work toward savings goals. Because these budgeting tools link directly to your accounts, you don’t have to input data day after day.
What to look for in a money management tool
The expense tracker apps on this list stand out for their ease of use. All of them have sleek, user-friendly interfaces. So once you get started, it’s easy to see your financial status at a glance.
Additionally, all of these budgeting tools are completely free. You don’t have to worry about hidden fees and you can delete your accounts at any time.
These spending tracker apps link to your bank and credit card accounts. Because of this, they more or less run on autopilot. You don’t need to manually input deposits and expenses as you would if you were tracking your budget on a spreadsheet.
3 best money management tools
Here are our favorite spending tracker apps and how they take the effort out of budgeting.
- Connects to your bank and credit card accounts to automatically track your deposits and spending
- Analyzes trends in your spending habits
- Sorts your money into preset categories such as cash, credit, and investments
- Allows you to create personalized categories for your money
- Shows you a weekly summary of your spending, divided into buckets like rent and utilities
- Automatically suggests a monthly budget (you can adjust your budget as you go)
- Tells you how much spending money you have left throughout the month
- Keeps track of your bills and reminds you when it’s time to pay them
- Offers credit tracking so you can see your credit score and payment history
- Monitors any investments you have and allows you to compare your portfolio to market benchmarks
- Gives warning alerts if it detects unusual spending or suspicious activity on your accounts
- Uses 256-bit encryption to protect your personal information and 128-bit SSL to secure exchanged data
- Free download from the Apple Store or Google Play
- Personal finance app is still in beta (must join a waiting list to request early access)
- Connects with your bank account to track your spending
- You set personal savings goals (they can be as specific or open-ended as you like)
- Keeps track of your progress toward your savings goals
- Analyzes your spending to give you customized “spend less” challenges (e.g. Pluto will tell you if you overspend on Ubers and suggest how much to spend instead)
- When you accomplish your “spend less” challenge, Pluto sets aside the difference toward one of your savings goals
- Automatically tracks, categorizes, and analyzes your spending across accounts so you can see exactly how much you spend in certain categories or with specific merchants
- Sensitive data is secured and encrypted with bank-level security
- Automatically saves a small amount of money from your checking account every few days
- Connects with your bank account and analyzes your cash flow
- Looks for opportunities to save money and sets aside between $0.05 and $150 every few days (average transfer is between $10 and $30)
- Savings go into a secure Digit account called your Rainy Day Fund, which has a 0.20% APR
- You can set up additional savings categories in addition to the Rainy Day Fund
- You’ll use simple text commands to talk to Digit through text or Facebook Messenger
- Transfer money back from your Digit savings account to your checking account at any time for no fee (transfer takes about one business day)
- Digit texts you supportive messages, random fun facts, and funny memes to encourage you to save (can turn this off in the settings)
- Even if you cancel your account, Digit will keep your info and let you reactivate your account within 90 days
- Not the best app if you consistently have a very low balance in your bank account
- 128-bit level security and FDIC insurance for up to $250,000
- After a 100-day free trial period, Digit charges users $2.99 a month
- Free download from the Apple Store or Google Play
Which money management app is right for you?
If you’re comfortable managing your finances using a mobile app, these budgeting tools are excellent resources. They’re easy to use and they take the tedious work of budgeting out of your hands. Rather than trying to pick apart your spending habits, these apps divide everything into categories for you.
Since everyone is different, these apps customize your savings goals to meet your particular needs. Mint is perhaps the most popular all-in-one tool for sticking to a budget plan.
Digit makes the savings process as painless as possible. It sets aside a little money every few days so you don’t even notice it missing. Log in every once and a while and see your Rainy Day Fund grow.
Since Pluto is still in the beta phase, we’ll have to stay tuned to see it in action. But its customized “spend less” challenges seem like a great way to cut down on excessive shopping.
Expense tracker apps make budgeting easy
If you’re looking to take control of your personal finances, one of these apps is a great way to start. Since they’re free and secure, there’s no harm done if you don’t end up using them.
If you do use them regularly, you’ll be a big step closer to mastering your personal finances. For even more details on these spending tracker tools, head to the Student Loan Hero marketplace.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|