6 Free Budgeting-Made-Easy Apps That Connect to Your Bank Accounts

Each of these budgeting apps bring a unique strategy to the table and allow you to accomplish different financial goals with their help. Some allow you to pay for a premium/professional tier service for more features, but they are free otherwise. Here is my review of each of these six powerful budgeting apps from Apple or Android.

Mint allows users to create budget categories and keep track of their spending. It connects with your bank accounts if you let it and allows you to see where you are spending your money, as well. You can re-categorize the what you spent, too. It also provides free access to your credit score. Mint comes from the people who made TurboTax and Quicken, and it puts high priority on securing your information.

Level Money
Level Money creates a digital version of looking into your wallet. It helps organize your income and expenses so that you can see what is left over for you to spend each day, week, and month. It’ll send you consistent reminders about your spending habits and tell you how much you have left in each category. This app helps you to figure out how to reduce debt and save for larger expenses.

Mvelopes is a digital version of budgeting your money in envelopes. You can pay bills from this app, see information about where you spend money and ratings, and get updates in real-time. It helps you to know which envelopes you use more often and how much you spend from each of them. It helps you to know how much money you have left before spending too much.

Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a budgeting tool, but it helps you plan for larger, significant life events, such as college and retirement. It allows you to see your net worth, work on your investment portfolio, and strategize for large, future expenses. You can come up with a retirement plan or even meet with someone in person to work on your investment strategy.

Penny has a comical kick to it. It sends you gregarious text messages with graphs and charts about your spending habits. Penny is a “she” who tells you about your income and expenses, informs you when a bill needs to be paid, and forecasts for next month. You can even cancel some of your services through this app. Penny puts fun back into finances so that it is not as stressful, while also providing powerful, organized, and simple information about your spending habits.

LearnVest allows you to categorize expenses and make goals for yourself. It gives you a financial planner, who can be accessed via email any day of the week, a financial plan, and blogs and classes about how to manage your finances better. It also has a calculator on it to determine your net worth.

Whether you choose Mint or LearnVest, Penny or Personal Capital, Mvelopes or Level Money, or some combination of the six, you are sure to be well on your way to a successful, organized, secure, and safe financial future.

Use This Organization’s Tools to Teach Your Children About Money

In my last post, I spoke about the importance of early financial education. I recently learned of a terrific organization, the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), that focuses entirely on this topic. Here’s their mission statement: “The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) is creating a world where people are informed to make qualified financial decisions that improve their lives. We provide financial education resources, promote advocacy campaigns, and help organizations build sustainable financial education programs.” I have to tell you, just reading those words gives me hope for the financial future of our children – and here’s why.

Erica Hill

Teaching your children money management skills early on will make them fiscally responsible adults.

In focusing on creating a standardized financial curriculum, NFEC is addressing a real and dangerous problem in our country: the absence of anything even closely resembling a financial education in our schools. Quite frankly, it’s unacceptable that we are still prioritizing esoteric and unnecessary knowledge, like micro-details of the average Bronze Age Mesopotamian’s diet, over important, real-life knowledge, like how to avoid accruing debt, how to write a resume, and how to create and follow a budget.

People wonder how the Financial Crisis of 2008 could have happened. To me, it’s quite obvious that this stock market crash was a direct result of the fact that most Americans knew next-to-nothing about how to responsibly manage their finances, or why it would be a terrible idea to do things like take out four mortgages on one house. If we want to prevent another financial crisis caused by the same national Achilles’ heel from happening, it is imperative that we start teaching our children the skills they’ll need to become fiscally responsible adults as early as possible. Based on my fervency about this subject, you can imagine how pleased I was to learn that NFEC’s curriculum starts at the pre-school level, when the organization advises that children should be taught basic concepts of numbers, time, money and income, value, market and exchange, choice, and social values.

If you’d like to learn more about the NFEC’s advised curriculum or the opportunities they provide for guided financial education, head over to their website at financialeducatorscouncil.org. Your children will thank you for it one day.