Do you find yourself wondering where all the money goes? Does it seem to just slip through your fingers? If so, it may be time to get your finances under control. The best way to do that is to track your spending. A good expense tracker app can help you manage your money so you can get out of debt and raise your credit score and get the best deals on interest rates, insurance and more.
Quick Look: The Best Expense Tracker Apps
What Expense Tracker Apps Do
An expense tracker app links all your accounts to your smartphone so you can use the app’s features to manage your finances, get out of debt, pay your bills, raise your credit score, save money and achieve your goals.
Bring Clarity to Your Spending Habits
One of the most important things an expense tracker does is give you insight into your spending habits. It lets you know how much money comes in and goes out, where and when you spend your money.
It also lets you know what you’re spending it on and why you’re making certain choices, especially ones that put your finances in the red. Once you see the whole picture, you can start making adjustments that will lead to a more secure financial future.
Help You Create and Stick to a Budget
Armed with a new understanding of where your money is going and what kind of spending issues hold you back, you can create a budget and make choices about where and how you want to spend your money going forward. Once you’ve set up a budget (you can do this easily with a budget app) an expense tracking app will help you monitor your spending with alerts to remind you of upcoming bill payments or to let you know when you’ve exceeded your limit in a spending category. This makes it easier to stay aware of your goals and stick to your budget.
Reduce Your Debt and Raise Your Credit Score
The best expense tracker apps are designed to help you get out of debt and improve your credit score. FICO® scores are used by 90% of top lenders to make billions of credit-related decisions every year.
Each FICO® score is based on information that three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, keep on file about you. A low credit score will result in higher interest rates on your credit cards and higher insurance payments. Heavy debt loads and not paying your bills on time also negatively affect your credit score. The sooner you can get out of debt, pay off your credit cards and consistently pay your bills on time, the sooner you will raise your credit score.
Features of a Great Expense Tracker App
The best expense tracker apps offer a list of features that help you manage your whole financial life in the palm of your hand, from the linking of your accounts to your smartphone to make sure your data is safe and protected. Here are some of the things to look for in order to get your finances back on track.
Keep All Your Money in One Place
All your money in one place and linked to your smartphone allows you 24/7 access to your credit card and bank account balances and transactions, due dates for bills, monthly payments and spending and saving goals so you can manage your money from wherever you happen to be.
Track and Curb Spending
Your transactions are synthesized into insights you can act on to stay on track with an expense tracker app. You get personalized tips and advice for maximizing your money. Alerts help you stay on top of your bills and credit score and let you know when you start to go over a set limit in a spending category.
Protect Your Financial Data
All the best expense tracker apps make the protection of your financial data a top priority. Using state-of-the-art security measures, like 256-bit SSL end-to-end encryption and multifactor authentication and Touch ID, they keep your accounts safe and secure.
There are several expense tracker apps that can help you achieve your financial goals, from saving money for a new house or a vacation to getting out of debt or raising your credit score. Take an in-depth look at several that we like and choose the one that best meets your needs.
Personal Capital is great for those who want a one-stop-shop to start tracking your finances, invest and get help from professional financial planners. The award-winning platform enriches its recommendations with real-time data, research and more. That way, its users can ditch their robo-advisors, budget apps and other investing research platforms.
The app is intended for high-profile clientele, however. Account-holders must have an account minimum of $100,000 and advisory services charge 0.89% for managed assets. For those with the cash, Personal Capital streamlined services bring peace of mind.
Why we love it: It can be completely personalized for you
Available on: iOS and Android
Mint is one of the most popular expense trackers. It’s free and offers a number of features that are personalized just for you and your financial situation. You can create a budget that makes sense for both your present and future goals.
Mint will offer suggestions based on your spending. Your bills and money are in one place, which helps you stay on top of your payments and alerts let you know when one is due so you never have to deal with late fees. You can also get your credit score for free, along with tips to help improve it. If one of your accounts shows an unusual charge, you’ll receive an alert and get customized tips for how to reduce fees and save money.
Mint, which comes from the makers of TurboTax®, goes to great lengths to keep your information secure and is trusted by millions.
Why we love it: It’s encouraging and champions your progress
Available on: iOS and Android
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cheerleader that cheers you on when you meet a financial goal and gives you usable insights about your spending habits and makes your financial future a priority? Clarity Money, a financial management tool, does do that, and it’s totally free to use.
Clarity Money helps you take control of your finances and brings more transparency to your spending, giving you the whole picture all in one place, including your free credit score. The app tracks your spending and lets you know how much you’ve spent on, say, dinners out, compared with your goal for the month. Clarity Money also uncovers subscriptions that you don’t use as much as you thought you would, such as Netflix or Audible, and will cancel them for you.
Why we love it: Interesting features like currency conversion and family financial management tools
Available on: iOS (Wally) and Android (Wally+)
Wally is a personal finance app that comes in two free versions — Wally for iOS users and Wally+ for Android users. It was created by a small team of people who want to give you a complete picture of your money so you understand exactly what you have coming in, what you have going out, what you have budgeted for and what you have saved, in order to set and achieve your financial goals. Wally helps you keep track of the details of your spending.
You can even add a photo of receipts with every expense you enter. The basic version of both versions is free, and the team plans to add upgrades in the future with features such as currency conversion for travelers or family management tools for users with children.
It’s amazing how fast you can achieve your savings goals when you use the Digit app. Just decide what you want to budget for — your next vacation, a house down payment, paying off credit cards or student loans, or starting an emergency fund. Digit will take it from there.
First, you’ll need to deposit your money in a Digit account. Your money is held at FDIC-insured banks, protected up to $250,000, and 256-bit encryption keeps your data safe. Digit will do the saving toward your specific goals and will take care of the payment for you once you’ve saved enough. You also get a bonus for saving with Digit — 1% every 3 months.
Why we love it: Gamifies savings and budgeting
Available on: iOS and Android
Managing your money can be fun with an app like Qapital, which has interesting ways to keep you invested in your financial future. “Goals and Rules” helps you reach your savings objectives faster. You can even team up with others to share joint goals.
“Spend Happily” gives you a number of ways to make your money work harder, including a “Spending Sweet Spot” that helps you find the balance between what you want now and what you want for the future. “Payday Divvy” lets you plan your spending by divvying up your deposits into different categories. ”Money Missions” are fun challenges that give you a deeper look into your spending habits and help you unlock helpful insights. Qapital also has pre-built portfolios that make investing easy.
Why we love it: Acts as a virtual financial assistant
Available on: iOS and Android
Keeping track of expenses when you have several credit cards and different bank accounts can be difficult, especially if you’re not particularly skilled at number crunching. Enter the Empower expense tracker app.
Empower acts as your personal financial assistant. You can save money, build up your credit and get ahead, which empowers you to make smarter financial decisions about your money. Create a flexible budget with alerts, trackers, reports and helpful insights regarding your spending patterns. When you link your credit cards, checking account and savings account to Empower, you can see your balances, transactions, due dates and monthly payments anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to worry about security, either. Empower protects your account with advanced security measures.
Adding It All Up
Finances are complex, and most people have a lot to manage with bank accounts, multiple credit cards, debts to pay down, savings to bulk up and credit scores to improve. Tracking your spending, keeping a budget and monitoring your spending throughout your life is the best way to give your finances a leg up.
Luckily, there are expense tracker apps that make the process easy, interesting and even fun.