Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP®
- How (and Why) to Invest with Little Money Even When You Are Broke - January 16, 2018
- 8 Free Apps We Use to Save, Make, and Manage Money in 2018 - January 9, 2018
- How To Save $1,000 In A Month: A 30-Day Money Challenge - January 2, 2018
Being a Certified Financial Planner™ and personal finance geek, my idea of a good time is testing out new personal finance apps.
I get excited finding an app that can help me save, make, or manage money better.
There are 8 such apps I’m currently using and benefitting from right now.
Whether you’re looking for help saving money, making money, or managing your money — here’s 8 apps to try today.
Best Free Money Management Apps of 2018
# 1) Get a free credit score and credit report analysis
- Android: Rating: 4.3/5 – 22,000+ votes
- iPhone (all versions): 4.5/5 – 14,000+ ratings
Why it’s good: A recent FTC Report estimated 20% of Americans have an error on their credit report. Plus, with it seems like a new data breach in the news every week, it’s possible someone could be trying to open an account with your info.
With the Credit Sesame app, you’re able to view a free TransUnion credit report and get alerts anytime there’s new activity on your report. This way if a “hacker” is trying to open an account, you’re alerted immediately and can take swift action.
Credit Sesame also gives you personalized tips to help improve your score. One study showed the difference of having excellent vs. poor credit saves a typical 35-year old male $274,918 over his life. So, your credit score is something you should be keeping a close eye — if you’re not.
Credit Sesame Quick Summary
- Get your credit score for free in under 90 seconds
- Get personalized tips on how to improve your score
- No credit card needed & it won't impact your score
# 2) Optimize your 401(k) the easy way
Why it’s good: If you got a 401(k) — you’re ahead of most.
But it’s how you invest in that 401(k) that determines how fast your money grows.
The goal is to find the mix of investments to maximize your return for the least amount of risk. That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you account for hidden fees.
Blooom gives you an initial 401(k) analysis for free. This way you’ll learn if you’re in the right investments or paying too much in fees.
To get your free analysis, all you have to do is enter your name, birthday, and estimated retirement date. Then, let Blooom link up to your 401(k).
Here’s a screenshot of what my 401(k) analysis looked like:
You can then play with the inputs to see how making changes can impact your goals. For example, you could discover how earlier you could retire by optimizing your investments.
Blooom Quick Summary
- Check the health of your 401(k) with a free analysis from Bloom
- Works with: 401(k), 457, 403(b), 401(a) and TSP
# 3) Have a robot save you money
Why it’s good: If you’ve been meaning to…
…call your Internet & cable company to lower your bill
…cancel subscriptions you don’t use anymore
…or, if you like little surprises once in a while that you saved money
You’ll love Trim Financial Manager.
This app lives inside of Facebook messenger. All you do is sign up, connect an account and their robot will message you ways you can save.
For some of these tasks, Trim’s robot assistant will handle the whole transaction, e.g. negotiating your bill or cancelling a subscription. The average person saves $30 per bill.
Also, if you have any outages, Trim can get you a credit. Here’s what I saw recently when I popped in Facebook:
# 4) The modern way to track and manage your money
- Android: Rating: 4.2/5 – 2,700+ votes
- iPhone (all versions): 4.5/5 – 12,000+ ratings
Why it’s good: Out of all the apps on this list — I use Personal Capital the most.
Personal Capital is the app I use to track and manage my financial life.
A few of the features I find helpful:
- Cash Flow – This is where I track my weekly, monthly and yearly income and spending. This gives me clarity into where my money is going, so I can adjust if necessary.
- Net Worth Tracker – I’ve found it helpful to track my net worth overtime. This keeps me out of focusing on small things — such as daily market volatility — to focus on the big picture.
- Retirement Planner – My goal is to become financial independent by 40. Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner helps me track and manage this goal. This way I know exactly where I stand at all times relative to this goal.
Personal Capital Quick Summary
- Free analytics tools to show you where you stand relative to your goals
- Named best financial app by MacWorld
- Sign up in seconds
# 5) Get cash back on in-store purchases
Android: Rating: 4.5/5 – 278,000+ votes
iPhone (all versions): 4.5/5 – 61,000+ Ratings
Why it’s good: Ibotta gives you cash back for taking a picture of your receipts.
Here’s how it works….
- Download the app (you just need a name and email to start)
- Browse your preferred store to see what offers are eligible for cash back. For example, currently iBotta is offering $1 cash back for Cholula Hot Sauce at Costco. There’s also “any brand” offers, which allow you to redeem any brand of a certain product, e.g. milk, yogurt, etc…
- Once you’ve made the purchase, take a picture of the receipt
- Then, once you accumulate $20, you can withdraw your earnings via PayPal or Venmo
Right now, iBotta is giving new users a $10 sign up bonus.
Also, you can use a receipt that’s up to a week old. So, if you have a recent receipt on hand, download the app and see how much you can earn.
# 6) Get cash back for online purchases
Android: Rating: 4.5/5 – 35,400+ votes
iPhone (all versions): 4.5/5 – 15,100+ Ratings
Why it’s good: Since I shop online, I use eBates to earn cash back on my online purchases. You can earn up to 20% at some stores, though average earnings are closer to 4 to 5%.
All you do is start your search at eBates. Then, once you find what you’re looking for, click the “Shop Now” link and proceed as normal.
As I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, I find the extra few seconds it takes to use eBates worthwhile. There’s then 2,000+ other stores to choose from.
Right now there’s two options for welcome bonus:
- A $10 gift card to Walmart
- $10 eBates cash bonus
# 7) Earn cash rewards at your favorite brands
Android: Rating: 3.7/5 – 1,800+ votes
iPhone (all versions): 4.6/5 – 4,900+ Ratings
Why it’s good: If you like earning gift cards for little to no work, you’ll love Drop Rewards.
All you do is sign up, then link your credit and debit cards. Next, you pick up to 5 stores to earn points from (Starbucks, Costco, Amazon, Safeway, Uber, and Trader Joes are some of the more popular options).
You’ll then earn rewards for shopping at these particular stores. For example, you’ll get 12 points per dollar spent at Trader Joes. So, it’s like earning 1.2% back on your purchases.
It may not seem like much but if you add up your expenses over a year it will. Say you spend $7,500 on groceries, an additional 1.2% cash back gets you a $90 gift card.
# 8) Get money back on price drops you didn’t even know about
Why it’s good: Online retailers change their prices constantly. Prices may go up. They may go down.
It’s hard to know when to actually buy something.
One little-known benefit is that credit card companies offer price protection – which allows you to get refunded the difference if something you bought drops in price. The hard part is tracking your purchases and then claiming a refund. Fortunately, there’s software that can do it for you.
Paribus is one such app/website. Paribus will watch your purchases for price drops, then file price adjustment claims on your behalf. It takes about 15 seconds to sign up. Then, the software does the rest.
Paribus Quick Summary
- Paribus is FREE to use and let's you keep 100% of your savings!
- Paribus then works in the background to monitor for opportunities to get money back
- When you’re eligible, Paribus files price adjustment claims on your behalf and you keep 100% of the savings
HOW TO SET FINANCIAL GOALS
A step-by-step process for setting financial goals that connect the dots between your money and your happiness. Simply opt-in below to have it sent straight to your inbox!