These days, budgeting goes beyond a basic budgeting template on an Excel spreadsheet. Through recent advancements in FinTech, different ways you can bank from the convenience of your computer or phone are sprouting up all the time. In fact, there are so many digital options for taking care of your finances that it can be a little overwhelming. We took a look at some of the most popular money management tools out in the market today and how they compare to one another.
Mint is a one-stop shop to help you with your budget. They offer a holistic approach, where you can manage your money and set savings goals so you can see your entire financial picture. There’s also a feature to monitor your credit score. Just sync up your bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts, including your retirement funds. You’ll be able to see where your money is going while keeping track of your goals. Mint makes it fairly easy to customize subcategories and move transactions into other categories. You can also set it up to receive alerts. There’s also Mint Bills, where you can link up your accounts to pay and track your bills.
What makes them different: It’s easy to customize the categories in your spending and create spending limits for each area of your budget.
Fees: Free. Mint is owned by Quicken, and partly make their money by selling their users’ aggregate data.
While also a money management tool, Personal Capital’s focus is on investments. They offer several tools to help you integrate your finances, where you can track your cash flow, get an accurate picture of your net worth, and monitor your investments. Tools such as the Fees Analyzer aim to help you gain greater transparency with your investments and sniff out hidden fees. Similar to Mint, you link up your checking accounts, investment portfolios, credit cards, and any other forms of debt you have (i.e., mortgage or auto loans) to get an at-a-glance look at your net worth. Their newly launched Retirement Planner helps you stay on track for retirement.
What makes them different: They focus heavily on investments and offer an advisory service. Their different tools are geared toward specific parts of your financial life.
Fees: Free to sign up. They offer an advisory service for those with a portfolio over $100,000.
An alternative to traditional banking, Simple offers a digital platform to manage your money and set savings goals. You can choose to either set money aside right away or pick a date to save it by. Money is automatically transferred from your available funds into your goals until those goals are reached.
With their Safe-to-Spend® feature, you can view how much money you have to left to spend after your upcoming bills, pending transactions, and savings goals are factored in. You can also send payments to fellow Simple members, mail or deposit a check, and pay a bill from your phone. FYI: Simple is geared for personal accounts, so there’s no joint accounts or business account options.
What makes them different: While funded by BanCorp and with a no-fees ATM network, they’re a bit of a hybrid between a bank and an app. They are also known for their superior customer service.
Fees: Free. Simple does not charge any fees. There may be fees if you use an ATM outside of their fee-free network, or if you use your debit card internationally.
While these money management solutions are powerful in themselves, there are tools available through your credit union that can complement them. For instance, With Sprig® by CO-OP, which is available at participating branches, there’s a handy credit union locator to find an in-network ATM or branch near you, which prevents you from paying hefty out-of-network ATM surcharges and help you stick to your budget.
RealPay by CO-OP is another web-based tool offered at participating credit unions to send real-time payments to your friends and family digitally. And if you want an additional app to help you keep your credit cards secure and not overspend, CardNavSM by CO-OP lets you set alerts, turn your card on and off, and set spending limits through your phone.
While each of these digital money management tools offer something slightly different, they are all designed to help you see the entire financial picture at a glance and assist you in reaching your savings goals. Whether you’re better off using a combination of tools or just one is totally up to you. It’s just a matter of testing them out and figuring out which helps you the most in your everyday life.