App Toolkit: Finance

Finace app toolkit

Between rent, tuition, books and all the other bills we pay as students, many of us are open to new ways of organizing our bank accounts and saving a few dollars. This toolkit was designed for just that purpose. These three apps are what I consider the top three money apps on my devices. If you are looking for a little financial organization in your life look no further!


Wells Fargo App : No more bank runs

Maybe you don’t bank at Wells Fargo making this app pointless for you. BUT the feature of this app I like is universal for all other banks, so go check out your bank’s app and try this out… deposit your checks without leaving your house.

I don’t personally write many checks in my everyday life. However, I do receive checks and call it laziness or forgetfulness, but it takes me forever to actually get my check to the bank.

This resulted, in my money, which could be sitting pretty in my bank account, to lay around useless on a piece of paper. This feature has saved me time, put my money where it should be and it’s also convenient as all get up.

 

It’s this simple…

Wellsfargoscreenshot

 

One: Click on the side drop down menu

Two: Click deposit checks

Three: Select the account you would like the check to be deposited to

Four: Entire the amount on the check

Five: Take a picture of the front of the check

Six: Take a picture of the back of check

Seven: Click submit

…And that is it!

As I mentioned, Wells Fargo isn’t the only bank to do this, US Bank, Bank of America, Ever Bank, PNC Bank, and many others have this same feature.

Pros:

  • Convenient way to deal with your checks
  • Easy process of depositing for checks

Cons:

  • You have to have an online account with your bank set up before you can use this app
  • Double, triple check your bank doesn’t charge for this, Wells Fargo doesn’t but others do

More Information: Here is Wells Fargo’s break down of their online depositing system. However, as I mentioned, many other bank do online depositing as well.


Mint: Keeping your spending habits in check1 mint pic

The point of this app is to track your spending habits and let you know the “health” of your bank account. Mint shows your top spending habits with little icons. For the month of January, my top spending was in home, food, auto, and shopping.
2 mint picIt also shows your spending in a pie chart that breaks down all your spending area and tells you how much you have left to spend for the month, which is a number you can pick for yourself once you are in the app.

You can also set budgets for all of these spending categories. Say you are a shopaholic and want to make sure you don’t spend too much, set your budget and then Mint will track it for you.

Pros:

  • It automatically updates with your bank account
  • Breaks down where your money is being spent

Cons:

  • Some of my purchases are made in cash, so these aren’t put into the appropriate categories automatically.
  • It isn’t nearly as convenient if you don’t sync your bank account, which may hesitate some people. From my research, Mint is a very safe app that hasn’t had a problem with your information being mishandled.

More Information: Mint has its own website, but I found its YouTube channel more entertaining and successful at briefing me on why and how to use this app.


Acorns: Investment app for the little budgets

I NEVER thought of investing my money in stocks while I was still in college, but then I stumbled upon this app. The best part… I don’t notice the money it takes because it takes
acorns picpennies at a time.

Acorn waits to invest your money until it hits a $5.00 mark and then it will pool all the cents it was taking out and drop in your next $5.00 investment.

The basic function of the app is to invest your money, but do so in a way that isn’t messing with the tight budget many of us live on.

Looking over at the picture, it can be seen that I spent $40.14 at HyVee, so off of this purchase Acorn would like me to invest 86 cents. It does this on all my payments, rounding them to the next full dollar amount. This makes my “investing withdrawals” from my bank almost undetectable to me.

However, if money it feeling extra tight (like the Thursday before pay day) I can choose to not push the little green plus and then it wouldn’t take my $0.86.

 Pick your risk

 Have a go big or go home attitude? Or a please don’t take my money attitude? No worries! Both attitudes are accommodated for in this app.

Personally I have a “let’s go a little big, but please don’t take ALL my money” attitude so I picked the “moderately aggressive” option. At this level if I invests just $10 a month I’ll be potentially up almost $476… or I could be down that amount too.

Okay, so $476 might not seem like a very large amount after a decade, but lets remember that is only if I put in $10 dollars a month, which is pretty small amount for stocks. Plus, in my mind that is a round trip ticket to any destination in Mexico, or maybe a trip to the Hawaii.

The risk level you choose to invest at will determine where your money is going. If you’re conservative your money will go more into government stocks, and if you want to be more risky your money will go into small company, real estate, and emerging markets more than government and corporations.

I will be keeping this app on my phone and maybe in a decade I’ll withdraw the money for a trip to some place warm!

Pros:

  • Free
  • You can make money
  • Great introduction into the world of stocks and investing

 Cons:

  • You can’t pick the specific companies you are investing in
  • You can loose money (this is stocks and that means they go up and down)
  • The investments are very small so it takes a while to build up

More Information: Business Insider wrote an article on the founders of the app back in April. The article was interesting and also gave you a direct link to Acorns website.

 


About the Author Aly

Aly is senior double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science. Her hope is to graduate this spring with a job… any job, but preferably one in the communications field that allows her to apply her passion for government, law, and politics. Aly is a travel junkie and has traveled to 15 countries, but believes that number is too low and is already saving for her next adventure!

 

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