4 Best Financial Apps to Start your New Year’s Off Right

The purpose of budgeting, saving, and investing is to make sure that you have financial stability. One simple way to achieve these goals is to use a finance app to help manage your money. In this article, we will look at four of the best personal finance apps that help you budget, save, and invest your money wisely.


  1. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
  2. Mint
  3. Betterment
  4. Robinhood

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when researching budgeting software and good finance apps for investments because there is an abundance of free budget software available. Still, these four apps are generally considered to be the best finance apps available today.

YNAB is a personal budget expense tracker and Mint is also a monthly budget planner. Although both YNAB and Mint are budget apps, there is a slight difference between these budget tools.

YNAB, a paid app, provides a structured approach with “rules” for managing your money. Meanwhile, Mint, one of the best free finance apps, provides you with a more traditional approach to manage your finances. If you’re not good at organizing a budget, YNAB will provide you with the guidance you need. On the other hand, if you’re more experienced with managing money and just need a way to keep track of everything, then you might prefer the Mint app.

Similarly, Betterment and Robinhood are both finance apps that help you manage your own investments, but there is also an important difference between them. Betterment is ideal for someone who just wants an automated way to invest their money. Robinhood, meanwhile, is best for someone who would like more options on how to invest their money.

Once you build capital through Betterment or Robinhood, you may also want to try investing in other financial markets like the Forex market.

Let us now take a closer look at these four best finance apps:

1. You Need You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a budgeting tool that’s built around following four money rules. It costs $6.99 a month, billed at $83.99 annually.

Rule 1 is to assign a job to every dollar you earn. Prioritize and plan what you will do with your earnings. When you avoid splurging money after you earn your income, you’ll have the money available to pay all your bills. By planning ahead, you’ll know how much money you have for entertainment and how much you need to set aside for your bills.

Rule 2 is to understand your financial situation. Not all your expenses will show up this month. Some, like major holidays or birthdays or annual car insurance, will be due later on in the year. By getting a broader view of your income and expenses, you won’t spend the money piling up in your checking account because you know that it will be put to use later on in the year.

Rule 3 is to adjust your budget when necessary. When you overspend in one area, then you have to tighten your budget in other areas. This ability to be flexible will help you manage your budget. So, for instance, if you overspend on groceries this month, then you will have to spend less on clothing.

Rule 4 is to “age your money.” If you are following rules one to three, you will start to notice surplus money accumulating in your checking account. At some point, you will be a month ahead of your payments and have retained income earned more than 30 days ago. By spending this aged money, you can put your bills on autopay and can quit stressing about money.

The YNAB mobile app will give you all the features you need to organize your money based on these four rules. You will be able to import your data directly from your bank account in a safe, secure way. It’s one of the best personal finance apps for college students who are just learning how to manage their money.

2. Mint

Mint is another personal budget tool that helps you keep on top of all your financial transactions. It is one of the best free finance apps to use to create a good budget. Although the Mint app was released in 2006, Intuit acquired it in 2009 to replace Quicken. In many ways, Mint is similar to Quicken except that there is no software to install. The Mint app is easy to access from any browser or mobile device.

You can use Mint to track your bills, check your credit score, and get bill alerts.  Although you can’t change the main categories, your Mint budget can be customized with subcategories. You can view your money and your bills in one place and set your preferred alerts. For instance, you can quickly see your bank account, your investment account, your credit accounts, and your student loans, car loans, business loans, or other loans. You can sync all these accounts to Mint, which will then sort them into the right categories for you.

Mint allows you to quickly understand your financial situation. You can get alerts for late fees, upcoming bills, and when you go over budget. You will also be given tips on how to manage your money. It is one of the best budgeting and personal finance apps for someone who already knows how to create a budget and is just looking for a budget app for optimal organization and efficiency.

3. Betterment

Betterment is an online financial advisory tool.  The digital plan costs 0.25% a year and you don’t need a minimum balance. If you would prefer to talk to licensed certified financial planners over the phone, then the fee for the Premium plan is 0.40% a year. The Premium plan requires a minimum balance of $100,000.

This app is ideal for new investors who need guidance, but, of course, it can be used by any investor. When you start, you’ll be asked a few questions to determine your financial goals. Do you want to invest to build wealth? Do you plan to make a large purchase? Do you need to start setting money aside for one of your retirement accounts?

After understanding your financial picture, you’ll be given recommendations on how much you should try and save and how to set up your diversified portfolio. Technology backed by the guidance of financial experts will help you manage your investments. According to their website, Betterment investors will increase their returns by about 2.66% compared to an average investor.

Betterment is classified as a robo-investor. Since it is an automated way of investing, you can think of it as a form of passive investment. A robo-investor is an automated investment platform that allows you to invest in groups of stocks, bonds, and commodities known as exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They are less risky than buying individual assets because assets within the group tend to balance out. So, for example, if one stock plummets, gains in another asset will offset it.

The software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make quicker, smarter decisions based on algorithms. By comparison, traditional investments consist of human managers actively managing your portfolio.

There are four primary advantages of using AI over human managers:

  1. AI is impartial. A human manager often has too many clients to give each one sufficient attention.
  2. AI is not biased. A human manager is often financially incentivized to promote certain assets.
  3. AI is optimized for making smart decisions. A human manager often makes rash decisions.
  4. AI is efficient. A human manager is often slow to execute on promising trades.

Besides ranking as one of the best mobile finance apps, Betterment also has a reputation as being one of the best personal finance apps for robo-investing. It’s also one of the best free finance apps for both Android and iPhone users.

Although Wealthfront is considered a close competitor, Betterment comes out ahead because it has no minimum investment amount or withdrawal minimum. Meanwhile, Wealthfront requires a $500 minimum deposit and a $250 minimum withdrawal. Betterment also offers users advice from licensed financial professionals.

4. Robinhood

Robinhood is one of the best stock finance apps to use if you don’t want to rely on a human broker. There are no fees to open an account, transfer funds, or buy stock– though there are US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and FINRA fees on sell orders.

Robinhood is an online brokerage that allows you to invest directly in the stock market at no charge from any telephone or desktop computer. All the usual restrictions for accessing a brokerage are lifted, like high account management fees and commission trading fees. You don’t have to pay to invest your money, and the app has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to use.

As you build your portfolio, you will learn how to invest in stocks, and Robinhood provides one of the best finance news apps to discover promising investments. Robinhood offers fully encrypted software to keep your personal information safe. Additionally, it is a member of SIPC, which offers $500,000 to protect the assets in your account. Robinhood empowers you as an investor to buy, sell, and trade stocks and exchange-traded funds.

The Best Financing Apps for Budgeting, Saving, and Investing

Choosing the best budget apps or the best personal finance software for investments is ultimately an individual decision.

Best Apps for Personal Finance: YNAB vs Mint

For some, reading a YNAB review about this personal finance software may be enough for them to consider it the perfect budget maker. For others, the Mint finance features may be more appealing.

Best Stock Finance Apps: Betterment vs Robinhood

When it comes to choosing new finance apps, some may prefer the robo-investing simplicity of Betterment while others may lean toward Robinhood as one of the top finance apps for online brokerages.

Managing income and expenses is not easy. It takes considerable fiscal discipline to have enough cash to spend on your desires and still pay all your bills. Tracking payments, debit card transactions, and credit card use is almost a full-time job. Fortunately, budgeting tools make it unnecessary to collect receipts to stay abreast of all your transactions. At a glance, you can use the mobile app that you download from the app store to understand your financial situation.

With these mobile finance apps, you are always aware of how much money you have available in your checking account, credit cards, and other account balances. You also have access to your credit rating (you can get a free copy from Credit Karma). Finance apps also help you monitor changes in your personal income, so you stay consistent with payments of ongoing bills like student loans.

Gradually, as you get better at budgeting, you’ll find money management isn’t as problematic as you once thought. You’ll know how much you have available for spending and what you need to do to save money. Once you’ve got the hang of using budgeting apps like YNAB or Mint, it will be time to turn your attention to personal finance apps for investing like Betterment or Robinhood to grow your wealth. Eventually, the money you earn from your choice of investment apps can also be used for other types of investments that make money.