Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What’s On Your Phone? - My List of Financial Apps

I try not to clutter up my phone with a ton of apps. In the past I’ve rotated through several financial apps but most of them were eventually deleted because I found that I didn’t use them and they were just taking up space on my phone. So, while this app list might not be very long, you can be assured that they are good ones that I consistently rely on. Also note that these are all free apps, I’ve never paid for an app and don’t plan on it in the future, so I’m not trying to sell you anything.

1.       Personal Capital” – I use this app first thing when I get to work every morning. It is so convenient to be able to open an app, type in a PIN, and have instant access to see all of the movements that have been happening on all of our accounts. Since I track our net worth daily, I rely on the front page of Personal Capital for all of my account balances. If there has been and changes in my savings, checking, or credit card balances I can click on that account and see the detailed history behind it to verify that I know what each purchase was for and that there aren’t any surprises or fraudulent activities. This habit has actually allowed me to catch a fraudulent credit card charge just a few hours after it was made and before it had left the pending status. And if you don’t have a Personal Capital account I strongly suggest getting one, it’s free, safe, and an absolute personal finance game changer.

2.       “Real Time Stocks Track & Alert” – There are several free apps out there that will give you real time access to the movements in the stock market. I stumbled upon this one after only trying out a few and it has stuck. I know that it offers a lot more functions than I care to use but I haven’t bothered digging into it too much yet, maybe someday. What I like about this app – it makes it so simple to save a few of the stocks that I care about the most and quickly monitor how they are doing throughout the day. By selecting the stock I can dig a bit deeper into its past performance and even see the discussions that others are having about it that often give better insight for why it is performing the way it is that day.  

3.       My credit card provider – I have this app so that I can monitor credit card activity, pay my monthly bill (on time and in full as soon as it’s posted so that I never have to worry about interest fees), and use their credit monitor feature. They provide me with a free weekly update of my TransUnion score so I make sure to keep an eye on this number every Monday morning. I would strongly suggest having your credit card provider’s app, whoever it may be.

4.       My bank – If your bank has an app please download it. I have two banks. One is a large nationwide bank that we’ve used for years and do the majority of our banking through. But their closest physical location is almost 2 hours away from where we now live so I have to do all of my banking online. So having their app makes banking so much quicker and easier, and it’s the only way I could deposit checks with them. Our other bank is a local credit union that holds our mortgage and I hate that they don’t have an app and make me log into their website to see my balances (and they don’t sync to personal capital) and call or stop in to make any transfers/mortgage payments.

5.       Vanguard – I use this one since all of my taxable investing is done at Vanguard. The main features that I use on the app is to buy shares of my mutual funds on the 1st of each month and see what my performance rates have been for each of my funds periodically.

6.       Fidelity – I have this one since my 401(k) is administered by Fidelity. I actually don’t use it very often but keep it around since it’s easier than logging in online if I do need to see something in my 401(k) or HSA accounts.

7.       GasBuddy – I use this often to see where the cheapest gas is. Since my gas gauge and odometer don’t work in my car I have no way of knowing how much gas I have at any given time. So my solution is to only really drive it to work and back and fill up on my way home every Friday. I’ve found that in a week I use about ¾ of a tank so it’s never been a problem to do this. I have to commute about 25 miles so the gas prices often differ widely along the way. So to make sure that I know which gas station I should be going to I always check Gas Buddy before leaving work on Friday. I can pull up a map and easily see the current prices all along my route home. There is no way to quantify how much this app has saved me but I would guess that it easily saves my an average of $0.75 per tank – so roughly $40 per year?

8.       OverDrive – Ok, so it’s not a financial app. But it has saved me a lot and helped my finances out since I use it to listen to finance (and other) books while I’m at work, in the car, or out running. It’s so nice to have access to all this information without ever having to pay for it.

9.       OfferUp – I’ve tried using Craigslist to sell stuff but I can’t stand all the hoops you have to jump through to list something on it. While OfferUp doesn’t get near the amount of traffic that Craigslist does, I use it because it is so easy to list something on it. And, while Craigslist posts expire and thus require constant maintenance if something doesn’t sell quickly, OfferUp posts stay up until you remove the post. There are some things that I get contacted about here and there that I put up for sell several months ago and haven’t had to do any post maintenance. Contacting people to ask questions and make offers on their goods is all done inside the app and very easy. I’ve made $90 off it so far but don’t really put any effort into it.

10.   LinkedIn – I really don’t like social media, but in the professional world we live in LinkedIn is a must unfortunately. I actually don’t use this app very often but keep it because I would never know about and LinkedIn notifications or messages without it since I never think to actually log in online. Now that I’ve started looking for a new job once again I try to open up the app at least once a week just to explore and connect with people that might be able to aide me in finding new employment. 

11.   Digit – I actually deleted this one this week since I closed my account after they released their news that they are going to start charging a monthly fee L. But for a year they lived on my home screen and I interacted with them regularly so I thought that I might as well mention them.  


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