This week, I’m bringing another important way you can use your Apple devices to improve your life: Money management on iPhone.
In this post, I’ll cover the basics of managing your finances on your iPhone. I’ve broken this up into four different sections that I think should be approached in the order I’ve described:
- Read about money management on iPhone
- Find budgeting apps that work for you
- Build up your savings on iPhone
- Start investing using apps for money management on iPhone
In my opinion, you’ll start to turn your whole financial situation around by following these steps. They’re all practical things that anyone can try out, and none will cost you too much. You can get through to the end of this post without needing to pay for anything.
Also, I feel like it needs to be said: I’m not being sponsored by any of the books or apps mentioned in this post. These are resources that I believe in.
Alright, let’s get into it!
Start reading about money management on iPhone
First things first, I think everyone should read at least one book on personal finance. And since iPhone comes with the Books app for free, you can read any of these books about money management on iPhone. For those who don’t want to read a book, I’ve also included a website that I think is almost as good as a book for building up your money management know-how.
I Will Teach You How To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
This is the first book I read on personal finance, and it had a huge impact on my finances. Within a few days of reading this book I had opened my first credit card, started using a budgeting app, and changed my bank account. And this year, using the tools I learned from this book, I finally opened a retirement fund.
While I hate the title of this book (it makes it sound so scammy), I think it’s great because of its accessibility. Ramit is a very funny and down-to-earth author. This quality makes it easy for anyone of any age or skill level to get into this book and learn more about money management on iPhone.
Another thing that I love about I Will Teach You How To Be Rich is how actionable it is. You’re not just going to learn about things like interest rates and inflation. Ramit will tell you which banks you should use, who you should open a savings account with, when you should start investing for retirement, and so on. If you’re a total beginner, this will give you all of the fundamentals.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
The Millionaire Next Door is a book by the same author of the book The Millionaire Mind. Both books aim to look at the lives and habits of self-made millionaires in an attempt to pull strategies from their lives that non-millionaires can learn from.
Admittedly, this book is not my cup of tea. I think striving to be a millionaire isn’t the best motivation for most people. However, the prospect of becoming a millionaire as well as the lifestyles of millionaires is very intriguing to lots of people. If you find yourself in this group, this book can give you a lot of motivation.
What I think this book does best is back up its assertions with data. Stanley did his research in writing this novel. Everything is backed by data, so you can take the lessons to heart. The overarching ideas in the book revolve around spending habits and prioritizing your savings and investments.
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
I would consider this book the “graduate” book to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Though it does cover the basics, it’s more about building habits that will last you a lifetime. This book is a nine-step process designed to improve your financial habits in all of its aspects.
The tools in this book have been put to use for the last 20+ years. There are also success stories of individuals who were able to retire in their thirties after following the steps in this book.
While I think that’s an unlikely goal for most people, it’s certainly inspiring. And it’s proof that putting in the work this book outlines can have a positive impact on your life. If you want lifestyle-esque advice for money management on iPhone, check this one out.
Last but not least is NerdWallet! And no, NerdWallet is not a book, but most of you probably already knew that. No, NerdWallet is a website and an app that are both free to use.
NerdWallet is essentially a really good online site dedicated to providing you with solid financial information. Think of it as a Wikipedia for money. You can look up any money management question on your iPhone and find an answer on NerdWallet.
The site and app also have information on things like spending and investing habits, though the site is generally more pragmatic. It focuses on things like comparing credit cards, bank accounts, etc.
Find budgeting apps that work for you
Next up, we have budgeting apps. If you read through some of the books above, you’ll find lots of suggestions to ignore budgeting apps in favor of general habits.
While general habits are good for some, lots of people (including myself) benefit from the organization and clarity that a budget offers. In the same way that some people can stay in shape by improving their habits and others respond better to calorie counting, it’ll come down to you whether budgeting apps are right for you.
If you’re interested in looking at more budgeting apps for money management on iPhone, I wrote a post recently with far more apps to choose from. So check that out if you want more choices than the three listed below!
First up is YNAB, short for You Need A Budget. This app well-loved because it’s essentially a personal finance course and budgeting app wrapped into one. If you want to skip the reading and get straight to budgeting, check out YNAB.
This app comes with varieties of content, including video and text. So you won’t need to worry about getting bored. I recommend this to the reader who just wants “that one thing” that will help them improve their budget.
One of the drawbacks of this app is that it doesn’t automatically track your financial accounts. You can’t link it to your bank account and watch it automatically update. Also, it’s paid, so you’ll have to spend $84 each year to use it. Again, though, it’s meant to condense all of the resources in this post into one app.
On the other end of things is Pocket Guard. Pocket Guard is an automated app, so you can link it to your bank accounts and automatically track your spending and expenses.
Unlike most automated budgeting apps, however, Pocket Guard isn’t passive. It constantly sends you notifications, makes suggestions based on your spending, and is trying to get you to engage with your money.
This makes it a very powerful app. If you’re the kind of person who wants to avoid dealing with your budget, Pocket Guard is for you. It also helps you find expenses you should cancel. All-around this is a great tool for money management on iPhone.
Lastly, we have my favorite app for money management on iPhone, Daily Budget. Daily Budget is one of the most involved apps in the personal finance section, so you’ll need to keep up with it.
I love it for this reason. It keeps me involved with my money while doing all of the math and storage for me. I don’t make any purchases without logging it in this app and watching my budget update accordingly.
This app has also been a tremendous help in understanding my earnings and setting long-term savings goals. I highly recommend it if you’re someone who can stay disciplined enough to use it.
Build up your savings to improve your money management on iPhone
Once you’ve started to get a grasp on your budget, the next step you’re going to want to pursue is accruing savings. Recent studies have shown that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings – far below the recommended six months of income.
Building up your savings and being prepared for emergency expenses is critical to financial peace of mind. Fortunately, you don’t need a professional financial advisor. The below apps will help you start saving through money management on iPhone.
Qapital was one of the first apps I tried for increasing my savings and it’s still one of the best. It uses a simple three-step method to help you automatically reach your savings goals.
One of the first things you do when setting up the app is choosing whether you want to save solo or as a couple (perfect for partners).
Then, you set your savings goals. If you read the money management resources above, you’ll know that saving up an emergency fund of six months is priority number one. From there, you can add in things like savings for a car, a medical expense, a down payment, etc.
Finally, you’ll set up automated routines in Qapital to make your money management on iPhone effortless. You can add simple rules like rounding up, adding a certain amount to your savings when you make a certain purchase, and so on. Qapital adds to your savings goals first, then sets cash aside for your fixed expenses, then leaves the rest to you.
If Qapital sounds like too much work, then you’ll Digit. Digit is an app that does everything for you. You link it to your checking account, and it instantly starts analyzing your income, expenses, and spending habits to automatically set money aside that you’re never going to miss.
You can think of Digit as an AI financial advisor. It uses algorithms to find the right times and amounts to save for you so you’re never out of money because of your savings account.
The one drawback of Digit is that it costs $3/month to use, so if you aren’t saving at least that much each month you’re not going to break even. For most people, though, the cost is minimal. And if it helps you improve your money management on iPhone, then it’s paying for itself.
You’d have to be sleeping under a rock to not have heard of Acorns by this point. In case you don’t know, though, Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your purchases and puts the remaining pennies/dollars into an investing account.
Acorns then takes these small amounts and starts investing them in the stock market for you. You just choose an aggressive portfolio (good for people under 35) or a conservative portfolio (good for people 35+) and let it handle the rest.
Since your savings are being invested in the stock market, you’ll see better returns than you would on a standard savings account. And because the amounts you’re moving to savings are presumably small, you probably won’t even notice they’re gone.
The biggest drawback of Acorns, though, is the fees. If you have less than $500 in Acorns, there’s a good chance that Acorns’s fees are going to gouge any gains you might be seeing. For this reason, I recommend starting with Qapital until you have around $1,000 in savings, and then moving that money to Acorns as an alternative to a traditional savings account.
I should note that Acorns is a bad alternative to a traditional investment account. The fees and lack of flexibility mean you’ll almost always be getting a worse deal than investing in stocks the old school way. Compared to a typical savings account, though, which offers around 0.07% interest every year, Acorns is the better option for money management on iPhone.
Start investing using apps for money management on iPhone
The last up on our money management on iPhone journey is investing. After you’ve built up an emergency fund equal to six months of income, you’re going to want to start investing your cash. This will help you save for retirement, bigger financial goals, and increase your financial security.
Investing isn’t always simple, though. I’ve written a post on the best investing apps for iPhone before, which you can check out by clicking here. Below, I’ve included a few of those apps that will make investing on the iPhone substantially simpler.
Learn: How To Invest In Stocks
‘Learn’ is an app I’ve promoted on AppleToolBox more than once, and for good reason. It’s a completely free app built to help individuals such as yourself start their investing journey off right.
The app is straightforward: It includes courses, lessons, and content for you to complete. As you progress, you’ll learn more about how to invest your money in various accounts and assets.
Whether you already know the basics or don’t know anything at all, this app will help you build your investing know-how. This is not only important for improving your confidence, but also for investing effectively and with reduced risk.
Square Cash App
The Square Cash App (or Cash App, as it’s more commonly known), is one of the most popular investing apps on the iPhone. And for good reason! It’s extremely easy to use, has a minimum of just $1, and doesn’t charge any fees or impose any limits.
Cash App also has some neat features like Bitcoin investing and real-time insights. If you’re someone who’s intimidated by traditional investment firms like Fidelity or Vanguard, then Cash App can be a gentler introduction to money management on iPhone.
Lastly, there’s Schwab. Schwab is a much more traditional investing app. That means it’ll be a bit more difficult to learn how to use than most of the other apps presented in this article. I actually think the interface is pretty bad, unfortunately.
If you can look past that, however, Schwab is one of the best places to open a brokerage account. It charges almost no fees, has almost no minimums, and allows you to link track non-Schwab savings/checking/brokerage accounts. Plus, you can open a general brokerage account, a retirement account, and even a standard checking account.
This makes Schwab an all-in-one option for your money management on iPhone. You might need to do a bit of studying up to get started, but once you get the hang of it it’s an excellent option.
Take advantage of money management on iPhone today!
Being able to perform money management on iPhone is a game-changer for everyone. It makes high-profile tools more accessible. The biggest takeaway is to start today – the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get your finances in order.
For more tips, guides, and news on everything Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog!
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