Suggestions for you
Fintech companies have launched countless tools promising to help us manage our money. From budgeting to investing to credit score monitoring, these tools can help us better understand our finances. Ultimately, the best tools help us manage our money and make smart financial decisions.
With that in mind, here are seven of the best free tools to help you make the most of your money.
Google Sheets is a versatile spreadsheet app. One can easily track spending with Sheets, and there are free budget templates available. I use Sheets to track my investments and net worth.
Google offers finance functions that make it easy to import data on stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. You can track the price, name and even expense ratio of most ETFs and mutual funds. I’ve used these Google finance functions to create a free investment tracking spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet tracks stock, ETF and mutual fund prices. It also monitors my asset allocation and indicates when it’s time to rebalance.
Arguably the best overall money app is Personal Capital. This free tool enables you to track your spending, income, bank accounts, credit cards, home value, crypto and both retirement and taxable investment accounts. Its best features centre around investing.
After connecting your retirement and investing accounts, Personal Capital offers a wealth of data about your portfolio. You can analyse your asset allocation, investing costs, and track your progress toward retirement. Its Fee Analyzer shows you the weighted average cost of your investments and how these costs will affect your wealth over time. And its Investment Analyzer evaluates your portfolio and makes recommendations based on your tolerance for risk.
Personal Capital can also track your investment dividends and interest. It monitors bills as they become due. It also offers a savings plan to help you reach your savings goals. In addition to a website, Personal Capital offers apps for smartphones and tablets.
Mint is one of the original online budgeting apps. As with Personal Capital, users can connect their accounts to Mint to track everything from budgeting to investment accounts. Mint also offers bill and subscription trackers, as well as tools to monitor your credit.
Where Personal Capital is designed with investors in mind, Mint is aimed more toward budgeters. You can create savings goals, expense categories and monitor bills. Mint uses an advertising model to generate revenue, so expect to see targeted offers of credit cards, bank accounts and other financial products.
Portfolio Visualizer is not a budgeting tool. Instead, it offers tools that enable users to evaluate their investments. Once you enter your investments, Portfolio Visualise provides data on performance and risk, among other things. You can also compare your portfolio with other lazy portfolios, such as the 3-Fund Portfolio.
The tool has a host of additional features. You can run Monte Carlo simulations of a portfolio. It enables you to model lump-sum investing, regular contributions or regular withdrawals, making the tool useful regardless of your stage of investing. It also offers factor analysis, portfolio optimization and timing models (e.g., momentum).
Another solid portfolio monitor is Morningstar. While it offers a paid subscription, you can track your portfolio for free (minus some of the premium features like X-Ray). The downside is that users must manually enter and maintain their portfolios. On the positive side, Morningstar offers some of the most robust data and ETFs and mutual funds available to retail investors.
Goodbudget is a budgeting tool that uses the envelopes system of budgeting. Offering both a free and paid version, Goodbudget offers features to pay down debt and set savings goals. The app works on mobile devices, enabling users to sync and monitor their money across devices.
Goodbudget also offers boot camps ideal for those new to budgeting and managing money. The boot camp covers everything from saving an emergency fund to budgeting as a couple to buying a home.
Finally, Trim helps users save money. After you connect accounts to Trim, it analyzes your spending to identify ways you may be able to save money. Once you approve, Trim will negotiate on your behalf to lower your monthly costs on everything from your phone bill to medical expenses. It also identifies old subscriptions you may want to cancel.
Creating an account is free. If you authorise Trim to negotiate on your behalf and it saves you money, Trim charges a fee equal to 15% of the amount saved over the first year. According to Trim, its users save on average $620.