smart spending

3 apps that simplify millennials' financial lives

As smartphones have changed everything from the way consumers shop, travel and even date, they have also switched up the way people manage day-to-day finances. Checkbooks are outdated, and chances are if you're under 30, you probably can't remember the last time you used one.

It can be easy for millennials to feel overwhelmed by the number of money management apps that are available, so we asked financial advisers, a mobile security expert and a millennial explain what their favorite money management apps are and why they love them. These 3 apps are secure, simple, compatible with a millennial's busy lifestyle and, best of all, free.

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Mint

Mint, money management app
  • Allows you to view all your personal finance accounts on one screen.
  • Categorizes your transactions (groceries, bills and utilities).
  • Allows you to create your own budgets and adjust them for different expenses.
  • Provides you with a free credit score.
  • Sends bill reminders and alerts you when you're approaching a budget limit.
  • Enables you to set financial goals.

Mint is highly recommended by Adam Ely, a mobile security expert who founded Bluebox Security and drove security innovation at companies including Salesforce, TiVo and Walt Disney.

"For goals and reporting, Mint has been a long proven, valuable app for any generation, and backed by Intuit and their security practices," Ely says. "I like Mint for its ease of use and flexibility, which allows people to get up and running quickly and change their goals as life changes."

Ben Wacek, the founder of Wacek Financial Planning, which specializes in working with Gen X and Gen Y clients, touts Mint as his favorite money management app for millennials.

“I like Mint for its ease of use and flexibility.”

"Mint is amazing because it allows the user to see their entire financial situation on one screen and even more importantly, it allows for the ability to easily track spending in different budgeted categories on a month-to-month basis," Wacek says. "It also provides some great reports that allow the user to track their spending, net worth, debt, etc. over long periods of time."

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Digit

Digit, money management app
  • After connecting to your bank account, Digit analyzes your income and spending, finding small chunks of money that it can put aside for you.
  • Every few days, the app moves that small chunk of money from your checking account to a "Digit savings" account.
  • You can easily transfer money from Digit savings back to your checking account with a simple text message.
  • The app has a "no overdraft guarantee," promising to never transfer more money to your Digit savings account then you can afford.

Dominique Broadway, a personal finance expert, recommends the app for millennials, calling it a "tool that basically tricks you into saving money."

“I have saved tons of extra cash with this app.”

Digit "pulls small amounts out of your bank account, and this is money that typically would be wasted on random things," Broadway says. "The app has a fancy algorithm built in that determines how much you can save based on your spending patterns. I have saved tons of extra cash with this app and it has helped many millennials jump-start their travel or emergency fund."


Level Money

Level Money, money management app
  • Allows you to plan for necessary expenses and to set a savings goal, and informs you of the leftover money you have, dubbed as "Spendable" money.
  • Informs you how much Spendable money you have spent each month, and how much you have left to spend with a simple graphic.
  • Tracks and groups expenses (such as Ubers or groceries) month-to-month or annually
  • Features a daily spending guide to help you stay on track.

Pierce Crosby, a 25-year-old resident of the New York City borough of Brooklyn who operates a business for a tech startup, is a fan of money management apps and commends Level Money as his favorite one.

“What I love about it is the simplicity.”

"What I love about it is the simplicity; it connects to my bank accounts and tracks my spending activity," says Crosby, who has previously worked with a team on Thomson Reuters' financial column Reuters Breakingviews. "What's cool about that is when I start falling out of the 'norm,' and spending too much, it quickly alerts me."

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