Canada | Personal Finance

6 apps that’ll help keep track of your personal finances 

It’s never too late to start managing your money better. Start with one of these easy-to-use apps.

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Young woman using smart device to check finances at a coffee shopDisclosing your PIN or other account information may violate the agreement with your financial institution, so check with them first before using any third-party services (Getty Images/ferrantraite)

Whether you’re managing debt, saving to buy a home or planning for retirement, figuring out your finances can make your head spin. Luckily, these apps (available for iOS and Android) can help you get a handle on things. However, disclosing your PIN or other account information may violate the agreement with your financial institution, so check with them first before using any third-party services.   

1) Canadian Mortgage App

Housing affordability was top of mind in this year’s federal budget with the announcement of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. With the Canadian Mortgage App, users can calculate how much they can afford for a home, compare different scenarios (factoring in incidental expenses such as a building inspection and legal fees), find a mortgage rate and submit the application directly to a broker registered on the platform. 

2) Debt Payoff Planner

Managing debt was the second biggest financial concern for Canadians, according to the 2018 Meancrutex Finance Study. With the Debt Payoff Planner, users can assemble their debts in one place to compare interest payments, terms, outstanding balances, etc. Choose one of two paying off strategies: “snowball” (pay the smallest amounts first) or “avalanche” (highest balance first). A free version is available for download or there’s an option to pay for more advanced functionalities (US$1 a month for two years).

3) Mint

Created in 2006, this app manages all users’ accounts (current, credit cards, mortgages, RRSPs, RESPs, etc.) in one place. Budgets can be planned by category and alerts can be set up for upcoming bills. Concerned about entering your card numbers and passwords? Not to worry, the app requires multi-factor authentication and allows users to delete their information remotely should their device get lost or is stolen.

4) Mylo

This app leverages the snowball effect of small savings by rounding up every purchase made to the nearest dollar. If C$3.25 is spent on coffee, the app will take an extra $0.75 and deposit it into the user’s Mylo account made up of ETFs managed by Tactex Asset Management. It’s a great way to get saving, especially for anyone who hasn’t even thought about it or thinks they can’t afford it. A $1 monthly fee applies.

5) PocketGuard 

This bank account and credit card aggregator quickly organizes expenses and tells users what they can afford to spend. Access to the app requires a two-factor authentication profile (combination of PIN and password generated at each login) for greater security. Most of the tracking functions are free but subscribers can pay (US$3.99 per month, or US$34.99 for the year) for additional functions like customized categories. 

6) YNAB (You Need a Budget)

More than a simple expense tracking app, YNAB lets users plan and make the most of their budget. Enter goals and the app helps participants achieve them using four rules: give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches and grow your money. It’s also an online community with dozens of videos, podcasts and virtual workshops addressing a wide range of topics (expense tracking, debt, real estate, the stock market, etc.). A subscription costs about US$7 per month, but there are many free resources to give users an idea of whether the app is right for them before purchasing.


MONEY SAVVY

There are several ways to track your daily (or almost daily) expenses:

Your financial institution: BMO's Manage my Finances, RBC's myFinanceTracker, Desjardin's My Budget and other apps will show you where you're at.
Checkout51: earn cash back on a range of current products. 
• Flashfood: receive discounts on foods with a lower shelf life. 
• Flipp: get all the latest flyers (alternative: Reebee)
GasBuddy: search for gas prices and calculate how much you'll need to spend on a trip. 
• Hopper: find out when to buy your airplane tickets to get the best deals. 
• Salewhale: find your favourite items on sale near you.