So i’m living the adult life now. For real this time. While i’m making more money that I ever had before, in reality, I’m living on a very small stipend this year…like i’m eligible for food stamps. With the cost of living here in Washington D.C. budgeting and knowing where my money goes is at the utmost importance. Before the move I was doing a good job of recording my expenses by hand in my bullet journal, but now I need something more automated and sophisticated. I’ve been doing research on some of the best money management apps, and utilizing my new DC library card to check out books all about money, so here is a quick list of the resources i’m using to track my spending and learn more about the financial world.
Mint (Free): I chose Mint mostly because I know people who use it and haven’t had any problems (security issues) with it. The app is very user friendly and it has lots of helpful features. There is the most basic option of outlining a budget, which then allows the app to track your spending and show you how much you have spent in each category (groceries, entertainment, etc). In addition, it can remind you when your bills are due, you can check your credit score, and monitor multiple checking/savings accounts. I love the visual image of the pie chart illustrating what categories you spend the most money in. Trust me, it will put you in your place real fast!
- Every Dollar (follows Dave Ramsey’s Zero-Based Budget)
- You Need A Budget ($50)
Qapital: I’ve been using this app to passively save some money over the past 3-4 months.Ya girl is planning to get married one day and weddings aren’t cheap so why not start saving small amounts now?! You can set the app to initiate saving money by selecting different “rules.” As of right now, I just have the app round up my debit swipes to the nearest dollar and every few days it subtracts that amount from my checking account and puts it into my Qapital account. When ever I choose, I can deposit my Qapital account into my checking or savings account. Other rules include: saving x amount of money each time you hit 10k steps via FitBit, saving x amount of money whenever you spend money at a place you may be trying to avoid (Chipotle or Starbucks anyone?), saving x amount of money when you spend less money than intended at a designated store, and MANY more.
This is one of the first books I got with my new DC library card! So far, the book has been a great introduction to the world of money and finance. It is written in an easy Q&A format with lots of subheadings that make all the content easy to digest. The book discusses topics such as setting financial goals, finding/managing a side hustle, how to keep your finances organized, when to know when you need to hire a professional, how to make a budget, saving, debt, credit, and teaching kids healthy money habits. As you can see it is pretty comprehensive and I’m really using it to try to understand the lay of the land so I can truly pinpoint what I want to understand more deeply.
Morning Brew: If you’re familiar with theSkimm, the Morning Brew is another daily morning newsletter. It is similar in format but instead of being about the news and current events, it breaks down what is currently going on in the financial world. Who is selling what company, what the DOW or NASDAQ are doing, and plenty of other things I don’t understand. I may not understand everything, but that’s the point. I’m trying to expose myself to what I don’t understand so I know what I need to dig deeper into.
Do you have any money tips, or good advice to share? I would love to hear your money strategies!