5 Apps to Help You Cope With the Coronavirus Recession
Point of Interest
Gain a sense of financial control over your spending and your savings account during the 2020 pandemic recession with these five money management apps.
As we enter Month Three of coronavirus quarantines, you may be feeling down — even powerless. Combined with historically high rates of unemployment and a depressed stock market, it may even seem downright frustrating that we must continue paying bills and managing debt obligations as if nothing has changed.
However, there are ways you can gain a modicum of control over your life and your savings account. Your everyday spending may be lower than usual, so now is the perfect time to re-evaluate how you’ve spent money in the past and how you can prepare yourself for a more financially secure future. Here are five innovative apps to help you manage your bills and finances.
Owned by Propel, a startup whose goal is “making America’s safety net more user-friendly,” the app Fresh EBT lets you instantly check your food stamp balance on your phone. Traditionally, SNAP beneficiaries receive benefits loaded onto cards at the beginning of each month, but it’s not always easy to access that balance. As a result, going to the grocery store may be a gamble each time.
With Fresh EBT, you can check your balance and spending history, access coupons and discount cards, locate vendors that accept EBT, and find other types of assistance through food pantries and nonprofits. If you have any questions about SNAP in your state, you can find updated information on every state’s program through the Fresh EBT website.
Launched in 2015, Trim is an AI assistant that scans your purchases and automatically detects ways you can save money. Recurring charges and subscriptions are often ripe for elimination, so Trim flags each of these transactions. If you don’t want to pay it anymore, you can ask Trim to cancel the subscription for you — a valuable feature if you don’t want to be on hold with customer service for two hours.
Noticed that your Comcast bill is up, while the plan’s listed price is much lower? You can also have Trim do the dirty work of negotiating down your bills by connecting your service providers to your Trim accounts. Submit your most recent bill, and Trim will try to lower your bill as much as 30%. Just know that if you save money on the negotiation, then Trim will take 33% of those yearly savings as a fee.
Acorns will invest your spare change and turn it into savings. If you find that your paychecks don’t go as far as you want each month, Acorns helps by automatically rounding up each transaction and storing those coins for safekeeping.
Acorns offers a few different places to allocate your savings. You can open a checking account with a debit card, open an investment account with access to stocks, bonds, and ETFs, or save for retirement with an “Acorns Later” IRA. Instead of sneaky management fees, Acorns is upfront about its monetization model. For $1, $2, or $3 a month, you can access different tiers of Acorns products.
With Prism, you can see your whole financial picture on one screen. Connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and recurring bills so you can see everything at a glance, instead of toggling back and forth between multiple accounts. This free app allows you to track bills and sends reminders about due dates, so you’re not left scrambling the day after. You can see these expected expenses in either a list or calendar view.
Blooom is a robo-advisor laser-focused on retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s. It’s ideal for the passive investor and the person who selected one mutual fund for their retirement fund and hoped for the best. Blooom takes a big-picture look at your retirement savings and finds a low-cost investment strategy that’s right for your needs. It’s particularly skilled at looking for diversification opportunities and avoiding unnecessary fees. Depending on the number of accounts you have, a plan with Blooom will cost as little as $95 a year and as much as $250 a year. The higher price tiers come with access to a financial advisor.