They say we’re never too young to learn good financial habits and start thinking about our future. Of course, we can read countless articles that give financial advice about how we need to stop buying fancy $5 coffees every day — as if we’ve been able to buy $5 coffees every day in the first place. Much easier and less out of touch with our reality is to download an app or two. Here are 10 finance apps for young people to help get us started.
A great financial habit to get into is to learn how to budget. Mint is arguably the best free budget app: it’s certainly one of the oldest and most popular. You can link all your financial accounts, including loans: Mint supports all of Canada’s major banks. As you spend money, the app will track it and categorize it according to the type of expense, such as food or gym — you can customize these categories. The app helps you to create a budget and alerts you when there’s a bill payment coming up or when your funds are getting low. It even gives you access to free credit scores. The best part? The app itself is free.
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If you tend to overspend but can’t be bothered with a complicated budgeting app, PocketGuard is a good option for you. Like most of the best apps that make budgeting easier, PocketGuard syncs with your bank account to keep track of how much you’re spending and how much you can afford to spend. You can set spending limits for different categories so you can curb those weaknesses when it comes to dishing out more than you can afford to. The app calculates how much is left in your pocket, so you can see if you can afford those new jeans. It also has a cool feature to help you lower your bills by negotiating better rates. PocketGuard is simple and it’s free.
Wally is another free app that helps you budget. Like other budgeting apps, it allows you to keep track of your income and how you spend your money in different categories. You can scan and upload bills, receipts, warranties and documents like lease agreements so you don’t have to worry about losing them. The app lets you schedule payment reminders too. A great feature of Wally is that it also lets you sync with others, which is very useful if you share expenses with a partner, relatives or roommates.
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One way to reach your financial goals if you tend to rack up credit card debt is to use cash instead. However, that’s not always practical. Enter Toronto-based KOHO: a reloadable, prepaid Visa card so you can still enjoy the ease of swiping but which makes it more difficult to overspend. The free KOHO app helps you to budget and set savings goals, manage joint accounts and pay your bills. With the Roundup feature you can automatically save your spare change. You also earn cash back on all your purchases — the amount depends on whether you use the free version or have upgraded to KOHO Premium — and you also earn interest on the money you haven’t spent. KOHO Premium — which costs $9 a month or $84 a year — comes with extra perks, including free financial coaching.
One of the best money-saving tips for people who struggle with saving is to round up your purchases. Moka — previously Mylo — is another proudly Canadian app that comes with a roundup feature to help you squirrel away your spare change. That spare change goes into a low-cost exchange-traded fund, so Moka not only helps you save but sets you on the path to investing without the headache. The app can also negotiate better rates to lower your bills, offers cash back on purchases and provides financial advice. If you want to give back, there’s a feature that lets you donate your spare change to any of 85,000 registered charities in Canada.
If you love online shopping, the Rakuten app can help mitigate the damage to your bank account. The app allows you to shop for just about anything over 750 of your favourite stores — whether it’s a cool new toy for your furry friend at Rover or all the best products at the Sephora sale — and get as much as 30 per cent cash back. You can sign up for free.
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RBC is not only one of the Canadian companies with great customer service but they also provide great products. One of these is Ampli, a new kid on the block when it comes to cash-back apps. With Ampli, you connect your cards to the app — they don’t have to be RBC accounts but they do need to be from a Canadian financial institution — and the app then allows you to earn cash back on your purchases with their partner brands, which include Sephora, DoorDash, Fairmont, WestJet and Hudson’s Bay. If you already take part in those brands’ own loyalty programs, Ampli gives you cash back on top of the rewards you’re already earning. Ampli is free to join.
Similar to Ampli is Paymi, another cash-back app run by a major Canadian bank: CIBC. You connect your card to the app and earn cash back on your online or in-store purchases at Paymi’s partner brands, which include Kiehl’s, Adidas, Staples, Apple and LuluLemon.
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If you need a beginner’s guide on how to start investing in Canada, you need to download the Wealthsimple Invest app. Brought to you by the Canadian online investment management company Wealthsimple, this is the best personal finance app, making investment easy for young people. You can use the app to open an RRSP, a TFSA, a joint business account or a host of other types of accounts or to transfer an existing account to Wealthsimple. You choose the risk level you’re comfortable with and the company invests your money across the stock market, using low-fee exchange-traded funds. You can personalize your portfolio by opting for, for instance, the roundup feature or Halal investing. There are different plans with different benefits, based on how much you deposit.
Questrade is Canada’s largest discount investment broker. With the Questrade app, you can build your investment portfolio by yourself and save on fees or you can get a pre-built portfolio for lower fees. The app allows you to get a quick overview of your investment portfolio, manage a variety of different types of investment accounts, transfer money between accounts and withdraw money from your Questrade account. This is the best app for finance knowledge if you want to get hands-on experience in DIY investing, with resources like webinars that cover the trade for every level of investor, from beginner to expert.
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