4 Must Haves: Personal Finance Apps (Guest Post)

There’s a first time for almost everything.  And that even includes guests posts on this blog!  Recently Money Done Right reached out and pitched a few ideas for a guest post to Freedom 33.  Because we all know how much I believe in the power of tracking (I decided I need to gain a better water-drinking habit and started tracking daily intake, which led to me drinking an average of almost 4.5L over the last week!), we eventually settled on the topic of personal finance apps.

Not only do I understand the power of tracking our progress – I’ve gotten a handle on my diet, finances, water consumption, driving habits and once upon a time quit smoking this way – but I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the process.  I have used Mint for a long time to track my finances, but ultimately still turn to my own spreadsheet as it serves me exactly how I want to be served, and I still haven’t managed to fully bend Mint to my will.  

Nevertheless, I am excited to hear about other options that may save me some time and allow me to finally move away from my clunky (but effective) Google Sheets spreadsheet method of tracking my finances.

It can be confusing and overwhelming to start monitoring your money more closely, but there are more tools than ever to help you understand and manage your finances. You can find effective mobile apps to cover a variety of elements of personal finance.

This article will identify four of the most powerful personal finance apps currently available. These are great places to start for anyone new to budgeting. Mobile apps make personal finance more convenient and help you stick to your financial goals.

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The Happiness Index

For what’s money without happiness?

Or hard times without the people you love?

-J. Cole, Love Yourz

No, this is not a discussion of some hip new ETF that I have found. Instead, I wanted to bring to your attention some recent research that may change the way we quantify happiness, which has all sorts of implications, even for you and your own Freedom goals.

The #FIRE community was borne out of a call-to-action to the middle class to reconsider the things they value most and to come to terms with the fact that a rich life was measurable by so much more than simply money. Bloggers like Mr. Money Mustache and Early Retirement Extreme preached logical frugality, simple indulgence, mindful and constant skill development and a consideration of the impact our actions have on others and the planet itself. It was a call to wake up from our sleep-walk towards endless economic growth at all costs no matter how unhappy and unhealthy it makes us and to re-direct our resources in order to allow ourselves to become the master of our own domains again.

A lot of this sentiment still exists within the community, but in some corners – and perhaps in those that overlap somewhat with the more traditional world of Personal Finance – it has simply become a collection of affluent middle class people telling stories of how well their ETFs and Index Funds have been performing (during the best 10 years in history for such investments mind you) and then reporting their net worth to each other on a monthly basis. A lot of it is hardly meaningful, and seems to have let go of the ‘why’ of it all. I see very few to zero ‘Charitable Givings’ or ‘Ecological Impact’ reports provided to summarize their social and natural capital gains or losses alongside their ‘Net Worth Update’ articles reporting their financial capital.

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What You Say You Are and the Food of Thought

What you’re thinking about, you’re becoming.

-Mohammed Ali

Your perception is your reality. We move through the world with a story about ourselves in our heads that we call our identity. We tell ourselves that we’re ‘rich’ or that we’re ‘poor’, and the words we choose to use to describe our reality become real in some way or another, regardless of our account balances. We add to this identity and subtract from it over time, usually in response to some crisis beyond our control life has thrown at us, and call that growth. People ‘find’ and ‘lose’ God, for example. It happens all the time.

We hold stories about others as well, both collectively and as individuals. The way we see the world and our place within it is our reality, regardless of how much of the world we have actually seen, experienced or studied.

Actual reality may or may not be objective and absolute, but our perception of it can change – wilfully or not – and therefore so can our reality, which matters greatly to our sense of contentment, satisfaction and happiness. 

This is a powerful tool, and should be wielded accordingly. This simple little truth can be demonstrated and understood in various ways, and has the power to transform you.  That includes your finances, your lifestyle and the impact you have.

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How to Change Your Mind: Right Thought

This post contains affiliate links. I choose not to use ads on my website, but I will sometimes link to products I actually use or am interested in. If you also buy them, I will make a small commission.

The brief literary essay As a Man Thinketh (USA/Can) by James Allen in 1902 – about a 30-minute read on the power of right thought on our minds and our lives – opens with this encapsulating poem:


Mind is the Master power that molds
and makes;
And Man is Mind, and evermore he
takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping
what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a
thousand ills:-
He thinks in secret, and it comes to
pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.

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