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    15 Finance Tools You Should Totally Use Because They're Totally Free

    Money management has never been easier.

    We hope you love the services we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them.

    1. Mint helps you keep track of your budget and all your bank, retirement, and investment balances.

    Mint / Via mint.intuit.com

    A good budget can help you pay down debt, save more money, and spend more thoughtfully — and it doesn't have to be complicated! Mint categorizes your expenses (into a very nice-looking pie chart, might I add) and tracks your spending each month. It'll even alert you when you've gone over your budget in a particular category.

    But that's not all... The app can also monitor your subscriptions, set specific saving goals and track your progress toward them, and — my personal favorite — it connects to all of your savings, investment, debt, and retirement accounts so you can easily get a clear picture of your balances and net worth.

    2. Experian lets you monitor your credit report and FICO credit score (and could even help you *boost* your score).

    Experian / Via apps.apple.com

    You might have recently learned the importance of monitoring your FICO credit score. In short, there are a number of different credit-scoring models out there (so yes, you actually have multiple scores), but your FICO score is the one that's used in over 90% of lending decisions in the US. So it's a really good idea to keep an eye on this score to make sure it's nice 'n' healthy before you apply for a credit card or other important loan. Experian helps you track your score for free and can also match you to cards with rates and offers that suit your needs.

    Experian also has a Boost feature that could help bump up your score a bit by adding your bill payment history to your credit report. After you've signed up, all you have to do is connect the bank account you use to pay your phone bill, utilities, and ~streaming subscriptions~, and you might see your score increase instantly. Just think of it as a little reward for making these monthly payments on time!

    3. SmartAsset gives you access to online calculators that can help you create solid estimates for your debt, investments, and savings over time.

    Student loan calculator screenshot
    SmartAsset / Via smartasset.com

    SmartAsset is actually a hub of resources around home buying, credit cards, retirement, taxes, banking, and more. But they have a ~wealth~ of calculators that you can use for free to help, say, figure out how much money you will have saved after investing $100 per month for 10 years at an interest rate of 7%.

    You can play around with their calculators for student loans, personal loans, refinancing, life insurance, investing, capital gains taxes, savings, 401(k) accounts, federal income taxes, and more.

    4. Personal Capital allows you to manage your wealth in a ~comprehensive~ way and even gives you access to a financial adviser who can review your portfolio.

    Retirement tracker on a laptop
    Personal Capital / Via personalcapital.com

    Similar to Mint, Personal Capital lets you connect and review all your accounts in one convenient place. It includes tools that are meant to help you forecast your finances long-term to plan for retirement. If you're after a slightly more advanced platform, the app lets you compare your portfolio's allocation to other recommended allocations so you can gain insight on how well your investments are doing.

    Oh! And did we mention it can identify any high fees you might be paying for investing in mutual funds? Yep, it does that too. This service is overall great for someone who is heavily invested or wants to build their investments in a strategic way.

    5. PocketGuard pretty much takes all the math out of no-budget budgeting.

    PocketGuard / Via pocketguard.com

    If your bank account could talk, it would probably sound like PocketGuard. The app shows you how much money you can spend after all your necessary expenses are accounted for. It also organizes your spending into categories so you can see which areas you can cut back on and which areas you can afford to spend more on. It pretty much helps you consciously use every dollar — without the fear of an overdraft.

    6. H&R Block takes the stress out of tax season by helping you file simple returns online without a hitch.

    7. Prism makes it *almost* impossible for you to accidentally miss a bill payment; in other words, late fees caused by forgetfulness are a thing of the past!

    Screenshot showing the app's calendar feature
    Prism / Via prismmoney.com

    Once you connect your bills and accounts, Prism sends you reminders about their due dates (and adds them to an actual calendar so you can have a nice, holistic view of your upcoming payments. You can even schedule your bills in advance to be paid. Plus, you won't have to log in to multiple online accounts every time you need to make a payment. You just do it all right from one app! It can also monitor your account balances so you don't accidentally overdraw an account when trying to make a payment (phew!).

    8. Ally Bank pays you interest on your savings. But unlike many other online banks, this one lets you set up "buckets" for reaching specific savings goals.

    Phone illustrations showing savings goals and projected balance
    Ally / Via ally.com

    Sure, you can open an Ally savings account with a $0 minimum and $0 in monthly maintenance fees. But the most unique feature is actually the savings buckets you can create to help you be more proactive about putting away money for specific goals. This can be especially helpful for people who need to mentally separate their savings instead of lumping it all in one place. That vacation you want to take next year? You can easily track your progress right in the app. Or maybe you're saving up for a birthday gift for a parent. Just add that goal as a savings bucket and you're on your way!

    FYI, online savings accounts — like Ally — typically offer higher interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks. In other words, your money can grow even more! Currently, Ally currently offers an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.5% whereas some brick-and-mortar banks only offer 0.01%. (But FYI, these interest rates are variable, so banks may offer higher or lower rates in the future.)

    9. Google Sheets — yes, Google Sheets — lets you create budgets and spending trackers to your liking from scratch.

    Dashboard showing savings bar graph, income line graph, and debt pie chart
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed / Via google.com

    Sometimes, the best budget is one that you create yourself. The advantage of building your own budget is you can devise a template that has 100% of the elements you need (and none of what you don't). You can make it as detailed or as simple as you'd like and it doesn't cost you anything to create (besides just a little bit of time).

    And if you have a deeper understanding of Google Sheets, you can make a beautiful, visual live dashboard — from scratch! — that can track your finances (similar to the example one I made above). The possibilities are pretty much endless.

    10. Debt.com's free finance booklets give you the deets on pretty much everything, from eliminating credit card debt to avoiding foreclosure.

    Booklets on foreclosure, credit scores, credit card debt, and credit cards
    Debt.com / Via debt.com

    Think of this section as a mini virtual library of resources around alleviating debt. You can simply download each PDF booklet and have some financial solutions right at your fingertips. Of course, for more complex circumstances, you might want to speak to a financial adviser, but Debt.com's resources can be a great place to start.

    11. The New York Times' Rent vs. Buy calculator helps you figure out if you're better off renting or trying to buy a home based on your specific circumstances.

    Chart showing a cost of $1,455
    The New York Times / Via nytimes.com

    Whether it's better to buy or rent a home has long been a topic of debate. On the one hand, buying a home can often help you build equity as a homeowner. On the other hand, renting can come with fewer maintenance responsibilities (and you can bypass saving for a large down payment).

    But the best decision can sometimes lie in the numbers. This calculator helps you plug in the digits to determine whether renting is better from a financial standpoint. It accounts for home price, down payment, mortgage rate, mortgage terms, the rent growth rate, home price growth rate, taxes, closing costs, and more. So you should end up with a monthly payment forecast that's much more comprehensive than you trying to calculate it yourself.

    12. My Home's CreditSmart financial literacy curriculum teaches you pretty much everything you need to know about managing credit and using it to buy a home.

    Model using a credit card
    Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

    These digestible modules will leave no stone unturned when it comes to all things building, maintaining, and restoring credit. There are 12 modules that you can take in English or Spanish, and you can also peruse their glossary of terms to help you understand some jargon.

    13. If you're self-employed or have a side job, Keeper Tax's Quarterly Tax Calculator gives you an idea of how much you'll owe in taxes this quarter.

    Screenshot from the website
    KeeperTax / Via keepertax.com

    If you're self-employed, you might end up frequenting this calculator throughout the year. By inputting a few simple pieces of information (like whether or not you're single, your monthly income, and where you live), you can figure out approximately how much you'll have to pay in taxes for the quarter. Knowing this can help you figure out how much money you should set aside in advance so the amount you owe in taxes doesn't sneak up on you.

    14. ItsDeductible helps you track donations throughout the year so you can deduct them when filing taxes.

    Box of cash
    Douglas Sacha / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

    ItsDeductible lets you keep track of pretty much everything you donate during the year: the total miles you drove for charity events, donated cash, resale value for items you donate, and more. It'll also help you figure out exactly what's eligible for a deduction. And, it connects to TurboTax so you can easily import those deductions when filing your taxes. It's pretty much a more convenient alternative to handwriting every donation in a notebook.

    15. And, Investopedia's Investment Dictionary gives you the definitions of almost every industry term so you can stop being confused by all the jargon you hear.

    Model looking at stock charts on a laptop
    Trevor Williams / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

    Investing and the rest of the finance world can be a little daunting. But not anymore! This site is pretty much your one-stop shop for looking up all those industry terms you keep hearing about but have no idea what they mean. Gone are the days of reading a finance story and not understanding half of the words used in it!

    If this sounds like music to your ears (and bank account), check out more of our personal finance posts.

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