Sometimes reaching your personal or business goals comes down to using the right tools. Laura reviews 20 of her favorite free or low-cost digital tools you can try out to make better money decisions, save money, be more productive, and have more success.

27 minute read

Hello friends. Thanks for joining me this week. My name is Laura Adams and I’m a personal finance and small business expert. And author has been hosting the money girl podcast since 2008. If you’ve been with me any length of time, you know, my mission is to help you get the knowledge and motivation to prioritize your finances, build wealth, and have more security and less stress. Every show is created to hopefully make sure and you come away with some practical advice and tips that will help you make better money decisions and take your financial life to the next level. And today’s show is no exception. It’s going to be jam packed with amazing free or low cost digital tools that are my personal favorites for making better financial decisions and achieving more personal and business goals. Maybe you’re looking for help organizing and managing your money, sticking to a budget, being more productive, building a side business, finding the best financial products, monitoring your credit, or investing your hard earned money.

I’m going to offer some amazing tools that can help with all of these things. And more, I think giving one or probably several of them a try, could be the ticket to quickly improving your financial life. This show was inspired because I am celebrating the first anniversary of my latest book. It’s called money smart, solo preneur, a personal finance system for freelancers entrepreneurs and side hustlers. It was published by entrepreneur press one year ago. I cannot believe that it’s been a full year in the book. I have an entire chapter devoted to tools for solar preneurs and small business owners. So I wanted to share some of them here along with tools. For those of you who are non-business owners, some tools that can help you with your personal finances, we’ve got a lot to cover. And also this shows a pretty epic number. It is the 700 weekly money girl podcast.

If you are not already subscribed to the show, using whatever app you’re listening on right now, like apple podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, et cetera. What are you waiting for? Hit that subscribe button. Also, I love hearing from you. So please participate by sending me your money, questions, or comments that fuels a lot of topics that I bring to you on the show. You can leave a message 24 7 on our voicemail line. That number is 3 0 2 3 6 4 0 3 0 8. And if you don’t want your voice to be on the show, you can let me know a lot of you leave voicemail questions or comments, and you tell me, you know, I don’t really want my voice on the show. And so that’s totally okay. Or you can email me using my [email protected] or connect with me over on Instagram at Laura D. Adams. And if you want to read a companion blog post for this or any show they’re published every week and the money girl [email protected], that’s really great to know, because if you hear something that you want to remember, you don’t have to like stop what you’re doing and write it down, or, you know, browse over to it.

Everything will always be in that companion blog post or what we call the show notes. And again, today’s episode is number 700 called 20 best personal finance and small business online tools. So we’ve got a ton of tools to cover. Let’s get into these tools and see how they can improve your personal and your business success. All right, tool number one is last pass. If you’re like me, you got a ton of online accounts. They’re great, but all these tools and apps probably make you go crazy. When it comes to managing passwords, it can be a real hassle and you need to change your passwords periodically to make sure that your accounts, especially those financial accounts like bank and credit card accounts, don’t get hacked by a cyber criminal. So how do you keep up with it all? Well, fortunately there are password managers like last pass that keep you organized and secure.

So it saves all of your different passwords and automatically logs you into your accounts. All you need to do is remember one password that is the master password that unlocks everything saved in last pass. Last pass offers password management for one device for free, which is pretty cool. However, you can upgrade and manage all the logins across your devices for just $3 a month or $4 a month for a family plan. It’s pretty important to have all your passwords secure. So if you are not currently using a password manager, definitely get started using one today. All right, tool number two is credit karma. I’ve used credit karma for, I don’t know how many years, I mean like a long time to do monthly checkups on my credit. And it just takes a minute to get an overview of what’s changed on your credit reports and how it may have affected various credit scores that you have.

That is so important because you want to make sure that you don’t have any errors or fraudulent activity that is dragging down your scores or putting your financial life in jeopardy, the health of your credit ripples through your entire financial life, which is why monitoring it regularly is so critical while annual credit report.com is still the official credit reporting site. And it’s a great place to get you get some information. It does not provide your credit scores. You can only get credit reports there. And right now during the pandemic, they’re offering them once a week, which is, which is great. But credit karma is the best place to get both your credit reports and several of your credit scores for free. Once you create a free credit karma account, and you verify your identity, you get access to a, just a wealth of information. For instance, you can review your TransUnion and Equifax credit report and credit scores as often as once a week.

Yes, you will see plenty of ads served up to you and financial product recommendations. But I got to say, it’s a pretty fair trade for the free credit information that you get on the site. Credit karma also shows you how to improve your credit scores, which I think is really handy. You can even see how your credit scores compare to other people using their platform and how they’ve changed over time. That insight helps, you know, if your scores are moving in the right direction, you know, are they moving up or they’re moving down. If they are it’s time to adjust your financial habits. And as I mentioned, seeing a decline in your scores could be the tip off that you have become the victim of identity theft, which is really serious and something that you need to address right away. If you’re finding accounts that you don’t recognize or balances going up for no reason, till number three, Quicken Quicken is one of the most popular personal finance programs.

And I have used it for decades. If I could only recommend one money management tool, this is quick and it’s become the gold standard because it can handle just about every aspect of your finances, including budgeting, paying bills, tracking investments, isolating tax-related transactions and reporting after you sync your financial accounts with quick and just, you know, one time it automatically connects and pulls in your clear transactions, but you can also enter transactions manually if you don’t want to connect your online financial accounts. But, you know, in my opinion, that’s where the power of these types of tools lies as being able to automatically get your transactions. So what happens is you see a register for each of your bank accounts or credit cards that you link up, or you can view all of your transactions together in a dashboard Quicken’s mobile app syncs with the desktop version.

So you can switch between your devices pretty seamlessly, and you’ve always got access to your up-to-date information. Once you assign categories to your transactions, such as income, groceries, or clothing, Quicken remembers what you set up then automatic categorization saves time and allows you to easily see how much you’ve spent each week, month or year on things like food, gas, retirement contributions, or any other category that you create. You can view your income and expenses over any period with simple graphs and reports while Quicken is not free. You can choose from a suite of products, depending on the functions that you need for just $35 and 99 cents per year. The starter version allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, create a budget, have automatic expense categories and manage money from anywhere. If you want to step up to Quicken deluxe, that’s about $52 a year, or their premier version is about $78 a year.

With those, you get a lot more advanced features for things like managing your loans, your investments and taxes, all versions are available on windows and Mac Quicken used to offer a 30 day free trial, but they’ve done away with that instead of they offer you a 30 day money back guarantee. So if you’re not happy with Quicken during your first month, you can get a refund number for quick books while you can use Quicken for small business bookkeeping. I will say that I think quick books is a better solution for businesses. Once you enter the credentials for various financial accounts that you want to track such as banks, credit cards and lenders, it connects and aggregate your data into a dashboard, just like with Quicken, you can categorize transactions or create customized labels. QuickBooks quickly learns which categories to assign to your different transactions, but you can always change them or even split entries between multiple categories.

There’s also a self-employed QuickBooks for freelancers, which costs just $7 50 cents a month. You can use that version to track your income and expenses, estimate quarterly taxes, track your business auto mileage and a whole lot more. And there are QuickBooks versions for larger businesses and they range from like 25 bucks up to 180 a month. If you’ve got employees, these versions come with some additional functions for managing contractors, doing billing and even expense reports. Plus for an additional charge. QuickBooks can even handle payroll processing for you. If you can afford any version of QuickBooks for your small business, you’re going to get a lot for your money. Plus, most accountants and bookkeepers use QuickBooks. So it’s really easy to get help from them, or even to share your files for professional tax preparation. And whether you’re just starting a small business or you’re scaling into a larger organization, I would encourage you to check out my book that I mentioned money smart, solo preneur, a personal finance system for freelancers entrepreneurs and side hustlers.

You can get the paperback, the ebook, or even the audio book version. It will help you understand all of the tax implications of having a business and having self-employment income really important. All right, tool number five is mint. If you want to try out online money management without paying for it, you want to check out mint. It works a lot like Quicken, where you sync your accounts, like your checking savings, retirement loans, credit cards, and it aggregates the transactions into a dashboard. Mint provides a great place to start budgeting or to finesse the budget that you already have with automatic categories. It can do a lot of the work for you and you can mint to set financial goals and track your progress toward those goals as well. Tool number six, fresh books. If QuickBooks has more of the bells and whistles and you really need for your solo or your small business, I would encourage you to check out fresh books.

It started as a very sleek invoicing solution, but it’s grown into a whole lot more just like with other programs, FreshBooks aggregates transactions from your linked financial accounts and allows you to categorize them. You can create customized invoices, receive payments and create reports. There are also really convenient time tracking capabilities integrated with the invoicing function. So if you’re tracking time for a client, it could be a really good solution for you. The strength of FreshBooks is the ability to create attractive proposals and estimates. And then with the click of a button, you can turn them into invoices and also get paid with credit cards and bank transfers. For instance, you could get a proposal signed electronically and easily, turn it into an invoice for a retainer or a bill that you’re going to set up for a flat or hourly rate. And if you need to add expenses for reimbursement or send past due reminders or even add sales tax, all of that is super easy to do fresh books basis.

It’s pricing on how many clients you need to track. You can get the light plan for $7 50 cents a month, which lets you build up to five clients. And for $12 50 cents, the plus plan gives you up to 50 clients. And their premium version allows up to 500 clients. If you’ve got a service based business or you need project management functionality, fresh books is a really excellent option. And it’s got an app for iOS and Android. So you can do all that work on the go tool. Number seven slack when you’ve got multiple conversations and threads going on at one time with your business partners, employees or contractors, slack is an excellent way to centralize that communication. A lot of companies have been using it since the pandemic with more people working remotely, it replaces email, basically allowing you to chat and share files, using channels that organize content by client project or topic.

Slack also allows you to initiate voice or video calls directly from the platform. Plus it integrates with other apps that you may be using such as Google drive or office 365, a free slack version offers one-on-one calls five gigs of file storage and up to 10 app integrations, which is pretty amazing. It’s an excellent way to give it a try and see if the interface could improve your business productivity. Upgraded plans range from about seven to 13 bucks a month. Tool number eight air table. If you were to mash up a spreadsheet with a database, what you would have is the sophistication of air table. It’s a really innovative and flexible way to manage records, link tables, attach files, and collaborate with teams. For instance, multiple people can work together on air table data with endless possibilities for ways that the data can be entered, shared and viewed.

It integrates with hundreds of other apps and can be used on iOS and Android to sync on all of your devices. You can get started using air table for free and upgrade to plans that range from 10 to $20 per month, when you need more training, storage and workspaces, when you see how much air table can do, you may never use a plain spreadsheet again. So I encourage you to check it out. The free version will really let you know if it’s something that you can use. Tool number nine, Trello. When you need a user-friendly project management platform, I want you to check out Trello. It allows you to visualize a product and update it status using drag and drop boards, lists and cards. You can add comments due dates, attachments, and collaborate with teams. It’s a really simple and intuitive platform that allows you to track a project progress and meet task deadlines.

The free version gives you plenty of functionality with unlimited cards and lists. You get 10 team boards and automation Trello’s paid plans started about $10 a month. When you need more storage and customization tool. Number 10 TurboTax, if you choose to prepare your own taxes, TurboTax is a powerful tool that’s been around for decades. It is included in some versions of QuickBooks, making it easy to transfer your data into various tax forms, or you can purchase TurboTax as a standalone product. Likewise, some versions of TurboTax include a year free of QuickBooks. So check that out. If you’re interested in both of those programs, TurboTax has a suite of products available for individuals, real estate investors, and the self-employed. The program will ask you a series of questions and then recommend the best TurboTax version for you. The basic version allows you to file federal and state tax returns for free.

If you don’t have any attached schedules, TurboTax is self-employed version starts at 120 bucks, or you can get help from a tax professional. If you go with the self-employed live version for $200 tool, number 11 mile IQ, if you drive for your job or your own business, my life Q is a fantastic app that automatically tracks your mileage. What you do is install the app on your smartphone and then keep the phone with you in your vehicle while you’re driving. And what happens is it just works in the background. The app uses GPS to monitor your movement and calculate the distance of your trips. Once you reach a destination, the app will prompt you to allocate the journey as either personal or business, and it creates a log. So it’s kind of like a Fitbit for driving and it’s truly a game changer. If you need to keep up with aware and when you go for your business or your job, my like you also has a desktop dashboard for analyzing your drives and you can print reports by dates, locations, or events.

And it also integrates with other expense tracking programs, such as concur and fresh books, you can try out mile IQs free version, which logs up to 40 trips a month, which is fantastic. That may be all you need. The premium version is just $5 and 99 cents per month for unlimited miles. Whether you submit mileage to an employer for reimbursement or you claim it as a business tax deduction, I think mile IQ will revolutionize how you keep up with your miles tool. Number 12 Expensify. Even if you use a bookkeeping program, you may want an additional tool such as Expensify to manage expenses when you’re on the go, it integrates with other apps and tools like QuickBooks. And with just a photo of your receipt, it automatically transcribes categorizes and saves an expense. When you take your smartphone on trips, Expensify also uses GPS to track mileage for calculating the vehicle tax deduction.

Just like I mentioned for mile IQ, you can try out Expensify for free or upgrade for $4 99 cents per month. Tool number 13, Dropbox. You’ve probably heard of this file. Sharing veteran Dropbox offers a really sleek interface for storing any type of file remotely instead of on your computer. And it’s a really great way to save space on your hard drive or to back up your data so that you got it living in multiple places. You share permissions with others so they can view and download your Dropbox files. You can share a link for any file by email or text and even include password protection, allowing access to that file while keeping everything else in your account. Private recipients don’t even need to have their own Dropbox account to access your data. In Dropbox. It integrates with more than 100 other apps and programs, and they’ve got an app for iOS and Android to sync across all your devices.
)
You can try out Dropbox with a basic plan that gives you up to two gigs of storage and you can upgrade to a business plan starting at $15 a month for up to three users and five terabytes of storage. If you need more than that, the advanced plan gives you unlimited storage starting at 25 bucks a month. Tool number 14, Evernote, if you’ve ever visited a website and thought, Hmm, I want to remember this webpage, or you’ve seen a photo that you want to save for inspiration, or maybe you just need a template for productivity. Ever note makes that possible. It’s a really cool tool that allows you to create notes, clip content from the web, organize your notes into notebooks, share notes and archive them. The ways that you can use Evernote are as unlimited as your imagination. It integrates with other programs and it has an app for iOS and Android that syncs across your devices.

You can try the free plan or upgrade for more storage in the range of about eight to $15 per month. Tool number 15, Google workspace, Google offers more than 15 web-based productivity tools, which are free until you hit a total storage limit of 15 gigs. The platform allows you to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in real time and integrates with hundreds or even thousands of other programs. It enables iOS and Android users to work from anywhere. The Google workspace basic plan is $6 per user per month for 30 gigs of storage. When you’re ready to upgrade, it allows you to create email addresses with custom domains, collaborate across calendars, create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, sites, and voice and video conferences. There’s also a business plan that offers more custom features and unlimited storage for $12 per month or one terabyte per user. If you have fewer than five users, and there’s also a higher level enterprise plan for $25 per user per month, tool number 16, grammar late, unless you’re a grammar guru, like my friend Manion, Fogarty author, and host of the grammar girl podcast on the quick and dirty tips network, you’re going to need a proof reader checking what you write.

That’s where Grammarly is a lifesaver. I can definitely attest to that. You can install Grammarly and all your devices as a browser plugin, then watch it catch grammar and spelling errors in your emails, texts, social media posts, blog posts, and web pages. You’re going to instantly look more professional and also become a better writer. Grammar Lee’s free version checks, basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The premium plan is about $12 per month. And that checks for plagiarism, tone, variety and vocabulary readability, and more can’t say enough about this tool tool number 17 betterment. It doesn’t get any better than betterment. If you want an incredibly to use investing platform with low fees, I’ve been using betterment for, I don’t even know it’s well over a decade, they offer regular investing accounts, tax advantage, retirement accounts and checking and savings accounts. Betterment automatically manages your investments by rebalancing, reinvesting dividends and handling recurring deposits, which I love.

They offer a diversified portfolio of exchange traded funds that are based on the level of risk that you’re comfortable taking in your portfolio. Plus you get access to their team of licensed financial experts for advice and support. The annual cost of Betterment’s platform is 0.25% of your balance, which makes it very affordable. Even when you’re just starting out. You can get started investing with literally $10. That’s all it takes. And once you’ve got more than a hundred thousand dollars in your account, the fee goes up, it increases 2.4%, but you also have unlimited access to their certified financial planners for more personalized advice. But note that their checking and cash reserve accounts are fee free. As I mentioned, I’ve enjoyed using betterment for a long time, and I am always impressed with its customer service communications and affordable fees. The experience on your desktop or mobile device is streamlined and straightforward.

It really makes creating accounts, setting goals, transferring funds, and monitoring your progress and absolute joy tool. Number 18 acorns, if you’re new to investing or you’re just struggling to start saving, I’d love for you to try out the original micro investing app acorns. Once you link a corn’s to your debit or your credit cards, what happens is acorns automatically sweeps and invests the difference between your purchase price and the nearest whole dollar amount that you set. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you spend $20 and 50 cents on something on your credit card. The app could round that purchase to $21 and then it would deduct 50 cents from your account to invest. Or you could set acorns to round to the next $5 increment and take out $4 and 50 cents to invest. So using these roundups is a tech savvy way to invest your so-called spare change.

You can also invest lump sum amounts or even set up recurring deposits as small as $5. Acorns also offers tax advantaged retirement accounts, such as an IRA or a SEP IRA and no fee FBIC insured checking accounts using only the investing app costs a dollar a month, but if you add a retirement account and a banking account to the mix, you’ll pay $3 per month up to a million dollar balance. The only downside is that paying flat fees instead of a percentage could end up costing a relatively high amount. When you’ve got a small account balance tool, number 19 finder.com before you make any financial decision such as settling on a mortgage lender for a new home, getting a low interest, personal loan, choosing a credit card, shopping for cheaper car insurance, or even buying cryptocurrency finder.com can help. It is a one-stop shop for researching and comparing a wide range of financial products and services.

If you’ve ever wondered, if you’re really getting the best deal, do not miss all the information on finder.com. You want to check out their helpful personal finance calculators. They will help you make better money decisions and our last tool. Number 20 dinky town.com. If you need the answer to just about any financial question, like whether you should get a 15 or a 30 year mortgage, if you should lease or buy a car or how long your retirement savings will last check out dinky town.com. There is nothing dinky about their massive library of more than 400 financial calculators. No matter what numbers you need, help crunching for your personal or business finances. There’s probably a dinky town.com tool that can do it. They’ve got calculators for investments, retirement mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, debt, insurance, taxes, business, and a lot more, their data is

And for consumers who speak Spanish and French, regardless of your personal or business goals. I hope these terrific apps, programs and websites that I’ve covered in today’s show will help you understand your finances, save money, be more productive and take your money management skills to the next level. By experimenting with different technology. It’s easy to find solutions that genuinely work for your business or personal style and allow you to create more success. All right, before we go, if you haven’t joined my free private Facebook group called dominate your dollars, I would love to see you in the group. It is a really special group of people who are asking great questions, helping others and reaching ambitious financial goals. All you have to do is search for the group on Facebook or text the word dollars, D O L L a R S to the number 3, 3, 4 4 4. And I’ll send you a direct invitation. You can also visit Laura D adams.com where you’ll find my contact page and a whole lot more about me, my books and online courses. That’s all for now. I’ll talk to you next week until then here’s to living a richer life. Money girl is a quick and dirty tips podcast. It’s audio engineered by Steve Ricky Berg with script editing by Adam. See Saul, our operations and editorial manager is Michelle Marguiles. Our assistant manager is Emily Miller and our marketing and publicity assistant is Davina Tomlin.

Managing money doesn’t have to be a ton of work. You can use free or low-cost digital tools to make better financial decisions and achieve your goals. Personal finance and business programs and apps have become incredibly popular, and for a good reason. They’re easy to use, generally don’t cost much, and can help with managing money, being more productive, finding the best financial products, staying on top of your credit, investing your hard-earned money, and so much more.

No matter what you want to achieve, such as sticking to a budget, building a side business, or shopping for cheaper insurance, there’s a digital tool that can help. In this post, I’ll cover 20 of my favorite free or low-cost online tools. Giving them a try could be the ticket to quickly improving various aspects of your financial life.

20 Best Personal Finance and Small Business Online Tools

See how each of these online tools can improve your personal and business financial success.

1. LastPass

If you’re like me, you have a lot of online accounts. With so many online tools and apps at your fingertips, you’ve probably noticed that managing their passwords can be a real hassle. Also, you need to change passwords periodically to make sure your accounts, especially bank and credit cards, won’t get hacked by a cybercriminal. So how do you keep up with it all?

Fortunately, password managers like LastPass keep you organized and secure. It saves all your different passwords and automatically logs you into your accounts. All you need to do is remember one password, the master password that unlocks everything saved in LastPass.

LastPass offers password management for one device for free. However, you can upgrade and manage all logins across your devices for $3 a month or $4 for a family plan.

2. Credit Karma

I’ve used Credit Karma for many years to do monthly checkups on my credit. It just takes a minute to get an overview of what’s changed on your credit reports and how it may have affected various credit scores. That’s critical to ensure you don’t have errors or fraudulent activity dragging down your scores or putting your financial life in jeopardy.

The health of your credit ripples through your entire financial life, which is why monitoring it regularly is crucial. While Annualcreditreport.com is still the official credit reporting site, it doesn’t provide your credit scores. Credit Karma is the best place to get your credit reports and several credit scores for free.

Once you create a free Credit Karma account and verify your identity, you get access to a wealth of information. For instance, you can review your TransUnion and Equifax credit report and credit scores as often as once a week. Yes, you’ll see plenty of ads and financial product recommendations, but it’s a fair trade for the free credit data you get.

Credit Karma also shows you how to improve your credit scores. You can even see how your scores compare to others and how they’ve changed over time. That insight helps you know if your scores are moving in the right direction or if it’s time to adjust your financial habits. And, as I mentioned, seeing a decline in your scores could be the tip-off that you’ve become the victim of identity theft.

3. Quicken

Quicken is one of the most popular personal finance programs, and I’ve used it for decades. If I could only recommend one money management tool, this is it. Quicken has become the gold standard because it can handle just about every aspect of your finances, including budgeting, paying bills, tracking investments, isolating tax-related transactions, and reporting.

After you sync your financial accounts with Quicken, it automatically connects and pulls in your cleared transactions. But you can also enter transactions manually if you don’t want to connect your online financial accounts.

You can see a register for each bank account or credit card, or you can view all your transactions together. Quicken’s mobile app syncs with the desktop version, so you can switch between devices and always have access to your up-to-date information.

Once you assign categories to transactions, such as income, groceries, or clothing, Quicken remembers them. Automatic categorization saves time and allows you to easily see how much you’ve spent each week, month, or year food, gas, retirement contributions, or any other category you create. You can view your income and expenses over any period with simple graphs and reports.

While Quicken isn’t free, you can choose from a suite of products depending on the functions you need. For $35.99 per year, the Starter version allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, create a budget, have automatic expense categorization, and manage money from anywhere.

If you step up to Quicken Deluxe ($51.99 per year) or Premier ($77.99), you get more advanced features for managing loans, investments, and taxes. All versions are available on Windows or Mac.

Quicken used to offer a free 30-day trial, but they’ve done away with it. Instead, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with Quicken during your first month, you can get a refund.

4. QuickBooks

While you can use Quicken for small business bookkeeping, QuickBooks is a better solution. Once you enter the credentials for various financial accounts that you want to track, such as banks, credit cards, and lenders, it connects and aggregates your data into a dashboard.

Like with Quicken, you can categorize transactions or create customized labels. QuickBooks quickly learns which categories to assign to different transactions, but you can always change them or split entries between multiple categories.

There’s also a self-employed QuickBooks for freelancers, which costs $7.50 a month. You can use that version to track income and expenses, estimate quarterly taxes, track your business auto mileage, and much more.

QuickBooks versions for small businesses range from $25 to $180 per month if you have employees. They come with additional functions for managing contractors, billing, and expense reports. For an additional charge, QuickBooks can even handle processing your payroll.

If you can afford any version of QuickBooks, you’ll get a lot for your money. Plus, most accountants and bookkeepers use it, so it’s easy to get help or share your files for professional tax preparation.

RELATED: Check out Laura’s newest book: Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers

5. Mint

If you want to try out online money management without paying for it, check out Mint. It works a lot like Quicken, where you sync your accounts, such as checking, savings, retirement, loans, and credit cards, and it aggregates the transactions into a dashboard.

Mint provides a great place to start budgeting or finesse the budget you already have. With automatic categorization, it can do a lot of the work for you. And you can use Mint to set financial goals and track your progress toward them, too.

6. FreshBooks

If QuickBooks has more bells and whistles than you need for your solo or small business, check out FreshBooks. It started as a sleek invoicing solution but has grown into much more.

Just like with other programs, FreshBooks aggregates transactions from linked financial accounts and allows you to categorize them. You can create customized invoices, receive payments, and create reports. There are also convenient time-tracking capabilities integrated with the invoicing function.

The strength of FreshBooks is the ability to create attractive proposals and estimates, turn them into invoices, and get paid with credit cards and bank transfers. You could get a proposal signed electronically and turn it into an invoice for a retainer or bill at an hourly or flat rate. Adding expenses for reimbursement, sending past-due reminders, or adding sales tax is easy to do.

FreshBooks bases pricing on how many clients you need to track. You get the Lite plan for $7.50 per month, which lets you bill up to five clients. For $12.50, the Plus plan gives you up to 50 clients, and Premium allows up to 500.

If you have a service-based business or need project management functionality, FreshBooks is an excellent option. It has an app for iOS and Android so that you can work on the go.

7. Slack

When you have multiple conversations and threads going at one time with business partners, employees, or contractors, Slack is an excellent way to centralize communication. It replaces email, allowing you to chat and share files using “channels” that organize content by client, project, or topic.

Slack allows you to initiate voice or video calls directly from the platform. Plus, it integrates with other apps, such as Google Drive and Office 365.

A free Slack version offers one-on-one calls, 5 GB file storage, and up to 10 app integrations. That’s an excellent way to give it a try and see if the interface could improve your business productivity. Upgraded plans range from about $7 to $13 per month.

8. Airtable

If you were to mash up a spreadsheet with a database, you’d have the sophistication of Airtable. It’s an innovative and flexible way to manage records, link tables, attach files, and collaborate with teams.

For instance, multiple people can work together on Airtable data, with endless possibilities for ways it can be entered, shared, and viewed. It integrates with hundreds of other apps and can be used on iOS and Android to sync on all your devices.

You can get started using Airtable for free and upgrade to plans ranging from $10 to $20 per month when you need more training, storage, and workspaces. When you see how much Airtable can do, you may never use a plain spreadsheet again.

9. Trello

When you need a user-friendly project management platform, check out Trello. It allows you to visualize a project and update its status using drag-and-drop boards, lists, and cards. You can add comments, due dates, attachments and collaborate with teams. It’s a simple and intuitive way to track a project’s progress and meet task deadlines.

The free version gives you plenty of functionality with unlimited cards and lists, ten team boards, and automation. Trello’s paid plans start at about $10 per month when you need more storage and customization.

10. TurboTax

If you choose to prepare your own taxes, TurboTax is a powerful tool that’s been around for decades. It’s included in some versions of QuickBooks, making it easy to transfer data into various tax forms, or you can purchase it as a stand-alone product. Likewise, some versions of TurboTax include a year of QuickBooks for free.

TurboTax has a suite of products suitable for individuals, real estate investors, and the self-employed. The program asks you a series of questions and then recommends the best version for you.

The basic version allows you to file federal and state tax returns for free if you don’t have any attached schedules. TurboTax’s Self-Employed version starts at $120, or you can get help from a tax professional with the Self-Employed Live version for $200.

11. MileIQ

If you drive for your job or your own business, MileIQ is a fantastic app that automatically tracks your mileage. You install the app on your smartphone and keep it in your vehicle while you’re driving, so it works in the background.

The app uses GPS to monitor your vehicle movement and calculate the distance of your trips. Once you reach a destination, the app prompts you to allocate the journey as personal or business and creates a log. It’s like a Fitbit for driving and is truly a game-changer for keeping up with where and when you go.

MileIQ also has a desktop dashboard for analyzing drives and printing reports by dates, locations, or events. It also integrates with other expense tracking programs such as Concur and Freshbooks.

You can try out MileIQ’s free version, which logs up to 40 trips per month. The premium version is just $5.99 per month for unlimited miles. Whether you submit mileage to an employer for reimbursement or claim it as a business tax deduction, MileIQ will revolutionize how you keep up with your miles.

12. Expensify

Even if you use a bookkeeping program, you may want an additional tool, such as Expensify, to manage expenses while you’re on the go. It integrates with other apps and tools like QuickBooks. With just a photo of your receipt, it automatically transcribes, categorizes, and saves an expense.

When you take your smartphone on trips, Expensify uses GPS to track your mileage for calculating the vehicle tax deduction. You can try it for free or upgrade for $4.99 per month.

ALSO READ: 8 Essential Recordkeeping Rules for the Self-Employed

13. Dropbox

You’ve probably heard of the file-sharing veteran Dropbox. It offers a sleek interface for storing any type of file remotely instead of on your computer. It’s a great way to save space on your hard drive or backup data, so you have it in multiple places.

You share permissions with others so they can view and download your Dropbox files. You can share a link for any file by email or text and include password protection, allowing access to that file while keeping everything else in your account private. Recipients don’t even need to have their own Dropbox account.

Dropbox integrates with more than 100 other apps and programs, and they have an app for iOS and Android to sync across all your devices. Try it out for free with a Basic plan that gives you up to 2 GB of storage. You can upgrade to a business plan starting at $15 per month for up to three users and 5 TB of storage. For more space, the Advanced plans give you unlimited storage starting at $25 per month.

14. Evernote

If you’ve ever visited a website that you want to remember, seen a photo that you want to save for inspiration, or needed a template for productivity, Evernote makes it possible. It’s an innovative tool that allows you to create notes, clip content from the web, organize your notes into notebooks, share notes, and archive them.

The ways you can use Evernote are as unlimited as your imagination. It integrates with other programs and has an app for iOS and Android that syncs across your devices. Try the free plan or upgrade for more storage in the range of $8 to $15 per month.

15. Google Workspace

Google offers more than 15 web-based productivity tools, which are free until you hit a total storage limit of 15 GB. The platform allows you to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in real-time and integrates with hundreds or even thousands of other programs. It enables iOS and Android users to work from anywhere.

The Google Workspace Basic plan is $6 per user per month for 30 GB of storage when you’re ready to upgrade. It allows you to create email addresses with custom domains, collaborate across calendars, documents spreadsheets, presentations, sites, and voice or video conferences.

The Business plan offers more custom features and unlimited storage for $12 per month or 1 TB per user if you have fewer than five users. There’s also a higher-level Enterprise plan for $25 per user per month.

16. Grammarly

Unless you’re a grammar guru like my friend Mignon Fogarty, author and host of the Grammar Girl podcast, you need a proofreader checking what you write. That’s where Grammarly is a lifesaver!

You can install Grammarly on all your devices as a browser plug-in. Watch it catch grammar and spelling errors in your emails, texts, social media posts, blog posts, and web pages. You’ll instantly look more professional and become a better writer!

Grammarly’s free version checks basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The Premium plan is about $12 per month and checks for plagiarism, tone, variety in vocabulary, readability, and more.

17. Betterment

It doesn’t get any better than Betterment if you want an incredibly easy-to-use investing platform with low fees. They offer regular investing accounts, tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and checking and savings accounts.

Betterment automatically manages your investments by rebalancing, reinvesting dividends, and handling recurring deposits. They offer a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on the level of risk you’re comfortable taking. Plus, you get access to their team of licensed financial experts for advice and support.

18. Acorns

If you’re new to investing or struggling to save, try the original micro-investing app, Acorns. Once you link it to your debit or credit cards, Acorns automatically sweeps and invests the difference between your purchase cost and the nearest whole dollar amount you set.

For example, if you spend $20.50, the app could round up to $21 and deduct $0.50 from your bank account to invest. Or you could set Acorns to round to the next $5 increment and invest $4.50. Using round-ups is a tech-savvy way to invest so-called spare change. You can also invest lump sums or set up recurring deposits as small as $5.

Acorns also offers tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as an IRA or SEP-IRA, and no-fee, FDIC-insured checking accounts. Using only the investing app costs $1 per month, but if you add a retirement account and a banking account to the mix, you’ll pay $3 per month (up to a $1 million balance).

The only downside is that paying flat fees instead of a percentage can end up costing a relatively high amount when you have a small account balance.

19. Finder.com

Before you make a financial decision, such as settling on a mortgage lender for a new home, getting a low-interest personal loan, choosing a credit card, shopping for cheap car insurance, or buying cryptocurrency, Finder.com can help.

It’s a one-stop-shop for researching and comparing a wide range of financial products and services. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re really getting the best deal, don’t miss all the information on Finder.com. Check out their helpful personal finance calculators that will help you make better money decisions.

20. Dinkytown.com

If you need the answer to just about any financial question, like whether to get a 15- or 30-year mortgage, if you should lease or buy a car, or how long your retirement savings will last, check out Dinkytown.com. There’s nothing dinky about their massive library of more than 400 financial calculators.

No matter what numbers you need help crunching for your personal or business finances, there’s probably a Dinkytown.com tool that can do it. They have calculators for investments, retirement, mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, debt, insurance, taxes, business, and more. Their data is available for different countries and for consumers who speak Spanish and French.

Regardless of your personal or business goals, these terrific apps, programs, and websites will help you understand your finances, save money, be more productive, and take your money management skills to the next level. By experimenting with different technology, it’s easy to find solutions that genuinely work for your personal or business style and allow you to create more success.

This article was originally published on Quick and Dirty Tips.

Did we provide the information you needed? If not let us know and we’ll improve this page.
Let us know if you liked the post. That’s the only way we can improve.
Yes
No

About the Author

Laura Adams, Quick and Dirty Tips

Laura Adams, Quick and Dirty Tips

Laura Adams is an award-winning author of multiple books, including Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. Her newest title, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, is an Amazon No. 1 New Release. Laura’s been the writer and host of the popular Money Girl Podcast, a top weekly audio show in Apple Podcasts, since 2008. She’s a frequent source for the national media and has been featured on most major news outlets including NBC, CBS, ABC FOX, Bloomberg, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Money, Time, Kiplinger’s, USA Today, U.S News, Huffington Post, Marketplace, Forbes, Fortune, Consumer Reports, MSN, and many other radio, print, and online publications. Millions of readers and listeners benefit from her practical financial advice. Her mission is to empower consumers to live richer lives through her podcasting, speaking, spokesperson, teaching, and advocacy work. Laura received an MBA from the University of Florida. Visit LauraDAdams.com to learn more and connect with her.

Published by Debt.com, LLC