All posts in “Apps And Software”

How to save money: A step-by-step guide for millennials

Put down the latte and listen up: If you’re like the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, saving money needs to be on the top of your to-do list. Like, stat. 

Understanding personal finance can be intimidating. You know how much money you make and you’re trying to save a little bit here and there, but the reality of mounting student loan bills and other living expenses can weigh heavily on millennials — which is why it’s difficult to think of the bigger picture.

Listen: a personal finance app (or two or three) can be your best friend in terms of getting smarter about how you save — and spend — your money. (We recommending starting with YNAB, but more on that later.)

Believe it or not, about 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have nothing saved for retirement, according to a survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security. It’s no wonder that millennials are finding it difficult to buy a house

Although retirement is still a very long way off for this generation, it’s important to be mindful of the future so you can find a clear path towards financial freedom for the end of your career, a vacation, or even an unexpected expense or accident. 

The basics of personal finance and savings might be lost on some people who feel that it’s near-impossible to save when most of their money is gone within days of getting a paycheck. The cycle begins again and you just feel stuck trying to keep your head above water. However, financial freedom is very reachable through careful money management, budgeting, expense tracking, and getting smart about saving, investing, and building credit.

The good news is that it’s never too late — or too early — to get smarter about your finances. After all, the tools you need to help you along your financial journey just might be in your pocket. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to saving money by using smartphone finance apps and other clever hacks:

1. Create a budget

Knowing how much money you make is not the same as spending it wisely. 

Staying organized is key to your financial freedom and budgeting apps like Mint and YNAB can help you create a budget and stay within your means every month. Mint is a free app (that’s a very important word) that you can customize and tweak to fit your income and help you set your financial goals down to the penny.

If you’re still unclear on how much you should save every month, Mint can also set your budget based on your income. It can create limits and categories on your spending habits, which you can override at anytime, while the app can connect you to your bank accounts, credit cards, and lenders to give you a full picture of your finances.

Meanwhile, YNAB, which stands for You Need a Budget, takes your monthly spending and expenses to the next level with an in-depth look at every dollar in your bank account. In fact, one of the rules for YNAB is every dollar needs a purpose, so you know it’s serious about budgets and making sure you stay on track instead of “winging it” from month-to-month. 

With YNAB, you define what’s important to you and how to achieve your goals with good financial spending and saving. The app keeps you on track to use your money on the important things in life like rent, food, medical expenses, and more. It can even account for any unexpected expenses and emergencies without putting a strain on the other things going on in your life.

YNAB has a 34-day free trial available, but afterwards it’s $6.99/a month. 

2. Track your spending and expenses

Now that you have a realistic and workable budget, you have to stick to it. Smartphone apps like Quicken can take your path to financial freedom to the next level. Quicken can track all of your spending habits by just taking a photo of your receipts, which automatically puts your spending into categories, dates everything, and tracks the amounts deducted from your balance with your approval.  

In fact, Quicken is probably the most in-depth of all the financial apps on this list because it’s so feature rich. The app can track and record your expenses and investments, create easy-to-read spending reports, and can pay your bills online. Once you sync the app to your bank account, you can even transfer funds from one account to another with the desktop version of the app. It can even predict and forecast your cashflow for the upcoming month, so you can get a better idea of all of your finances.

One of the best things about the app is that it’s completely searchable. You can search through all of your spending habits, expenses, and reports to get easy access of your personal finances. The Quicken app is also easy to understand and use with a very intuitive interface that even works offline when you don’t have a data connection.

In addition, the app sends you notifications and alerts when your bank balance is getting low and if you’re over-budget for the month, so you don’t over spend. Think of the Quicken app as your personal accountant inside of your pocket that you don’t have to feed or clothe. 

The Quicken app works with Android and iOS mobile devices and it’s free with the purchase of any Quicken product. 

3. Manage your debt

According to ValuePenguin, over 44 million millennials are in crippling debt upwards of $33,000 — mostly from student loans from financial institutions. In fact, most millennials are putting off “life milestones” like starting a family and homeownership because their massive debt is in the way, while some are forced to move back home with their parents just to stay above water. Getting out of debt is not an easy feat, but if you have the right tools and a little bit of optimism, you could be debt-free sooner than you think.

Smartphone apps like Debt Payoff Planner can help ease your burden with a bird’s eye view of how much money you owe, along with reasonable step-by-step methods and techniques to get out of debt faster. The app can track your debt payments and give you a time frame to financial freedom. This means you can track your progress and feel better about your money situation with a real game plan. The best part about this app is that it’s completely free.

Another good idea? Transfer your debt to a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period and get aggressive with those payments. That way, you won’t be paying any interest and you can pay down the debt faster than if you were just making the minimum payment every month. 

The BankAmericard® credit card by Bank of America offers a 0% introductory APR period on both balance transfers and purchases for 18 billing cycles, after which a variable 15.24% to 25.24% APR will apply based on your creditworthiness. The BankAmericard® credit card has a $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) transfer fee and no annual fee. 

4. Get smart about saving money

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” This phrase is commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who is believe to have *coined* it during the 18th century. If Mr. Franklin were around today, he’d probably enjoy using a smartphone app like Qapital (pronounced Capital), a fun way to save money by turning it into a game.

Once you download the app, start an account with Qapital and link a bank card with a checking account and begin to set your financial goals. Why are you saving money? Maybe you’re planning a trip to Paris, or want concert tickets for the summer, or are looking to buy a car. After you set your goals, add the amount you want to save. 

Say you want to save $1,200 for a new laptop. Now that you’re all set, you can set up the “rule” for saving. Qapital sets “round to the nearest dollar” as the default, but you can pick and choose how you want to save. If you picked the default, every time you use your bank card, the app rounds the amount to the nearest dollar and adds it to your account automatically. So if you buy something for $5.62, Qapital will take .38 cents from your bank card and add it to your account. You can then transfer your savings into a bank account to start all over again. So you’re saving money without even realizing it.

The app has other “rules” like the “Spend Less Rule,” where you can save the difference if you spend less on one of your favorite expenses and activities, or the “Guilty Pleasure Rule,” where you save money when you do one of your guilty pleasures. You set the goals and the rules, and Qapital helps you save.

Qapital is available for iOS and Android.

5. Start investing — like right now

Now that you’ve managed to save some money, maybe it’s time to invest it and gain some personal capital. If you know next to nothing about investing, Robinhood is a good place to start. This smartphone app gives anyone free access to the stock market. 

For years, buying and trading stocks were only for the wealthy and people in the know. You had to hire a stockbroker who would have to facilitate any purchases and trades on your behalf, while also taking a slice of the pie as commission.

However, Robinhood is a completely free way to enter and get 24/7 access to the stock market game with zero fees and commissions. In addition, Robinhood supports cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Etherium, Dogecoin, and more. Crypto is supported in 30 states for now, while the app plans to gain support in more locations across the nation. This finance app is a great way to build a solid stock portfolio and net worth, while gaining confidence in investing and using cryptocurrency.

Robinhood is available for iOS and Android.

6. Build your credit

Did you know only 33% of adults ages 18 and 29 have at least one credit card? About two-thirds of millennials don’t have a credit card, according to this survey, and are shy about the proposition of adding more debt on top of their student loan debt.

If you’re afraid of getting deeper into the weeds but you want to build credit, you have to get a credit card to make your credit score soar. (We recommend Credit Cards Explained for more info on this topic.) Once you sign up and are approved, download the Credit Karma app to help you manage your credit. It’s a free app that gives you access to your credit score and credit report, while it can also offer credit monitoring.

Credit Karma can also give you information on how to improve your score, including what factors are contributing to good and bad scores, and what kind of products and services can help you achieve exceptional credit.

Credit Karma is available for iOS and Android.

7. Find a financial coach

Everyone needs some coaching to get them through hard times. Breaking through to financial freedom and happiness could be just an app download away with Joy, a financial coaching and savings app for iPhone. 

Once you create an account, you’re asked to sync your checking account so you can rate your purchases and transactions. If spending money on an item makes you happy, it’s a high value purchase. If it makes you sad, it’s a low value transaction. (It’s basically like the KonMari method of finance.) Joy then tries to make connections between your mood and outlook and how that relates to your spending, which should prompt you to save more money. In fact, Joy is also a bank of sorts because you can open a Joy savings account that’s FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured.

In addition, Joy offers savings strategies by tracking your spending, as well as money coaching to help you reach your financial goals — along with a steady stream of articles about finance, happiness, and self care. 

Sorry Android users, Joy is only available for iPhone.

Apple, Google pressured to drop Saudi app that lets men track and control women

Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently asked about whether his company would keep an app that oppresses Saudi women in its store.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently asked about whether his company would keep an app that oppresses Saudi women in its store.

Image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Google and Apple are under pressure from human rights groups and a U.S. senator to remove from their stores an app called Absher. The app was created by the Saudi government and includes a feature that helps men monitor and control women who are under their guardianship, including wives and unmarried daughters.

Saudi men have this right thanks to the country’s oppressive guardianship laws, which mandate every woman has a male guardian to make critical life decisions on her behalf. That guardian can be a father, brother, husband, or son, according to Human Rights Watch. So men get the power to approve things like whether a woman applies for a passport, studies abroad, travels outside the country, or gets married. That system was already well in place before Absher’’s debut, but the app makes controlling women much more efficient. 

While Absher was developed by the Saudi government and released in 2015, it’s prompted new scrutiny. One woman pursuing asylum recently indicated that she tried to flee the country without being detected by Absher and her male guardian. In order to travel, women must be granted permission through the app. Many can’t make it far because the app alerts guardians every time their dependents use their passports, according to Insider

Now human rights groups, as well as Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, are urging Apple and Google to remove Absher from their app stores. 

“By permitting the app in your respective stores, your companies are making it easier for Saudi men to control their family members from the convenience of their smartphones and restrict their movement,” Wyden wrote in a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.  

Cook replied vaguely when asked about the app during an NPR interview this week. “I haven’t heard about it,” he said. “But obviously we’ll take a look at it if that’s the case.”

Google told CNN the company would be “looking into it.”

Even if Google and Apple remove the app from their stores, it won’t solve the problem of male guardianship. As columnist Mona Eltahawy pointed out on Twitter, the app simply “enables gender apartheid in #Saudi Arabia, remember that it is male guardianship that is the issue here.” 

Still, activists believe Apple and Google could send a powerful message to the Saudi government by dropping Absher. 

Hala Aldosari, an activist and scholar who studies gender in the Arab Gulf states, told the New York Times: “If the tech companies would say, ‘You are being oppressive,’ that would mean a lot.”

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10 apps on sale for Presidents Day

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
At this point, there's basically an app for everything. Here are 10 you can snag on sale right now.
At this point, there’s basically an app for everything. Here are 10 you can snag on sale right now.

Image: pexels 

We love to use any celebratory day as an excuse to shower you in exclusive deals on stuff. (See? We’re nice!)

And now that Presidents Day weekend is here, we’re bringing you another round of discounts on apps and software that can help to upgrade your live. Just make sure to key in the code PREZDAY15 at checkout to get the additional 15% off.

Here’s what is on sale on the Mashable Shop:

Using real-time heat maps, FlySpy lets you in on how users are navigating and interacting with your site. You’ll learn what they click, how far down they scroll, which parts they are drawn to the most, and the site elements that cause them to leave. With this plan you’ll get support for one site, unlimited pages and heat maps, and can track as many as 5,000 visitors.

Usually $299, you can grab a lifetime subscription today for $29 — a savings of 90%.

This app that’s created by meditation teachers and neuroscientists helps you practice mindfulness meditation to improve your focus, reduce stress, and better your relationships. You’ll get four different exercise types based on the time of day, including silent breathing sessions, mood-boosting meditation exercises, and closed-eye meditations.

Usually $365, you can grab a lifetime subscription today for $39 — a savings of 89%.

Need to make videos but have little time and resources to spare? This deal offers you access to Dokyu Media, a collection of license-free images, and Dokyu Motion, a massive library of scenes and transitions. Using Adobe After Effects, you can take advantage of both content repositories to turn images into professional animations with a single click.

Usually $297, you can grab the agency plan for $19 — a savings of 93%.

If you’re one of those people who edits out their blemishes before you post selfies on Instagram, then this app probably appeals to you. FaceFilter Pro 3 is an all-in-one retouching software with a myriad of skin smoothing and blemish removal tools — among other things.

Usually $79.95, you can grab this app on sale today for $19.99 — a savings of 74%.

Are you spending more on morning lattes than you save in a month? With Truebill, you can optimize your spending habits and get a complete picture of your finances. It puts your cash, credit, investment balances, and subscriptions in one place, so you have a clear idea of where your hard-earned greenbacks are going. Plus, it can help you set aside funds for your savings and negotiate for lower rates on utility bills.

Usually $35.99, you can grab a premium subscription for $19.99 — a savings of 44%.

Tend to your Instagram marketing tasks without lifting a finger. Depending on your preferred settings, PostFly can automatically like and repost relevant content based on pre-selected filters, DM users with personalized messages to forge new relationships, and follow accounts pertinent to your interests to generate connections. With the simple drag and drop tool, you can also use PostFly to schedule and upload content.

Usually $1,080, you can grab a lifetime subscription today for $39 — a savings of 96%.

Every web developer knows the pain of having to test your product on multiple websites over and over again. LambdaTest takes the hassle out of doing that, as it’s capable of performing cross-browser compatibility testing for your web applications or websites to ensure that each one looks pixel-perfect on any device.

Usually $100, you can grab a lifetime subscription today for $39 — a savings of 61%.

Just because you cut the cord, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on content outside of your Netflix subscription. SelectTV aggregates hundreds of thousands of pieces of content from entertainment sources and puts them in one easy-to-use guide. You can enjoy over 2,000 curated channels, stream over 50,000 world radio stations, and watch over 100 live local channels in HD with the free HD Antenna included in the subscription. You can even opt to add your streaming subscriptions into the mix so you can access everything in one place.

Usually $29.99, you can grab a one-year subscription today for $19 — a savings of 36%.

Cybersecurity services are an important investment — but they don’t have to be an expensive one. A Vault subscription grants you access to four premium security apps that will keep your online life protected from hackers, malware, or worse. You’ll get award-winning VPN service NordVPN,  an intelligent password manager called Dashlane, a secure cloud-based backup tool called Degoo, and Panda, an all-in-one solution that blocks viruses and malware.

Usually $31.92, you can grab a monthly subscription today for $9.99 — a savings of 68%.

You work hard at creating original content for your site, but you’re fine with it ranking on the second page of search engines? Nah, that won’t fly. Use SerpCloud to keep tabs on your website’s performance across all major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It will yield a detailed dashboard of your social stats and SEO metrics, as well as provide you with keyword suggestions that you can then utilize to improve your site’s ranking. You can even keep a close watch on your competitors’ rankings with the built-in competitor tracker.

Usually $2,575, you can grab a lifetime subscription today for $29.99 — a savings of 98%.

Coffee Meets Bagel reports massive data breach on Valentine’s Day

Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel reported a massive data breach affecting  six million users on Valentine's Day.
Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel reported a massive data breach affecting  six million users on Valentine’s Day.

Image: Coffee Meets  Bagel

Millions of people who use the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel woke up on Valentine’s Day to some unsetting news: their personal information had been compromised.

Coffee Meets Bagel reported a massive data breach affecting “approximately” six million users Thursday. That news of the hack just so happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day is a fittingly cruel twist for the service that purports to be about making “authentic connections.”

“With online dating, people need to feel safe. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t share themselves authentically or make meaningful connections,” the company said in a statement. “We take that responsibility seriously, so we informed our community as soon as possible—regardless of what calendar date it fell on—about what happened and what we are doing about it.”

Coffee Meets Bagel sent out emails alerting users of the data breach Thursday morning, saying it first learned of the hack just days before.

“On February 11, 2019, we learned that an unauthorized party gained access to a partial list of user details,” the company wrote. “The affected information only includes your name and email address prior to May 2018. As a reminder, we never store any financial information or passwords.”

The company didn’t comment on who was behind the hack, or when it took place.  In a statement, the company said “this was part of a larger breach affecting 620 million accounts that got leaked across sixteen companies.” The Register reported Monday that account information for more than 620 million accounts was for sale on the dark web. Coffee Meets Bagel was one of 16 websites named. 

In its email to users, the company said it has hired forensic security experts to investigate internally and that it is conducting audits with its third-party vendors.

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This software will teach you how to type at over 100 WPM — and it just went on sale

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Learn how to type super fast by using this specialized software.
Learn how to type super fast by using this specialized software.

Image: PEXELS

Typing was one of those things almost everyone learned in school — along with cursive and the names of all the state capitals. And just like your penmanship and your ability to pinpoint South Dakota’s seat of government — it’s Pierre, by the way — your typing skills probably aren’t what they used to be. 

And while the capacities to write in cursive and identify 50 cities aren’t all that relevant to most jobs, feel free to let both fall even more by the wayside. But typing? You *kind of* need to know how to do that well if you want to make a living in today’s job market. (It’s the Digital Age, baby!)

Enter: the Typesy Typing Trainer, an easy-to-use typing software that’s been engineered by experts to have you typing at over 100 WPM in no time. Once you become a subscriber, you’ll get access to 16 scientifically designed games and activities that are designed to eliminate specific weaknesses in the way you type and hone certain skills. You’ll also get typing instructions from a personal coach who will work with you throughout your typing journey, and receive an advanced typing certificate upon completion of said journey. 

Whether you want to qualify for more jobs or just work more efficiently, signing up for Typesy should be at the top of your to-do list. For the next few days, Mashable readers can score a lifetime subscription to its tips and training for only $19.99 — a 93% discount on the original retail price of $290.