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One reader question we get all the time is what we recommend for tools to organize your money and build wealth. Our 10+ favorite tools are all listed below!
When my husband immigrated to the U.S. in 2013, there was no where for us to go to learn about personal finance for immigrants. We had no idea how he as a new immigrant could open a U.S. bank account, sign up for a first-time credit card, or figure out other personal finance basics.
It was very frustrating, stressful, and scary. We had to figure it all out and struggle by ourselves, and felt very alone.
PUT STREAMLINING SYSTEMS IN PLACE WITH Tools To Organize Your Money and Build Wealth
We didn’t know how to organize our money. Most importantly, we didn’t even know that tools could help us do that. Without even knowing to look, we did not know about any tools to help us more efficiently manage our finances.
After years of researching and educating ourselves about personal finance, we started to master some of the basics of personal finance. But that meant hours a week spent on budgeting, calculating, reviewing bank and credit card statements, and other tasks.
Although we had the knowledge, we lacked the tools in place to make a smooth-operating and automatized Immigrant Finance machine. We needed systems that could help us focus seamlessly and efficiently on budgeting, growing our savings, and eventually, investing.
OUR FAVORITE Tools To Organize Your Money and Build Wealth
We are so excited to share our favorite tools to organize your money and build wealth with you. And we’re going to share them right about….now!
BUDGETING AND SAVINGS TOOLS
Mint.com – Mint is our favorite budgeting software and app. We actually used to religiously use another budgeting app, Learnvest, and resisted Mint for a long time. When Learnvest became unavailable for a software update, we had to switch to Mint. Once you use a budgeting app, it\’s really difficult to stop. Budgeting apps make it super easy to decide how much you want to spend, save, invest, etc. in each category of your monthly expenses out of your total monthly income. Then, throughout the month you can track how much you are spending in each category to keep yourself in check. This also allows you to not feel guilty when you do spend money in a category that you have not hit the limit on, because you have pre-decided that your budget allows that.
Personal Capital (affliate link) – We love Personal Capital because it lets you easily track your income, debts, and investments all in one place. You can securely link all of your bank and credit card accounts, making it easy to keep track of your money as you pay down debt and see your wealth grow. Although Mint also lets you do this, we find Personal Capital\’s interface to be the most user friendly for tracking your overall net worth.
Immigrant Finance Goal-Driven Budget System Worksheet – This worksheet will walk you through the exact formula that has allowed us to develop stability for the first time and begin to build wealth. With a budget system that is driven by your goals, you can start saving money in a way that is in line with what you want in life. Doing so can also help you find the ideal balance of knowing that each dollar you earn either goes toward meeting your most important needs and wants today or working towards building the life you dream of tomorrow.
Vanguard – We cannot begin to tell you how much we love Vanguard!! This is our #1 favorite tool for building wealth.Vanguard is an online platform for investing, similar to those at Charles Schwab, T. Rowe Price, Ameritrade, etc. The unique thing about Vanguard, however, is that it almost always has to lowest fees available. It is also very reliable and trustworthy; the company was started with the mission to be owned by its investors and be investor-centered, hence the low fees. You can also easily get started with investing on Vanguard, even if you have very little money to invest, by buying low cost exchange-traded funds (\”ETFs\”). For example, you can purchase the ETF \”VOO\” to invest in the S&P 500 for a couple hundred dollars.
Acorns – Acorns is a great way to get started with investing when it\’s even difficult for you to save. Whenever you buy something, the app that invests your spare change into index funds. For example if you buy a coffee for $3.56, Acorns will invest the remaining 44 cents for you without you lifting a finger. You just have to reach $5.00 in loose change and then Acorn will invest for you. The app let\’s you either choose the fund you want or go with one they recommend based on your profile. With such small change being invested you will barely even feel it.
Debitize (referral link) – One of our favorite tools that helps with managing a credit card is the app Debitize. The main thing to worry about with credit cards is that they make it easy to go into debt. If you do not pay your credit card bills, the amount you still owe will grow with interest and this can get very high. The only sure fire way to avoid credit card debt is to make sure to pay off your credit card in bill in full every month. Debitize, which is like Acorns but for credit cards, helps you do that.
PERSONAL FINANCE CALCULATORS
Online personal finance calculators are a helpful way to start planning for retirement, taking out a mortgage, and other personal finance steps. Check out some free calculators here:
401K Retirement Growth Calculator
Bluehost (affiliate link) – If you want to start an online business, explore making passive income through an online side hustle, or even just a blog for a creative outlet, Bluehost is the one of the lowest cost website hosting platforms we have seen. Bluehost includes wordpress and is very easy to install. Its the host that we use at Immigrant Finance!
ConvertKit (affiliate link): After starting a blog, the next step to build an online business will be to build your email list. An email marketing tool is a helpful way to organize your contacts and communicate with them. We recommend Convertkit because it is the most user friendly and is built for creatives. Convertkit also allows you to “tag” contacts your so you can send certain messages to some people.
Asana – Asana is a wonderful project management tool for tracking various projects with teams. You can use Asana to manage personal and family projects, financial goals, and business development. It\’s also free to use with a team of less than 15 people!
MONEY MINDSET TOOLS
Overdrive – This is the best way to listen to free audio personal finance books that can help you strengthen your money mindset! Just sign up for a public library account in your community, which is free, and then register that account on Overdrive. Then you can check out audiobooks and ebooks on Overdrive through the library that go right to your phone or tablet device through the app.
Headspace – Headspace is great meditation app that can help you get started. Meditation is one of the most empowering things you can do to improve clarity in your goals, decision making, conviction, values, and beliefs.
Uber (Referral link – free ride) and Lyft (Referral Link) – It might surprise you that we have ride-sharing apps under the category for money mindset tools. That\’s because ride-sharing can be a great way to simplify your life, add efficiency, save money, and allow you to use more brain space you would other use for driving, finding parking, and sitting in traffic for other goals. Having a car is very expensive. By the time you add up car insurance, gas, car maintenance expenses, registration and renewal fees, inspections, and car repairs you may be spending more money on your car than you would if you just did ride-sharing.
We hope this tools can help you all develop some systems that will simplify your life, freeing up some time and making it easier to focus on your next financial goals.
Do you want to build wealth in a new country, but feel not sure where to even begin? Sign up for a free 30 min Immigrant Finance personal finance consultation session. We\’ll work together to identify what areas you need to focus on and set up some steps to get your basic finances in the U.S. set up.