The best budgeting apps help you understand your income and spending, so you have maximum control over your money. Budgeting apps may connect to your bank account and credit cards to automatically download transactions and categorize your spending to match the budget you choose.
The best budgeting apps come at an affordable price point, are easy to use and integrate with your accounts, and have features that match your budgeting style. Here are the top budgeting apps for the thrifty.
- You Need A Budget (YNAB)
You Need a Budget (YNAB) earns the top spot because of the company’s renowned budgeting philosophy and reputation. YNAB says new budgeters typically save $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 in their first year. Although YNAB is the most costly option on our list, the company offers a 34-day free trial.
YNAB offers the ability to sync your bank accounts, import your data from a file, or manually enter each transaction. To begin, the company suggests learning the basics about the app through video courses, a live workshop, or reading a guide. YNAB offers a proactive budgeting approach, rather than tracking what you have already spent, like some competitors.
After signing up, you create your first budget and assign every dollar a purpose, like your rent or car payment, for example. The goal is to eventually get at least one month ahead, so you’re spending money you earned 30 days ago. The company offers extensive educational resources and customer support to keep you on track.
YNAB says privacy and security are its top priority. The company protects your information by using bank-level encryption for all data, best practices for password security, third-party audits, and more.
Mint offers the best-known free budgeting app on the market. It’s a great option for anyone looking to improve their spending habits. The app is free, but you may see targeted financial product advertisements.
You may sync your financial accounts within the app or manually add transactions. Mint allows you to see all your accounts in one place and keep track of your spending daily. The app automatically organizes your spending so that you can see totals by category at a glance. Mint also offers monthly bill tracking, including payment reminders to avoid late fees. The app also offers the ability to keep track of your investments and check portfolio fees. Mint offers a few education resources like a home affordability calculator, loan repayment calculator, and blog with various personal finance topics.
Mint protects your data through features like security scanning with Verisign, multi-factor authentication, and touch ID mobile access. The company stores your login information in a separate database with multiple layers of hardware and software encryption.
- Simplify by Quicken
Simplifi by Quicken ranks best for cash flow because of the app’s effective tracking capabilities. It’s the best option for staying on top of how much you can spend between your paychecks. The app offers a free 30-day trial, and then you will pay $3.99 per month (billed annually at $47.99) or $5.99 per month if you choose not to pay upfront.
To get started, you have to sync bank accounts, and then you will have a complete snapshot of your finances. The app automatically categorizes your spending, tracks recurring bills and subscriptions, and stays on top of upcoming expenses.
One standout feature is the app’s custom watchlists, which allow you to limit spending by category or payee. Also, the custom spending plan monitors cash flow to make sure you never spend more than you make. Simplifi by Quicken offers tips while you’re using the app, but there’s also a blog full of educational content at your fingertips.
What Is REAL Messenger?
REAL Messenger is an app designed to help agents promote their listings and themselves.
Social media is table stakes now. But not all apps are created equal. Facebook is for friends. Instagram is for interests and LinkedIn is for work connections. So why shouldn’t real estate has its own social media platform that brings together a global community of agents, buyers, and sellers?
We’ve learned that there’s power in a platform to find what you’re looking for, to share, and to chat — opening doors and elevating your presence. We’ve watched how people become influencers with followers who devour every post. These influencers don’t have to pay to promote themselves, they’ve built their audience through content, personality, and what they stand for.
In contrast, real estate has become “pay-to-play,” restricting agents from showcasing their listings on well-known real estate platforms, unless they pay (a lot!) to promote them. Agents have lost control in the real estate process, while big proptech profits from agents’ hard-earned listings.
Social media meets real estate
Imagine a social media outlet just for real estate — one like Instagram or WhatsApp geared 100% to our industry. The audience is engaged in real estate. Agents connect to share information about listings with one another or potential buyers and sellers – and retain those connections. Agents can even share their knowledge of properties before they are listed publicly.
It’s now all possible with the REAL Messenger app, an incredibly fast social media platform for real estate agents to promote their listings and share their styles and specialties, as well as their sales history and approach. Integrated into the app is an easy chat feature that replaces the need for cold calls, excessive emails, and online ads that don’t yield much return on investment.
Giving agents back control
From the agents’ perspective, sites and apps like Zillow are taking listing information from MLS agreements, repackaging it to promote it on their sites, then selling the information back to the agents who owned it in the first place! Agents end up paying these sites expensive advertising fees. And while many agents use Instagram to let their followers know about their listings, they are not really targeting a real estate-specific audience. WhatsApp is also used for secure, data-encrypted conversations ensuring quick exchanges of information. But how can an agent build their business when they’re promoting to people who are not in the market? Our formidable team of developers created the best of all worlds for the world of real estate — it’s like Instagram with a secure chat feature similar to that of WhatsApp.
The REAL advantage
Self-branding and inbound marketing is built into REAL. Agents brand themselves by creating content that showcases their listings, providing information buyers will need, and sharing their successes with transactions. Agents use the app’s three-point rating system to describe their listing and other important characteristics.
Potential buyers can search for anything specific to their interests (i.e., a home with a patio, a garden, or a swimming pool) in particular zip codes. They can also browse by scrolling through the listings to find the hottest, most popular real estate properties in their areas. These potential buyers can follow agents whose posts resonate with their preferences and interests, expanding agents’ networks.
Six Tips On How To Protect Your iPhone From Hackers
Can iPhones get hacked? What do you do if they are? And how can you secure them, once and for all? If these are questions that continually blow your mind – you’ve come to the right place to find the answers. In this article, we’ll guide you through some truly advanced iPhone security tips, from turning on 2FA to switching off auto-fill. No time to explain more – let’s get down to business!
- Regularly install updates
Keep your iPhone updated. This simple action is necessary to get fixes for random bugs and access exciting new features. Apple takes the security of its clients very seriously, meaning many of its updates come with security patches. Keep installing them regularly and don’t give hackers a chance to target you or your personal information.
If you’re not sure if your iPhone has all updates installed, then go to Settings > General > Software Update. If there is an update available, download and install it following the system prompts.
- Enable Find My and Self-Destruct to protect your phone data
Here’s what you can do to keep your private data safe if someone steals your iPhone:
- Enable Find My on your iPhone as soon as you get the chance. The app allows you to track your phone using any device that has the app installed. Alternatively, you can remotely wipe your iPhone clean to protect personal data. To enable Find My, go to Settings > Apple ID > Find My, then switch on the Find My iPhone feature.
- An even more radical decision is to go nuclear. All it takes is ten failed attempts to log into your phone, and it will automatically erase all the data. Be careful: this feature might backfire, so make sure you back up your device regularly. If you still believe the risk is worth taking, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and move the toggle Erase Data.
- Use password tricks
Everyone knows you need to set strong passwords to stay safe online, but that’s not the only strategy to protect your iPhone. You can also use iCloud Keychain to generate and store passwords. Don’t worry about forgetting them, though, as the service remembers passwords for you. To enable this feature, go to Settings and tap on your name. Then, choose iCloud > Keychain and switch the toggle on.
- Activate two-factor authentication
This means hackers will have no chance of logging into your Apple services without you knowing. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security > Two-Factor Authentication.
- Stay away from third-party apps and jailbreaking
Jailbreaking means allowing your iPhone to install apps and files from sources other than the Apple Store. Our advice: don’t do it. Once you decide to jailbreak your phone, leaking your personal data becomes so much easier. Any third-party app installed may breach your security. And if that’s not enough, jailbreaking your iPhone means your warranty becomes redundant.
- Revoke location tracking permissions
Allowing apps to track your location might not seem like a high price to pay for the full set of features. But it actually means these apps have access to valuable information about yourself that you don’t want to leak. The apps with access to your location know the routes you prefer and the places you frequent.
To change that, tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services. This is where you can review permissions for every installed app. Select those you consider untrustworthy and remove their permissions to track your location.
What Is Cognitive Computing?
Cognitive computing is the use of computerized models to simulate the human thought process in complex situations where the answers may be ambiguous and uncertain. The phrase is closely associated with IBM’s cognitive computer system, Watson.
Computers are faster than humans at processing and calculating, but they have yet to master some tasks, such as understanding natural language and recognizing objects in an image. Cognitive computing is an attempt to have computers mimic the way a human brain works.
To accomplish this, cognitive computing makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other underlying technologies, including the following:
- Expert systems
- Neural networks
- Machine learning
- Deep learning
- Natural language processing (NLP)
- Speech recognition
- Object recognition
Cognitive computing uses these processes in conjunction with self-learning algorithms, data analysis, and pattern recognition to teach computing systems. The learning technology can be used for speech recognition, sentiment analysis, risk assessments, face detection, and more. In addition, it is particularly useful in fields such as healthcare, banking, finance, and retail.
How Does Cognitive Computing Work?
Systems used in the cognitive sciences combine data from various sources while weighing context and conflicting evidence to suggest the best possible answers. To achieve this, cognitive systems include self-learning technologies that use data mining, pattern recognition, and NLP to mimic human intelligence.
Using computer systems to solve the types of problems that humans are typically tasked with requires vast amounts of structured and unstructured data fed to machine learning algorithms. Over time, cognitive systems are able to refine the way they identify patterns and the way they process data. They become capable of anticipating new problems and modeling possible solutions.
For example, by storing thousands of pictures of dogs in a database, an AI system can be taught how to identify pictures of dogs. The more data a system is exposed to, the more it is able to learn and the more accurate it becomes over time.
To achieve those capabilities, cognitive computing systems must have the following attributes:
- Adaptive. These systems must be flexible enough to learn as information changes and as goals evolve. They must digest dynamic data in real time and adjust as the data and environment change.
- Interactive. Human-computer interaction is a critical component of cognitive systems. Users must be able to interact with cognitive machines and define their needs as those needs change. The technologies must also be able to interact with other processors, devices, and cloud platforms.
- Iterative and stateful. Cognitive computing technologies can ask questions and pull in additional data to identify or clarify a problem. They must be stateful in that they keep information about similar situations that have previously occurred.
- Contextual. Understanding context is critical in thought processes. Cognitive systems must understand, identify and mine contextual data, such as syntax, time, location, domain, requirements, and a user’s profile, tasks, and goals. The systems may draw on multiple sources of information, including structured and unstructured data and visual, auditory, and sensor data.
Examples and applications of cognitive computing
Cognitive computing systems are typically used to accomplish tasks that require the parsing of large amounts of data. For example, in computer science, cognitive computing aids in big data analytics, identifying trends and patterns, understanding human language, and interacting with customers.
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