The Top 5 Money Tools I’m Using Most in 2024
Over the past several years, I’ve reviewed countless apps, platforms, and other tools related to personal finance. Often, I’ve also taken to naming some of my top picks for each year. Originally, this list featured apps that I was bullish on before transitioning to a collection of what I thought were the “most fascinating” startups. Well, unfortunately, the FinTech market has seen several casualties along the way, wiping out some of my favorites. So, as we start 2024, I’m going to keep things simple and focus on the five money tools — including some very familiar names — I anticipate using most in the year ahead.
FYI: I’m excluding my various credit cards from this list, but you can read all about those in my 2024 credit card strategy article.
My Top Money Tools for 2024
Starting off with one of the most well-known cashback tools on the market, Rakuten continues to be my first stop whenever I plan on shopping online. According to the site, since 2018, I’ve managed to earn $93.66 in cashback plus 26,316 American Express Membership Rewards points just by using the platform — and that doesn’t even include the cash and points my wife has also collected with her Rakuten account.
Even though Rakuten may not always have the highest cashback rates, I’ve found that it often does. So, while I will shout out the tool Cashback Monitor here as well, Rakuten has been my cashback default and will continue to hold that status throughout this year.
Next up is another cashback tool and a platform I’ve been talking about for many years: Dosh. As I recently recalled, I was all-in on Dosh when it first debuted but hadn’t done as much with the app for a few years. Well, I checked back in on it last year and was pleasantly surprised to find that the service still has a lot to offer.
In particular, two of our favorite spots around town offer 5% back using Dosh, while I’ve also managed to earn some “surprise” cashback on purchases from the likes of Shake Shack. Plus, after increasing its minimum cashout threshold to $25 a while back, they’ve since lowered it back down to $15, making it easier to claim your earnings.
Another update to Dosh is that they now offer Activate Offers. Although these deals are a bit more restrictive (such as only applying to linked Visa cards), they do bring a new slate of brands to the app. That addition plus the strength of Dosh’s signature in-store offers make me glad to have rediscovered the app and ensure that I’ll be relying on it often in 2024.
Later this year, the long-tenured and much-beloved app Mint will be shutting down. That’s a big loss for those who relied on the platform’s budgeting features and had years of their data tied to the service. As for me, though, I’d already moved onto Rocket Money.
Although Rocket Money may not have as many budget tools (at least not in the free version), it has several other features I care about. This includes account aggregation and, my personal favorite, the ability to see a calendar of recurring payments. In fact, in some cases, you can have them negotiate your bills for you if you pay them a portion of whatever savings you earn. That’s exactly what I had them do with our Sirius XM and I’d definitely do it again.
Ultimately, depending on what you need it for, Rocket Money may not entirely replace Mint in 2024. But, for me, it’s a timely alternative.
Let me start by saying that PrizePool is not the banking account I have the largest balance with. Yet, it’s the one that I check most often and that has technically brought me the greatest return in the past year.
If you’re not familiar, PrizePool is a banking app that offers weekly drawings where customers can win bonuses. While the platform has since added a number of features, that core function remains the same. I’ve previously compared PrizePool to an app with a seemingly similar concept called Yotta and ended up giving the edge to the former. Well, the delta between the two has only grown since then as PrizePool has pulled way ahead in my book.
I mentioned at the start that PrizePool has delivered my largest return percentage-wise. Despite only having about $150 in my account, I’ve earned more than $42 in the past year. Granted, $31 of this total came not from direct winning but from referral bonus rewards (when you refer someone to the app, you both get a 10% bonus when they win a prize). Because of this, your experience may vary based on how many people you happen to help sign up — but, for me, PrizePool has been an absolute winner.
Lastly, while it’s not just a financial platform, another one of my anticipated most-used tools is Aura — and that’s not just because my annual subscription renewed a couple of weeks ago.
With Aura, you can keep a close eye on your credit and get alerts whenever there’s any sort of inquiry. Meanwhile, the service includes many other features ranging from password management and a VPN to data broker removal. It’s also a clean, easy interface that makes me actually want to use the app/site. So, with another year of service now paid for, I’ll be sure to do just that.
Despite some of my favorite FinTech apps falling away over the years, there are still some I use regularly. What’s more, in the case of these five tools and others, I legitimately love these services and would recommend them to most people. Of course, while I feel like each of these picks is pretty secure as 2024 gets underway, the closure of Mint does show that even the biggest apps aren’t always safe. With that in mind, in addition to using these apps this year, I’ll (of course) also be on the lookout for the latest and greatest.