Need to manage your money? There’s an app for that
With over 1.6 million apps available for download, there literally is an app for just about everything. Some have changed the world as we know it (think Uber or Spotify). Some are distracting timewasters. And some just make life that little bit easier by helping you get things done, 24/7. That’s where most money management apps lie.
Let’s be clear. The simple act of downloading an app isn’t going to solve your money troubles. You still have to invest time and energy into managing your money, but the apps definitely make this much more convenient.
Set a budget
The starting point for all things money is setting a realistic budget, and there are loads of apps that can help you here.
GoodBudget (iOS, Android) helps you plan your money by using the ‘envelope’ system of budgeting. You create the envelopes that suit you (eg. bills, holidays, groceries, play money) and track the spending from each. It’s easy to sync and share your budget with other family members and across devices.
If you suspect you’re spending a bit too much on things that aren’t strictly necessary, the ASIC MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app (iOS, Android) has a ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ feature you’ll probably develop a love-hate relationship with. It also lets you set overall spending limits per week, month or year – as well as categorise expenses and create limits for each category. Money Brilliant which gives you a complete view of your money by connecting to your financial institutes. Keeps you on top of your budget with no data entry required. Plus, set goals, be alerted to bills and more. See how it works. Pocketbook (iOS, Android) does a lot of the same, while syncing with your bank accounts, credit cards and loans – and they both ‘remember’ your regular transactions, so entering that daily coffee is simple.
While you may be focused on saving and budgeting, you will still be spending money somewhere along the way. Just about everywhere you go these days has a loyalty program that offers some sort of saving, rewards or special offer. Rather than bulking up your wallet with a physical card, scan all your loyalty cards into Stocard (iOS, Android) and you’ll always have the right card on hand at the right shop.
If you dread the end of the month trawl for receipts to justify your expenses, do yourself a favour and look into Expensify (iOS, Android). Use Expensify to take a picture of your receipt, save it to the appropriate report and you’re done! SmartScan technology reads the receipt and creates the expense, taking the time, paper, and headaches out of your expenses.
Most of us recognise PayPal as being the easy and safe way to pay online. But now you can pay in physical stores using your PayPal app (iOS, Android). The app also makes it easy to transfer money between friends, which are fantastic when you are splitting the bill for lunch, chipping in for a gift, or collecting money for a work outing.
Reach for bigger goals
Once you get in the rhythm, you’ll find yourself reaching some of those smaller milestones you set for yourself. Then it’s onwards and upwards to the bigger ones – such as buying a property.
If you’re looking to buy a home or investment property, Mortgage Finder (iOS) makes it easier to search thousands of home loans. See how much you can save, and find a local mortgage broker to help you with approvals and paperwork.
When you want to do the math on where you are sitting financially, or perhaps some projections on where you could be, try the MoneySmart Financial Calculator (iOS, Android). With a calculator for savings, loans, mortgages, superannuation and interest- free deals, it will help you get fast answers to your money questions.
And finally, if you need help to work out your financial goals, Map My Plan is the online tool you need. Enter details on where you are now (debts, assets and income) and where you want to get to (your goals), and Map My Plan will provide you with a road map to navigate your financial future. This is financial planning without the expense of a financial planner.