In today’s connected, hi-tech world, we really have no excuse for not managing our money properly. But somehow, despite the plethora of apps that are now available that allow us to quickly and easily track our spending and balance our personal budgets, we do still find reasons for not diving in and downloading.
Whether it is worries about how secure these kinds of technology are, or simply the fact that the sheer amount of choice can sometimes be overwhelming, many people are missing out. So, we thought it would be useful to give you a very quick overview of just a few of the apps that we have used and found useful. Here are the apps we think are the best money management tools out there.
This fantastic app won us over straight away because it is high quality, secure, easy to use – and free. Here’s how it works. You can connect Mint to all of your bank accounts as well as your credit cards, giving you a clear overview of what is going in and out of your accounts each month. It basically helps you to monitor all of your monthly outgoings (including fixed costs like utility bills or broadband rental charges) and keeps everything together in one place. We found it a very user friendly experience, and particularly good for things like keeping up with regular payments – it will give you handy reminders to let you know when and what you need to pay. It even has a feature that shows your real-time credit score – again, something that we all need to keep a close eye on and regularly work to improve.
We really like Digit – it is incredibly easy to use and will help you to start to get into the saving habit, essentially by automating the process. It does it by carefully monitoring your spending habits (again, like Mint, you’ll connect it to your bank accounts) and then automatically taking out a small amount on a regular basis. This money is invested into a savings account, allowing you to begin to steadily build up a lump sum over time. While they will only transfer money you can actually afford, it is also easy to just transfer any money back to your current account – just send them a text.
You Need a Budget
We have talked here before about just how important it is to budget effectively – and to avoid falling into serious debt. The You Need a Budget app is a fantastic way to do just that – by making all the money you have available to you work as hard as possible. It’s not free (there is a small monthly fee), but we think that the money it will help you to save will mean that it will begin to pay for itself very quickly.
Again, it will link up directly with all your bank accounts and cards, giving you a clear breakdown of exactly where you need to focus on in order to help you get out of debt. And while it seems counter intuitive to pay for something in order to get yourself out of debt, it is the sheer amount of good advice and helpful tools on this app that really make it worth it.
From little acorns… This is another great app that makes saving a helpful lump sum straightforward and relatively painless. It does it by automating the whole investment process, using your regular spending habits to begin to build up an amount in a savings account.
So how does it work? Well, you’ll link your bank card to the app, and then every time you spend it will automatically round the amount up. That small difference between the cost of the item you’ve just bought (for example a cup of coffee for €2.75) and the rounded up figure (€3) is then invested automatically for you into a savings account. It doesn’t sound much, but done regularly it can steadily build a nice lump sum without you even noticing the difference. A highly recommended and easy to use route into the world of micro investing.
There are a huge range of options in terms of money management apps, but we would also recommend that you download the official online banking app for your bank if you haven’t done so already. Most of them are easy to use and totally secure, and are a great way to get started with managing your money more closely.