It seems that for every area of our lives there is a digital equivalent and the financial sector is perhaps the most important of these areas. It used to be that when we did our accounts we lived among endless reams of paper and folders to keep on top of our finances. These days, we can bank, budget, track expenses, send payments, receive money, send invoices, and check our credit score options online – all from the comfort of our homes. If you want to go paperless and leverage digital technology to help you manage your finances better, the following are some starting points to consider.
Do you know what the annual fee on your credit card is? Does the term ‘debt-to-available-credit ratio’ sound familiar? Are you aware of the terms and conditions for armed forces forgiveness for college tuition? Do you know about collateral and how you can use your assets to secure a personal loan? If not, it’s time to use the technology that’s at your fingertips to learn about money and how it works. Reading financial blogs, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts and taking online courses in personal finances are all great ways to open your eyes and become more financially aware.
Budgeting used to involve sifting through endless amounts of invoices, payment slips and receipts. Most people weren’t able to effectively forecast spending, which made the task stressful and time-consuming. Now, you can budget on the go and plan for expenses such as groceries, rent/mortgage repayments, utilities, transport, insurance and loan payments etc. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have money aside for your planned living costs and unexpected expenses when you use a budgeting app. Some of the most downloaded apps are YNAB, EveryDollar, Personal Capital and PocketGuard.
Proof of Spending
When you use one of these apps to create a budget and track expenses, you won’t necessarily need to keep all your receipts (though this can be good practice). You can keep track of your receipts by scanning them the old-fashioned way using a scanner or, if that sounds like too much trouble, apps such as Expensify, Receiptmate, SmartReceipt and NeatReceipts come highly recommended.
All in one Systems
As powerful as all the apps above are, the trend is shifting towards apps that allow users to take full control over their finances in one central hub. Apps like Mint and Quicken will combine your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments in one place so you’ll always know where you stand financially. That means no more guessing and no more running out of money when you thought you had sufficient funds in your bank account.
Investments and Pensions
Beyond day to day spending, money management systems can also help you find ways of putting something aside for the future. Many websites and apps can now help you decide where to manage your investments and consolidate your pensions. You can see at a glance whether any stocks you’ve invested in are doing well, how your pension fund is growing and whether you can move any of your old pension plans into a new one. Robinhood, Acorns, Vault and Clink are just some of the options in the iOS and Android marketplace.