Maintaining financial wealth involves being acutely aware of your spending and having creative ways to save money when you need to tighten up your finances. Technology is such a big part of our lives every day, from the smart phones we use to keep in touch with loved ones and work through to the ability to use technology to help us spend less money. Whether you start by automating your essential expenses on a dedicated credit card or using financial apps to help monitor your spending, there are a number of ways to use technology to help you better manage your finances. If you’re looking for some new ways to get on top of your finances, keep reading to learn my top 4 ways technology can help you spend less money.
Automate Your Essentials
If you’re trying to spend less money, one of the most important things you may need to do is to get a clear idea of all your absolutely essential expenses. These are things you need to pay each month and contribute to your baseline living costs. Things I would consider to be essentials include accommodation costs, electricity, health insurance heating, water, food, phone and Internet payments as well as car payments. If you’re a parent, your regular expenses may include formula, childcare, and school costs. Write out a list of everything that you need to spend each month and make a clear total.
I use a specific credit card to pay for all of my essentials, and because it’s the same amount each month there’s very little variation on the credit card and it allows me to better plan my finances. Having a separate credit card each month for only my essentials means that I am not blurring together my personal spending with the things I really need, and it makes it easier to be more mindful about the extras that I spend on, in turn helping me save money. If you feel that at the end of every month your credit card statement is always considerably higher than you expected, then this could be a good option for you.
Use Financial Apps
There are a ton of special finance-based apps that you can download onto your smartphone to help you achieve more with your finances. There are a ton of different styles of budget apps, but one of the most popular ones is called Mint. It’s a free app, so you won’t break the bank paying for a monthly subscription. Through Mint you can easily track your spending, income, and act as a platform to sync up all of your money accounts so you can easily see your financial health at one glance.
Mint also has the added advantage of allowing you to access your credit card score for free from within the app, which helps you monitor your overall financial rating as you cut down spending and save. I suggest finding an app that you like the look of that allows you to track your spending, as once you know where your money is going, you can more easily make changes to keep more of it around.
Keep the Change
Many banks around the world offer interesting saving methods to help boost your savings. My bank allows me to set an amount to be put into my savings account with every transaction. For example, if I spend $2.70, it would round the transaction up to the nearest dollar and transfer it automatically to my savings account. I don’t have to think about it at all. See if your bank offers any automatic savings plans such as this. I basically think of it as a modern day piggy bank, where the change is set aside. While thirty cents might not seem like a lot, if you consider how many transactions you do in a day or even in a week, you can quickly see that this can add up fast.
If this isn’t an option for you at the bank you use, then it may be worth setting up some other kind of automatic savings plan to take the thought out of setting money aside. I personally find it works well for me to be ambitious about my savings goals, planning to save more than I expect knowing I can take some out if I really need to. If you receive a regular pay cheque, then you can set up an automatic payment to go directly into your savings account each week, month or pay cheque.
Have you ever watched a show about extreme couponers – people who save unbelievable amounts of money on purchases by clipping coupons like their lives depend on it? It’s impressive, and inspiring, but the reality is most of us don’t have time to dedicate our lives to couponing. For this reason I think it’s much easier to find a good couponing app that you love, pop it on your phone and you can earn cash back as you spend or claim discounts on things you need to buy. There are so many different types of coupon apps to choose from, but one that is very popular and loved by many is Ibotta. The reason that I rate this app so highly is because it can be used for almost every purchase you make everywhere. You’ll earn cash back as you make your normal purchases and once you reach $20 you can withdraw the money, enjoying your easy savings!
It’s not groceries where you can do cash backs, but in certain restaurants, pharmacies, at the movies, and other stores. You’ll be surprised by how much money you’ve been leaving on the table by not using a couponing app to earn cashbacks and discounts.
Technology is such a big part of our lives, it just makes sense to see how it can positively impact our finances too. Whether your goal is to cut spending so you can live off one income, or you’re hoping to figure out a way to save more so you can move forward with a big purchase, these technology hacks can help you better manage your finances to help you achieve your financial goals.