How to Manage Your Money Using Apps
Do you struggle to keep on top of your spending? Have you got bills to pay left right and center? Did you realize the world of apps has something to help you manage your money better? We use apps for playing games, watching the weather, organizing our shopping, keeping ourselves fit and much more. Well, now it’s possible to use an app for organizing your monthly budget, keeping you out of debt, track your expenses and to help you save. In fact, there are so many apps you might wonder which is the best one. This guide will help you find one.
Different Types of Personal Finance Software
There is a wide range of different tools you can use to help you manage your finances better. Thankfully, the most popular tend to fall within a few different categories. These are the tools that will cover most people’s needs. They include:
- Budgeting software: This is designed to help you track your spending. Ideally, you should be choosing one that allows you to sync your financial accounts, which includes your checking account, savings, investments and credit cards. It also allows you to track any loans you may have taken. This kind of software categorizes your spending automatically, and it’s possible for you to set your own spending limits.
- Savings software: If you want to save for something special, such as a new car or an exotic vacation, this type of software will help you put aside a certain amount of money each month.
- Investment software: This software helps you build a portfolio and make trades. The investment world can be very overwhelming for beginners, and this tool will ease the stress.
- Bills software: This software is helpful for managing, tracking and canceling utilities and subscriptions.
Taxes software: Do you enjoy filing your taxes? This software takes the hassle out of preparing and filing them. You will be guided through the process with a series of straightforward questions.
Factors to Look For
The first question you need to ask yourself is what are you expecting from your finance tool? Do you want something simple or more sophisticated? Do you want to be able to track your income and expenditure or are you more worried about getting help with saving? Once you’ve decided what you’ll be using the app for, you can consider other factors. For example:
- Cost: Ideally, you want to choose an app that’s free. A free app is always a good place to start, especially if there’s a premium version you can upgrade to later. Try a range of different apps for free and if you find one you like using, pay for the upgrade and get some extra features.
Support: While user guides and FAQs pages tend to cover most problems, there may well come a time when you need some extra support. Having a real person on the end of the telephone or via live chat can be very reassuring.
- Restrictions: If you’ve got a variety of different accounts, check whether the software has any restrictions. Some limit the number of accounts you can add or might restrict you to one particular type.
- Reports: If you’re the kind of person that likes to have something to look at, then look for an app that provides reports. There are those that use charts and graphs, many of which can be customized.
- Credit score: Knowing your credit score can be useful if you ever want to apply for credit from a financial institution such as Bonsai Finance, get a credit card or mortgage. Making use of weekly or monthly updates will allow you to see how your financial decisions have affected it.
- Security: Look for an app that offers the best in data encryption. When you use a financial management tool, you’ll be entering sensitive information such as your account numbers. It’s important this information is kept safe from prying eyes. Checking the software privacy or security statement will reassure you that information is safe.
Easy to set up: You don’t want to choose budgeting software that is difficult to set up. The best way to find out is to take advantage of a free trial.
Tips for Using a Budget App Safely
Before you start using your budgeting app, here are some tips to help you use it safely. You are going to be handing over sensitive information, so it’s important you understand how this can be kept safe. The advice that follows applies to any financial information you choose to share online.
Always protect yourself with a password. If you’re using a budget app, the chances are that the site encrypts the password. However, if your smartphone is stolen because you left it on the table in a restaurant, it’s a different situation entirely. You should always password-protect your smartphone, as doing so means that anyone who gets hold of your phone can’t access it without the password.
The password you choose should be a complicated one. Don’t be tempted to use your date of birth, address, kid’s name, marriage date or anything else it would be easy to guess. Auto-logins can be very convenient but you’re just asking for trouble if you use them.
Use anti-virus software on your phone. If you’re using anti-virus software for your computer, chances are there will be an option to download it onto a phone as well.
When you’re out in public don’t worry about playing with your budget app, particularly if you’re using public Wi-Fi. If you really have to log into your app, then use your cellular data and always log off when you’re finished. Take a look around you as well, because there could be someone looking over your shoulder.
Financial management tools are a great way to track your expenses and income. It is possible to use them to great effect and keep on top of your spending. There are a few security risks to using them, but this applies for much of what we do online. The benefits far outweigh any risks, and as long as you’re smart and careful, you’ll be doing everything you can to reduce any risk.
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