Mobile apps – a smart way to manage your finances

News & Insights

MoneyPlus Features Team

19th August 2016 at 8:44am

Britons are embracing mobile banking in their droves as payments via smartphone apps rocketed 54% in 2015, reaching a value of £347m.

But what if the trusty smartphone could also provide the means to get you savvier with your savings?

Sofa so good

According to a report by the British Bankers’ Association, the average customer of certain UK banks views their finances on their phone more than once a day – and much of this balance checking and payment making is done while sitting in front of the TV. The sofa has literally become a cashline.

With people choosing to juggle ‘Corrie’ with their cash transactions, it shows just how far the mobile world has come in fuelling financial engagement by making things simple and convenient.

However, your mobile has the potential to do so much more than just view and transact.

There are apps available that offer everything from personalised budgets to custom savings goals and sophisticated ways to track your daily expenses. There’s no need to spend valuable time working on a budget when the best personal finance apps automate much of it, help you quickly learn habits and alert you to costly money mistakes before they happen.

A budget mobile

Here are four apps recently reviewed by the website dailyworth.com that give you the potential to save more and budget better.

These apps can help improve your savings game without taking more of your precious time.

Level

Beautifully designed and easy-to-navigate, Level money app automatically updates you throughout the day on how much spendable cash you have. It starts by syncing with your bank or savings account, then examines how much remains in your account after deducting what you’ve spent for the day. It uses that average daily spend to estimate how much you can spend over the next week or month. If there’s not enough money in your account to support these spending habits, Level lets you know by putting an asterisk next to the estimate.

Dailyworth say the insights section is especially useful if you’re trying to track a certain category of spending to understand where your money goes. In testing they created a section called “coffee” then told the app to track all the debits from the testers usual café.

Level showed how much the tester spent in a month, the average spends per month if they continued at this rate, and a projected annual amount spent. Level also provides a bank balance chart showing how your bank account will look if you continue your spending pattern.

Unsplurge

Unsplurge helps you focus on saving with visual and community elements. It starts with a simple question: What do you want to save for? You tell the app the answer, enter an amount, and upload a photo. It then tracks your progress and shows you visualisations, making your goal that much more tangible.

The app also has a section called Town, which brings in a community element. Here you see what other people’s savings goals are.

If the community element isn’t enough to get you into a saving mentality, the app also offers savings tips — one is the 52-week money challenge, which suggests you start by putting £1 into your savings on week 1, then £2 on week 2, and so on.

Daily budget

If you’re looking for a clean and minimal app that makes saving as simple as possible then Daily Budget might be the app for you.

It calculates a daily budget for you based on your income and recurring expenses (rent/housing, Internet, telephone, insurance, gas, etc.) and asks what percentage of your income you want to put toward savings. The app then breaks down that number to a percentage per day and month, which makes your savings goals feel more realistic. From there it gives you a total daily budget number to hit, which means you can start saving as soon as possible.

Digit

Rather than a traditional app that populates your phone screen, Digit operates through the web and via text messages. Like Level, it syncs directly with your bank accounts.

Digit sends one text per day to let you know what your new checking account balance is and can also text you how much your bank balance changed over the past two days. It gives you the option to ask why your balance changed, then lists all your debits from the previous day. If you get in the habit of using the app regularly, Digit becomes a great tool for conducting detailed daily financial check-ins.

With all this data, Digit recommends a savings contribution based on your spending patterns. And with the automatic savings feature, Digit will transfer a set amount of money into your savings account on a daily basis.

Get smart

Your financial decisions and activities – budgeting, spending, saving, investing, retirement planning – affect your financial health both now and in the future. While it used to be challenging, to say nothing of tedious, to keep track of all of your financial activities, today’s mobile apps make these chores easy, and even fun.

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