Are You Making the Most of Personal Finance Technology?



Personal finance is precisely that: Personal. Each individual ultimately decides how he or she handles financial matters. Traditional methods hold up just fine for some, providing a workable system managing money. Others charged with household financial responsibilities prefer to lean on the latest technology, reconciling money matters with the help of apps and automation. Whether you take pen to paper balancing your budget or depend upon electronic wizardry to keep your financial affairs in order, the benefits of staying atop your finances are undeniable. Making the most of financial technology can help, so it pays to keep an open mind about personal finance tools.

In much the same way communication has evolved in recent years, technology has also changed the way people keep track of their money. Electronic banking now enables users to conduct most business from their desktops or using handheld devices. And through banking automation, payroll deposits and recurring payments can be made without actually handling the paperwork. These streamlined services not only assist customers, but also make processes more efficient for banking institutions. Building on the convenience and efficiency of electronic transactions, developers have now devised personal finance apps and software aimed at simplifying not only banking, but other personal financial matters. The following apps represent only a few of the popular platforms in use today, helping tech-savvy users find financial success.

Mint

Among an increasingly diverse array of mobile finance apps, Mint has long stood out as one of the leading budgeting aids. To simply finance, Mint pulls together all your banking and credit accounts in one place, linking them through the app. The all-purpose Intuit finance service gives you the tools needed to track spending and create budgets. The app can also be used to remind you when bills come due, ensuring you never miss a payment. And its credit score feature helps you keep current on your credit status.

Users gain access to Mint through its mobile app or website and there is no charge to use the service. Once you’ve linked your accounts to Mint, the app analyses various aspects of your financial life, including spending habits and credit obligations. The app is even capable of pulling-up historical data, so it can begin dispensing useful feedback from day one. Mint’s budgeting features rapidly categorise spending, so you know exactly where your money goes. And the app will recommend spending limits, based on your financial history in each category.

Level Money

One of the proprietary features of this worthy personal finance app is its ability to designate what is “Spendable”. Once your accounts have been linked and your recurring expenses entered, the app first helps you meet savings goals and then returns a “Spendable” sum for discretionary purchases. Staying true to a long-range financial plan you design, the app can also help you target financial benchmarks and adjust your approach as conditions change.

Part of its planning feature enables Level Money software to analyse past income and spending – which is particularly helpful to those with irregular earnings and/or fluctuating monthly payments. Say your energy bill or credit card charges ebb and flow seasonally, for instance; Level Money recognizes the spending curve to provide the most accurate budgeting information available. The free app also lets users incorporate customised notifications and financial reminders.

LearnVest

With its educational roots, LearnVest puts-forth a highly informative personal finance app. Like Mint, the online educator’s mobile app furnishes a comprehensive framework for managing money, simplifying access to all your accounts through a single portal. The app is free for download on mobile devices, but there is an upsell option, offering advising services with a live financial consultant. The apps free tools are nonetheless helpful, enabling LearnVest users to check-in on account balances, review purchase details, track spending by time and category, and efficiently perform budgeting tasks – among other features.

Qapital

Comprehensive financial apps address widespread concerns with a single platform, but specialty apps are also available, emphasising particular aspects of healthy money management, Qapital is the perfect iPhone app for users intent on personal savings. Whether you are putting aside money for a particular purchase or trying to streamline overall spending, the app points-up ways to take home savings on everyday spending. You can tie incremental savings to reaching personal goals, for instance, or instruct the app to round-up purchases. Although users are prompted to open a new bank account, Qapital services are free to use. A relative newcomer, Qapital continues to garner attention for its innovative approach, recently recognized as one of the best European startups.

Whether you are an experienced money manager or just getting started balancing your books, modern finance technology can help you succeed. Several worthy budgeting apps extend comprehensive financial management tools capable of streamlining and simplifying your finances. With your personal goals (shared during setup) to guide them, the intuitive programs can help you find ways to save money and make the most of your financial resources. If you haven’t yet waded-in, consider exploring these helpful finance tools.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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