Using Technology to Organize Your Personal Finances

Using technology to help your personal finances is one of the best ways to get ahead financially. Gone are the days of ledgers and checkbook registers. Even many coupons are digital now.

Having helpful apps on your cell phone is an excellent way to track spending, save on purchases, and monitor investments. A quality iPhone or Android personal finance app can be addictive, which is a good thing.

If you have an easy-to-use app that you love to spend time with, you’ll be more likely to stick to your budget and become obsessive about saving money on items such as groceries or plane tickets.

In this article, we’ll look at some interesting and useful apps and desktop software you can use to help plan, save and invest for your future.

Budgeting Apps and Templates

Having a budgeting app handy on your cell phone will allow you to budget at any given moment of the day. You could plan your finances during a television commercial, log in your food receipt while waiting in line, or set up next month’s expenses while waiting for your dinner to cook. It’s so easy, that planning, tracking and saving could become a habit.

Here are two excellent apps and software:

  • Mint. Mint software comes from Intuit, the makers of Turbo Tax and Quickbooks. The software is available as an app and as online cloud software. It’s easy to use and comprehensive, with features like budgeting and bill pay. It also offers alerts on things you want to avoid, like paying fees, going over your budget, and being late on paying a bill. And best of all, Mint is free.
  • You Need a Budget. This app is a favorite of ours because it gives you more control over your budget. It allows you to account for every dollar of your income and lets you create savings goals for things like Christmas or a family vacation.

Sometimes you have a special project or need a document like a personal financial statement or a debt list template. Vertex 42 has a wealth of templates that may fit your needs. All templates work with Microsoft Excel, Open Office, and Google Sheets.

Be sure to choose an app or software that you like and understand so that you’ll be more likely to use it.

Apps that Save you Money on Purchases

You don’t have to do much clipping any more to use coupons and get discounts on household items. With apps, you can easily look up items that you consume to see if there’s an available discount.

Technology makes it easy to save because you can use search functions. One of the most useful apps is the Skyscanner, which tracks cheap flights for you and tells you when to purchase.

Two great apps that will help you save money on local activities like the movies and restaurants, are LivingSocial, and Groupon. Both apps make it easy to have fun locally while getting a deal on outings you like.

GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest gas closest to you. This can be helpful if you’re on the road in a new town and have no idea where to stop. BestParking will do the same, but with finding cheap parking when you want to go out or travel somewhere you’re unfamiliar with.

Savings and Investments

Technology has taken stock investing to a whole new level. Now you can learn how to trade for free with virtual money on apps like Stash and Stock Market Simulator. They’re both easy to use and excellent for people who want hands-on learning before investing with real money.

Stash will help when you’re ready to take your investing to the next level too. All you need is $5 to get started with an account.

Another outstanding savings and investment app is Acorns. Once you connect your debit and credit cards to the system, it rounds up every purchase you make and invests the spare change across 7,000 stocks and bonds. You can elect to invest more money automatically or make a one-time payment into your investment account.

Conclusion

Using technology for personal finance will help you budget, save, and invest wisely. Using personal finance apps can be fun and entertaining, and will help you focus more on your money.

Do you have a personal finance app, software, or template that helps you save, track, or invest your money?

How to Find the Best Car Insurance Online

Finding car insurance can seem like the biggest hassle. It’s tempting to put it off, sign up for the first deal that you see, or even just sign up with the same insurers as your parents. However if you’re looking to get the best value for your money, then you actually have to do the looking yourself.

Back in the day if you wanted to find the best insurance, you needed to pound the pavement and wade through a pile of greasy insurance salesmen who wanted you to buy cover for more than just your car. Blink for a moment with these guys and you would find yourself signed up for life insurance, health insurance, and riot insurance (did you know you could get that?) on top of the most expensive car insurance policy out there.

Thankfully, we have the internet now and finding the right insurance isn’t such a gut-wrenching trial.

Google It

Before picking up insurance, google it! Type in some of the obvious phrases like “Best car insurance for under 25’s” and “car insurance traps.” Have a look at what’s out there and wrap your head around some of the traps to avoid.

For example, you might want to take out the cheapest insurance you can find – after all that leaves more in your pocket. However if you take out minimal cover, you might find yourself $17,000 out of pocket after your insurance has paid all they’ve covered you for.

Use an Insurance Comparison Site

Now that you’ve got an idea of the amount of cover you need, and the pitfalls to avoid, use an insurance comparison site to find a cover that suits you. There are several websites that will list and compare multitudes of insurance options, so you don’t have to wade through every individual website. Chances are, if you google car insurance, you will find these websites easily.

These sites will also alert you to any deals that are currently on, such as a first month free, or a cash back offer. Just keep an eye out for the ‘sponsored’ links. These people pay to be pushed higher up in the search rankings, so while they might appear at the top of the list, they aren’t always a good deal.

Google It Again

Once you’ve reviewed the policies available and narrowed it down to two or three options, google those companies and see what people are saying about them.

Remember that no one likes insurance companies, are you aren’t likely to find many positive reviews. People mostly take to the internet to review a company when they’ve had a bad experience, so take their feedback with a grain of salt.

However, people also don’t complain without a reason. If a company has a string of complaints noting that they didn’t pay out when they should of, or that their customer service is impossible to deal with consider skipping them. It might cost you a few extra dollars a month, but insurance is pointless if it won’t pay when you need it.

The Importance of Managing your Finances in Marriage

Relationships are a pivotal part of society. From a young age, we go looking for a soul mate to spend our hearts, our dreams and our futures. We think about sharing our homes and our day-to-day lives; we think about having children and pets together, but many people forget to think about sharing their wallets.

We often think that love conquers all, but money is the leading cause of relationship divorce and breakdown. While love is powerful, the hip pocket is mightier than the heart.

Love and Money, Where to Start?

While dating is a whirlwind and falling in love can be intoxicating, it is important to consider money early on in your relationship. While entering a relationship with equal finance is not necessary, entering a relationship with shared ideals is important.

In a relationship, money can quickly become a taboo conversation if it’s not handled from the beginning. Once you have been living together for a while patterns become established whether you had agreed on them or not. It is important to set up the structure around who is paying for what before the bills hit your doorstep, otherwise you may find an inequality in who pays for what.

What’s Mine Is Yours

Different countries and states have different laws about when couples are merely dating and when they are in a relationship for finance’s sake. After moving in together, you can start claiming the benefits of marriage such a shared tax returns and shared health insurance.

While there are many benefits, that are also risks. Once you are in a relationship, sharing a home, bills and supporting one another then your things become shared. Challenges are shared, furniture is shared, victories are shared and assets are shared. Both in your eyes, and possibly in the eyes of the law. Even if you aren’t married, if your relationship falls apart you may have to split your assets with your ex-partner, even without a wedding ring.

Developing Goals as a Couple

The strongest way to keep your finances on track and to protect your relationship is to make shared goals. Sharing money goals and discussing them regularly can be the quickest way to ensure that you and your partner are open about your spending habits.

Without shared targets, it can be easy to start spending ‘your’ money without considering how it affects the relationship. At first this can be okay – after all, no relationship ever broke down because of one extra beer at happy hour, or a new pair of shoes. However, when couples don’t have shared goals and one is saving heavily while the other is bulking out their wardrobe.

While relationship breakdown isn’t likely from a slight mismatch in spending habits, hiding those habits can become an issue. Especially when one partner is in debt (perhaps student loan debt), or brings debt to a relationship.

Without shared financial goals, and open communication money can tear apart even the most loving relationship.