Most of us are running a pay day to pay day type of arrangement. But there comes a time in everyone's life where they do actually need to think about what they're doing with their cash.
That time is now.
So, if you're looking to get your money sorted there are a bunch of apps out there that can help as a starting point. Our finance expert Ben Nash is on the case.
When you’re young and in the process of building your savings and investments, how much you spend and save is the one area that has the biggest impact on how fast (or slow) you get ahead.
Today there are a bunch of apps that can help you understand where your money goes.
Two of the most popular are Pocketbook and Money Brilliant, both of which link to your bank account and break down your expenses into categories. You can then set your budget in the app and track how well you stick to it. Both apps are free, and Money Brilliant has a $10/month version that allows you to link your super fund, investments, and debts to get a combined picture of your overall financial position.
Ok so this isn’t really an app, but I felt I had to include a word of warning here. You should be aware that the apps above look into the past, not the future. Sometimes going old school is super effective.
Listing out your budget in a spreadsheet can make it easy to see all your spending in one place - often an eye-opening exercise. Once you have everything listed out it’s easier to tweak your budget to allocate your money to the things that bring you the most value and enjoyment while hitting your savings targets.
Once you have your budget, a good banking structure with different buckets of money can keep you on the front foot and make sure you have the right money in the right places at the right times.
Raiz (formerly Acorns Australia)
This app makes it easy to get started investing. Raiz is a micro-investing app that allows you to invest small amounts of money at a reasonably low cost. Because of the low fees, you can start with literally nothing and set up a regular contribution to build an investment portfolio.
Raiz has a ‘round up’ feature that automatically rounds all purchases up to the nearest dollar and then invests the ‘leftover’ change, which can be a good way to invest without having to put specific money aside. But my favourite feature is the regular investment function where you can invest as little as one dollar (or as much as you like) in the frequency that suits you best.
You should be aware that any money going into Raiz is invested in the share market, so will increase and decrease in value based on what’s happening in investment markets. This means it may be a bad idea to invest any money you need in the short term because if the share markets go down your savings will go down with it! Take the time to map out your investment strategy and/or get personalised financial advice before you get started.
Splitwise is a handy app for people living in share housing or those social butterflies who are constantly doing stuff with mates. The app allows you to set up a profile for your inner circle of contacts and keep a running tally of any money you owe or are owed so nothing gets missed. You can then make or receive payments in bigger chunks instead of having a bunch of smaller transfers that are harder to track. The app is well designed, easy to use, and best of all free.
Whether you're looking to save, invest, or manage your money better there’s an probably an app out there that can help. But remember, you can’t outsource your money success to technology! You should first get clear on the results you’re trying to achieve and why they’re important to you. This can help you clarify where an app can assist, then you need to be prepared to focus on the important and put in the work to make it happen.
To keep yourself in the know with all things cash and careers, check out our Careers & Money section.
Ben Nash is a Financial Adviser and the Founder of Pivot Wealth, a money management company that helps young professionals get smarter with their money.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it, and seek professional advice from a finance professional.
Image credit: Brooke Cagle