If you find the process of organising your finances a bit dull or so overwhelming you don’t know where to start, then you may be interested in the growing trend for personal finance apps and online tools.
One of the many benefits of smartphones is that they provide a great platform for developers to create tools that can make your life easier, and this is becoming ever more apparent in the world of online banking and money management.
These apps can help your money work harder for you, help you invest, manage a savings account for you and more.
Whatever your personal finance goals, there are plenty of apps and online tools to help you – and we’ve collated the best ones below with the help of online tool experts seotoolsguru.com.
The Moneybox app is built on a very simple premise: using your spare change as investment capital.
It works by rounding up everything you spend (you can set what range you want it to round up by) and then puts that amount into a stocks and shares ISA of your choice.
Moneybox is available to download for both Apple and Android devices. Once you’ve downloaded it, you just link it with your debit card.
It’s free to use for the first three months, after which it charges a £1 per month charge to cover transaction fees.
It also charges 0.45% platform fee and 0.2% to pay for the underlying tracker funds.
For those who want to view and manage all of their finances in one place, Money Dashboard is perfect.
This clever app bills itself as “Your personal financial assistant” and helps you track your spending and plan your budget.
Money Dashboard provides you with a full view of all your financial accounts and shows you exactly where your money goes.
If you have accounts with several different providers (e.g. current account, ISA, mortgage etc. with different banks) then this can be a great tool to save time while you review your finances.
Money Dashboard automatically categorises your spending, so you can quickly see how much is going out on your mortgage/rent, utility bills, fuel, food shopping etc. every month.
All of this data is used to create colourful graphs and charts to visualise your spending habits and help you get a better understanding of what you are spending and where you might be able to cut back.
Similar to Money Dashboard, Mint is another popular app that works as an effective money manager.
Mint helps you to “effortlessly” manage all of your finances in one place, and provides reports and insights on all your personal finance data to help you manage your money better.
You can categorise all of your spending, create budgets, check your credit score, get reminders for when bills are due and receive tips on how to save money based on your spending habits.
With Mint you can even schedule payments from within the app, so once your synced all of your various accounts with it you don’t need to be forever logging in to different platforms to manage your finances.
Mint is available for free on Apple and Android.
As you may have guessed from the name, this app is designed to help you ‘squirrel away’ part of your income, rather than spending it.
To use Squirrel you need to set up a new Barclays-run bank account which you pay your wages into, the app then splits this out into bills that need to be paid, a weekly spending allowance and savings. The point is that it forces you to stick to your predefined budget and avoid overspending or drifting into your overdraft.
Squirrel drips your money into the account when it is needed, so you don’t have to worry about having money available to pay your bills as this is only released into your account when it is needed.
If you require a bit of help when it comes to discipline with your personal finances, then Squirrel is a great choice to help you start managing your spending better. It’s also a great help when it comes to saving as you can set up how much of your salary you want to save each month and it keeps that cash back – which means no more dipping in to your savings every now and then for a cheeky takeaway!
Squirrel is available on Apple and Android and is free for the first three months, after which it costs £3.99 per month.
If you need a bit of help with keeping to a savings plan, but don’t want the full discipline of Squirrel then Chip is an interesting option.
Chip analyses your spending habits and then works out what you can afford to save each month without impacting your normal spending. It then siphons off that amount each month into a separate savings account for you.
The savings account gets a standard 1% interest, but you get an additional 1% for every friend you refer to Chip (up to a maximum of 5%).
To use Chip you need to give it access to your bank account (which is ‘read-only’ so it can only see the data, not make any changes) so that it can analyses your spending.
It then uses its own algorithm to calculate how much you can afford to put into your savings account and diverts that money into the separate savings account held with Barclays Bank. You can edit it to save more or less with just a touch of the button, as well as pause it whenever you feel like and cancel payments. There’s also the option to put more money into the savings account if you wish.
Chip is completely free and is available on Apple and Android devices.
It’s not just your spending and savings that can benefit from new technology, you can also get help with managing your pension investments.
PensionBee combines all of your old pensions into one simple plan, so you can see everything in one place and get accurate forecasts of how much your pension is worth.
Now that the idea of a ‘job for life’ is pretty much a thing of the past, many people have accumulated pension savings with various different providers. PensionBee can help you bring all of these together in one place, and provides an easy-to-use platform to control your retirement saving.
Finding your past pension contributions can all be done by PensionBee – just provide the names of your past employers and it will track them down. It then consolidates them into one dashboard which tells you how much your current pension pot is worth, your projected retirement income and so on.
You can also top up your pension with one-off payments via PensionBee, and it can send you all the relevant paperwork regarding guaranteed annuity rates or final salary promises if you are planning to transfer your pension.
PensionBee is free and doesn’t charge anything to consolidate your pensions. However, there is an annual fee of between 0.5% – 0.7% of your total pension value.