With so much free time on your hands courtesy of COVID-19, now is the ideal time to get your personal finances in check. After all, we’re all capable of spending beyond our means from time to time, splashing out on the odd extravagant purchase here and there.
But facts are facts and extravagant purchases add up so, without keeping on top of your money, you could be spending beyond your means a little too often.
With this in mind, join us as we take a detailed look at some of the best apps designed to help you budget, invest and keep on track of your incomings and outgoings.
If you’re a bit of a shopaholic and tend to be out more than you’re in, Emma could be the ideal app to help you budget.
This app connects with all your existing online banking accounts, syncing all the balances and transaction histories into one central location. The app’s easy-to-use UX then provides you with a detailed overview of your spending behaviour, making it easy to see how much money you’ve got left across all your accounts and credit cards.
From here, you can set yourself an overall budget for the month to help keep your costs down across certain categories like transport, bills or groceries. For each transaction you make, Emma will automatically assign these to your specific categories, making it easier to monitor not only how much you’re spending but how much you have left to spend for the rest of the month.
If you’ve ever fancied getting started as an investor but haven’t been sure how or where to start, Moneybox could be the answer.
Rather than needing to learn how to become a bespoke watch collector or stock exchange expert, this innovative app works by rounding up each of your purchases to the nearest pound and then investing that money into a stocks and shares ISA.
If you’re an avid Costa fan, for instance, each time you spend £2.75 on a flat white, the app will take £3 out of your account and put the spare 25p into your ISA.
While this may only seem like a small amount, each small investment adds up over time, enabling you to invest without really noticing too much of a difference. You also choose your own level of risk, which allows you to be cautious, balanced or adventurous with your investment.
Budgeting apps may be a great way to control your finances, but you now also have the opportunity to budget using digital-only banks.
Gone are the days of needing to use high-street banks like Barclays, NatWest or Lloyds TSB. Today, digital-only banks make it easier to monitor your spending and set yourself savings goals.
Having been voted the Best British Bank for the last three years running, it’s safe to say that Starling is one of the best app-based banks currently available out there. This app/bank provides users with the ability to keep multiple savings goals in one place and round up transactions to the nearest pound, automatically siphoning money away into a savings pot.
While the words ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) may conjure up images of scary cyborg robots hellbent on destroying the world, it turns out AI isn’t quite as scary as the movies make it out to be. In fact, if anything, it’s making our lives as humans easier.
Cleo is a perfect example of this. Rather than being the name of a cyborg assassin, Cleo is an AI-based chatbot assistant which gives you instant answers to questions you want to know about your accounts.
Whether it be your spending or saving habits, the app provides you with a detailed overview of your accounts alongside various charts and graphs. While it won’t give you the same hands-on control as some other apps on this list, Cleo is one of the most convenient budgeting apps there is.
5. Money Dashboard
Once you’ve hooked it up with access to all your accounts, it puts all your information in one place to let you easily see where your money is coming and going. Its nifty charts and infographics also make it easy to see and categorise your spending habits over previous months, allowing you to identify where you could make savings.
The only downside with the app is that it’s a read-only tool, meaning you’ll need to leave the app if you want to move money around. That said though, it’s one of the easiest and most attractive budgeting apps available out there and it’ll certainly help keep your finances in check.