If you want to know about the latest money management tools that are out there for you to use then your favourite UK Money Bloggers are definitely the people you should be speaking to.
This year’s big open banking shake-up of the financial industry (you can read more about open banking here) has done exactly what it was intended to do – it’s completely opened up the market for money management tools with new ones being released all the time. The tools that are available now are so much more innovative than they have been in the past and it really is so much easier (but still secure) to keep control of your finances.
The UK Money Blogging community is often the first to hear about these money management tools and we road test them extensively before deciding whether we think our readers will benefit from them. Between us, we will have tried pretty much every tool out there so today, we’re going to share our favourite ones with you.
Before we start though, not everyone uses technology to manage their finances, Becky from Family Budgeting uses a good old-fashioned notebook, writing down everything that she spends so she can easily track it against her allocated budget. She’s got a very good point when she says ‘Hows that for low tech? It’s easy to carry round in my bag and needs no wifi.’ And Becky’s not the only one. Michelle from Time and Pence says ‘I’m a little old fashioned but I use a traditional diary as my tool. I write all the money I make from home down each day so I can keep a track of my various income streams. This keeps me focused on my goals and keeps me organised!’
So don’t feel bad if you don’t want to use a money management tool, the most important thing is that you find a way of managing your finances that you’re happy with. But if you do, here’s five recommendations from the UK Money Bloggers Community:
Katy from Katy Kicker is a fan of Cleo and says ‘I’ve recently been using Cleo to help me budget better, see my incomings, track my different bank accounts at the click of a button and skim my bank account too for some extra holiday savings!’ Cleo is a great money management tool and allows you to manage all of your accounts in one place and will even give you updates via Facebook Messenger if you want it to which means you really can manage your money on the go.
Clare from My Money Cottage says ‘I’ve been trialling the Squirrel app to help to keep track of my money. It’s a Barclays-held account that splits your salary up into your bills, savings, and a weekly allowance to spend on whatever you like. It keeps bills money separate so that you can’t accidentally spend it if you have bills coming out all through the month.’ Sounds great, doesn’t it?
It’s not just budgeting that this new wave of money management tools can help you with though. If it’s specifically savings that you want to focus on then Sara from Debt Camel has a great one to share with you. She says ‘My top tip is to sign up to Chip, an app which helps you save small amounts every week or so without noticing it, it really is painless. What would you do with this money? You could pay it off an expensive credit card every month, or keep it as an emergency fund or use it to save up for Christmas.’
Another thing you might want to focus on might be tracking your net worth each month and Emma from the Money Whisperer has a great recommendation for that. She says ‘I track my net worth each month so I love Money Dashboard as I can see all my balances in one place. I love the graphical analysis of spending – I’m a visual person so seeing a massive chunk of a pie chart on x or y makes me really think about that expense.’
And finally, if you do want to try something new but are still drawn to a slightly more old-fashioned method then Karyn from Miss Thrifty might have just what you’re looking for. She says ‘I’ve tried a variety of different tools over the years: spreadsheets, websites, apps, the lots. More recently, however, I’ve looked to the Far East for household budgeting inspiration. I’m using the Kakebo method, from Japan. It’s a planner-type book – old school! – in which you plan your income and outgoings for the month, update with every single expense and reflect upon your goals and progress. The thinking goes that tidy finances equal a tidy mind, and so far I’m finding this to be true. I like Kakebo because of the simplicity and also the ease of use: no faffing about with passwords, it looks beautiful and takes seconds to update daily. There are a few English-language Kakebo books about, but I use the Short Books version. It looks gorgeous, is printed on thick creamy paper and with the money I’m saving, I have already recouped the £8 investment just weeks into the New Year.