As you know, we live in a new world of technology today. Visiting your local bank, using a checkbook to write down spending, receiving your bills in the mail and writing out your budget on paper, still have merit, but can be automated with software and online services to save you time. Time and accuracy are the most notable advantages of technology.
As a volunteer financial coach, I often hear people complain about the time required to budget, tracking spending, etc. In my opinion, these are responsibilities that shouldn’t ever be overlooked if you want to achieve financial goals, but I must admit, they do require an investment of time (although, small) if you want to reap the benefits.
I love using technology to help me automate the management my finances so I thought I would share a few tools I like best.
Manilla is a somewhat new service that helps you save time by logging into one account to see all your bills. You get accuracy of paying your bills on time because you can set up alerts to let you know when bills are due. Finally, you can help save the planet by getting all your bills electronically through Manilla versus having them sent to you in the mail.
I’ve been using Manilla for a few months now and love the conveniences of it. I don’t have to worry about filing bills or previous statements anymore. They are safely stored in my Manilla account.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
The key features I look for in money management software are budgeting and mobile spending. I meet with a lot of people and first teach them budgeting skills the old fashion way by writing everything down. They have to write a budget on paper, using a spending diary (their paper envelope budgeting system) and keep track of spending in their checkbook. As stated before, it’s a time investment, but a little bit of work each day goes a long way in helping you manage your spending well.
YNAB provides the way to automate all this and the convenience of tracking spending on the go via the mobile app. Every transaction you enter keeps your checking register updated as well as deducts from the assigned budget category. It also uses your location services on your phone to remember where you spend money so you don’t have to reenter this information next time!
But what is really great about YNAB, is the ease of use. They make all this simple whereas some software has confusing user interfaces or try to assign budget categories to transactions for you. Most people get YNAB and have fun using it.
Mobile Check Deposit
ING, Bank of America and Chase all provide the capability of depositing checks into your checking and/or savings accounts via your mobile phone. I bank with Chase for my business banking needs and have recently found this feature to be quite handy.
I’m not sure how they make all this work, but it is truly amazing! I received a check in the mail the other day, logged into my Chase account via my iPhone, took a picture of the check and deposited it. This feature alone saved me a trip to the bank which we can all appreciate today with the high gas prices!
I know there are many more financial tools out there, but I see these as the core tools I’ll use for quite some time, or until the technology evolves again. They seem to save me a lot of time and help me keep my money management to just a few healthy minutes per day.
How do you automate the management of your finances?