How Technology Can Help You Manage Your Finances

Managing your money isn’t as simple as it sounds.  With more and more financial services being offered online, many of us no longer balance a checkbook or know our bank account balance.  Tracking expenses to stay on a budget seems more difficult.  Fortunately, there are apps to help you manage your finances.

Not all personal finance apps are created equal.  Some apps are designed to help you save or manage an investment portfolio.  Others may focus on budgeting and monitoring expenses.  Banking apps may let you pay bills and transfer money while providing money management tools.  Finding the right app means spending some time looking at what management tools you need.

Why You Need a Money Management App

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that almost 20% of American households spent more than they made within the past year.  Nearly half of Americans lack savings to cover emergency expenses.  With recent declines in the economy, more Americans need to account for every dollar they spend.  

Americans of all ages struggle with debt; however, the last 20 years have seen a sharp rise in the debt level for those over the age of 60.  Poor economic conditions have contributed to the amount of debt seniors carry into retirement.  Since the average working American has only saved about $50,000 for retirement, every working adult needs to look at saving and investing more.  Here are a few ways technology can help make managing your money less stressful.

Consolidate Your Accounts

Financial applications let you consolidate your banking and investment accounts in one location.  Some apps may only display banking accounts, while others may include investment and savings accounts.  You want to find a solution that will put all your financial data at your fingertips.  You don’t want to access a series of accounts at different institutions to see your current financial picture.

Track Expenses

Most people will tell you to set up a budget to manage your finances, but a budget requires that you know where your money goes each month.  If you aren’t sure, find a tool to help you track your spending.  Many financial institutions offer online tools that can help you set up categories for tracking expenses.  This information can be used to create a budget to help manage your finances.

Automate Financial Tasks

Financial technology makes it possible for you to automate a significant portion of your everyday financial tasks, so you are never late paying a bill or overdrawing an account.  Your paycheck may already be deposited directly into a banking account.  To help save a portion of that check, set up an automatic transfer to a savings account every payday.  Automating this task makes it easier to build that emergency fund you need for unexpected expenses.  

Pay your bills online.  You can establish recurring payments for car loans or credit card payments to ensure that the bills are paid on time.  Late payments can incur fees, penalties and impact your credit score.  It’s easy to forget a bill when life happens. 

Overdraft protection is another financial tool that can save you money.  Money is automatically moved from a savings account to a checking account, for example, to cover potential overdrafts.  No overdrafts mean no overdraft fees or returned-check charges.  Check with your financial institution to see what automated banking services are available.

Look for Money Management Tools

Money management tools are everywhere.  You can find tools that help with investing and reducing debt.  There are apps for clipping coupons or tracking receipts.  You can find apps for tracking cash expenditures or business expenses.  Comparison apps exist for almost everything, from toothpaste to vacation rentals.  There’s no excuse for not saving on everyday items. 

The list of available apps is neverending.  That’s why it is important to find the app that fits your way of life. 

Members Plus Credit Union’s Money Management tool keeps all account information — even accounts from other institutions — in one location.  With a consolidated look at your finances, you can create budgets, track spending, and build savings.  Why not take a look at the MPCU mobile app?  Just log in and click on the Money Management link to get started.  No software to download or install!

Stay Connected

Technology can also keep you connected.  You can find online groups and websites for everything from extreme couponing to side gigs for making extra cash.  These sites can provide that touch of support to carry you over the bumps in the financial road.  No matter what tools you use, be sure to stay connected to your financial institution.  Many institutions have resources and tools that can help you stay on top of your money matters.

Related: If You Need a Budget Follow These 5 Easy Tips to Get Started

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