Online banking is more popular than ever. Americans are skipping the long waits at bank branches and the lines behind ATMs — they’re not even leaving their front doorsteps. They’re doing the majority of their banking on their smartphones. It’s perfect for paying bills, transferring funds and checking bank statements.
Are there other digital tools that you can use for managing your money? Look below to find out.
The old-fashioned way to create a budget was to write your calculations on a sheet of graph paper. If you preferred digital documents to paper ones, you could use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Numbers by Apple to sort out your income and monthly essentials.
What’s wrong with these options? There’s nothing terribly wrong with these options — budgeting apps just bring more benefits to the table. A budgeting app connects to your various financial accounts (checking, credit card, investment, etc.). The feature lets you know the current balances in these accounts without needing an extra log-in. It gives you an honest, up-to-date look at the income that you have available and the debts that you have to pay.
Knowing exactly what you have and what you owe at all times will ensure that your budget calculations are correct. There will be no guesswork, which limits your chances of making any major errors.
These are some of the most popular apps for budgeting:
- YNAB (You Need a Budget)
- Personal Capital
Tidying Up Your Accounts:
While you’re compiling your budgets, you might find that you’re spending well beyond your means. You’d like to trim down your monthly expenses quickly.
One way to do that is to investigate what unwanted and unnecessary paid subscriptions are draining money from your bank account. Are you paying for multiple streaming services? Do you have a gym membership that you haven’t used? Do you have a magazine subscription that you have yet to cancel? You might not even realize how much you’re losing.
You can use subscription tracking apps to manage all of these paid subscriptions and help you cancel the ones that you don’t want or need anymore. That will trim down your monthly expenses and add more wiggle room to your budget.
You can also reduce your chances of racking up unnecessary bank fees with the help of online tools. Worried about late fees? Online banking websites, utility programs and more allow options for email reminders to let you know about your upcoming bills. You can also download bill tracking apps to do the same. You don’t ever have to let a due date slip your mind.
What other fees can you avoid? By using budgeting apps, you can carefully track your funds so that you can cover every expense. This will help you avoid overdraft fees and non-sufficient fund fees in the future. By focusing on online shopping and banking, you can also avoid ATM fees.
One reason you may want to start a budget is to build an emergency fund. That way, you can afford to cover any unplanned, urgent costs without negatively impacting your monthly essentials. You can still pay for your groceries, your utility bills and your transportation costs when all is said and done.
It takes time to build up an emergency fund. If you want to speed it up, you can use money-saving apps like Digit or Acorns to help you save more and reach your goal faster. Or you could use apps and browser extensions that find coupons and discount codes for your purchasing needs. These simple downloads could help you stretch your monthly savings, which you can promptly add to your emergency fund.
While the savings in your emergency fund are still low, you should consider another safety net just in case something goes wrong. A good option for this is a personal line of credit. A personal line of credit is an open-end credit tool that allows you to draw borrowed funds within your credit limit and have them deposited directly into a bank account. As long as your account is in good standing, you can have access to these funds within a single business day.
The speed and convenience of this credit tool makes it really effective for small emergencies. You don’t have to jump through hoops to use it. You can apply for a personal line of credit online and see whether you’re approved for a new account. It’s that simple.
Tax season is never easy, and experts warn that this year’s tax season will be worse for the majority of Americans. Dramatic changes in income, government pandemic relief and changes in tax deductions/credits will make the filing process much more challenging. You should start early to make sure you have all of your financial documents in order. The last thing that you will need this year is a message from the IRS.
To make filing your taxes even easier, you can use online tax software to help you prepare everything and get the refund that you deserve. You’ll never want to go back to filing your taxes manually.
You don’t have to go to the ATM to get cash or write a check when you want to pay your friends/acquaintances. You can use your online banking tools to send them e-transfers, which they can deposit in their online bank account. Or you could send them funds through peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo.
What if you’re trying to divvy up an expense between multiple friends? Then you can use bill splitting apps to figure out how to properly pool your funds and make the payment. There’s no need to hunt your friends down to pay their share. The digital experience makes covering the expense simple and stress-free.
You can manage almost every aspect of your finances online, from your personal budget to your taxes. So, stop managing everything the old-fashioned way. Embrace these digital strategies and make life easier for yourself.