Budgeting: Using Cash and Technology
A lot of people find budgeting difficult. Keeping track of your spending can also get rather tiresome. Unless you’re incredibly passionate about spreadsheets, you probably don’t want to spend hours tracking your spending habits. So what methods can you use to make budgeting more exciting?
We can’t pretend that there’s a magical way to make finance thrilling. But there are a few tricks you can use to mean that you’re able to budget, but don’t have to think about it.
Use Cash to Limit Your Spending
If you have trouble sticking to a budget, one of the simplest ways to restrict your spending is to use cash. You can either withdraw a weekly or monthly amount, and then try not to spend more than this when you go shopping for groceries or other necessities.
Obviously it’s difficult to only use cash in general – most bills will be paid by direct debit or standing order – but this can be a great method for everyday shopping. The idea is that if you’re limited to a certain amount each week, you’ll do less impulse buying.
● Sticking to a rigid budget isn’t easy – you can instead use tricks like withdrawing a weekly cash allowance for shopping
● There are a few online banks that can help you budget and save money
● In terms of saving apps, there are a whole host to choose from, many of which are free. Which one you should use is usually down to personal preference
Banks That Help You Budget
There are a few challenger banks, which are based completely online, that will help you save. For example, Monzo will automatically round your purchases up to the nearest pound, and move the pennies into a savings pot. It’s incredible how much this can add up. In terms of budgeting, Monzo also allows you to create other ‘pots’, such as one for transport, and one for a monthly clothing budget. You can then see how much you’re spending in each category, and set limits in certain areas.
Another bank that can help you save is Starling Bank. They will send you notifications each time you earn or spend money, and can then offer insights into your financial habits. The app additionally allows you to set goals, so that you can save towards something in particular.
There are tons of savings apps on the market, all of which fundamentally do the same thing. So it’s usually just a matter of personal preference which one you opt for – perhaps you like the layout of a particular app, or maybe you want witty commentary on your spending habits. We’ve listed a few of the best ones below:
Availability: iOS, Android, Web
The best thing about Cleo is the entertaining commentary she offers when it comes to your spending. You can have interactive conversations, such as ‘Can I afford to buy pizza tonight?’ and will get a witty response, often with a gif at the end. Cleo also keeps you engaged with how your spending is going that month, by sending notifications, insights, quizzes and challenges.
Availability: iOS, Android
Emma gives you a complete overview of your finances. You can receive notifications each time you receive money into your account, and when direct debits are due to go out. You can also track your spending and set a budget for yourself, and the app encourages you to cancel wasteful subscriptions. Emma is described as your ‘Best Financial Friend’ – she can help you get in control of your finances.
Price: £0.99 a month, or £9.99 a year
Availability: iOS, Android, Web
If you have a lot of accounts and investments, this could be the app for you. Moneyhub allows you to connect each of your current and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, investments and pensions all in one place. Once you have a better picture of your financial situation, you can then set budgets for different spending categories, and receive notifications when you’re nearing your limit. That way, if you’re told that you’ve nearly used up your eating out budget for the month, you may be encouraged to cook at home instead.
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