Look to these tech tools to help you budget, save and pay off debt.
Remember chequebooks? Think back to the days when we used to carry them around to make everyday purchases and spend Sunday nights balancing them. That little book helped us stay organized and on budget. But that's all changed in this digital age. We're now more likely to tap a card, log online or use our smartphone to spend and manage money. Technology makes transactions faster and simpler, and the beauty is that we can do it while we wait for our friend to arrive at the coffee shop.
But before we share today's top tech tools for all things finance, we want to remind you that these won't fix bad money habits. Whatever apps you download, it's crucial to understand needs versus wants, budget, track expenses, plan for irregular and seasonal costs, create a rainy-day fund and build savings for goals. Tech tools just make logging it a lot more convenient. Here are some of our favourites.
1. Budget boss
Apps that track your spending, such as Mint and YNAB, take spending info from your bank account and categorize it, letting you know when you've exhausted your budget for, say, entertainment or groceries, so you can make up for it in other areas (don't forget to manually track what you spend in cash). Before you sign up, however, read your bank contract's fine print—giving a third-party provider access to your bank account may nullify your protection from identity theft and fraud.
2. Secret savings
Every time you spend, you can save a bit, too! Some banking institutions, along with apps such as Mylo and Wealthsimple's roundup feature, will round your purchase to the nearest dollar and move that “spare change” into a designated savings or investment account. You won't notice the pinch, but your designated account will grow month after month.
3. Master couponer
Coupons, rebates and price comparisons are at your fingertips with a smartphone in hand. Canadian company Flipp allows you to search flyers and save certain coupons to your shopping list—and if your local store boasts a price-match guarantee, the app is your oyster. Groupon and Travelzoo are great for discounts on travel, restaurants, activities, goods and services, while apps such as Ebates and Checkout 51 offer rebates for what you buy, mailing you a cheque.
4. Debt calculators
If you're in the market for a larger-ticket item (think car or home), download a free easy-to-use loan calculator—or look for a no-cost option from your financial institution. Enter the price and the term, then it will calculate your payments and interest so you can find a plan that makes sense for you. There are also debt-repayment calculator apps that track your progress as you pay down your credit card or loan.