Whether you currently use your smartphone to manage your daily life, or whether you use it only for basic calling and texting. You might find that you could be doing much more with your Android or Apple device.
For managing your money and keeping track of your income and expenses, here are some of the best personal finance apps 2016 has to offer:
Budgeting apps for iPhone and Android help you to manage your money on the go. You can use these to see how much money you have available, then watch where you’re spending it.
Available for iPhone and Android, Goodbudget is simple but effective.
It is based on the old-fashioned envelope budgeting system. Something which requires you to split your money and put your cash into various envelopes. You might have one for your groceries, one for clothes and one for fuel for your car.
With Goodbudget you decide on a monthly budget for each type of purchase you make. You can then set aside the right amount of money when you are paid. Every time you spend, you reduce the total in the relevant envelope.
Look at your account balance and making spending decisions based on the money you have available. You can then decide if you can afford a new dress or pair of shoes by looking at how much clothing money is available.
As a result, you won’t overspend by using bill money on a ball gown.
Household budgets can also be shared between family members, keeping Mum and Dad on the same page.
If you are looking for a more advanced budgeting and money management app, Money Dashboard could be a suitable solution.
Money Dashboard allows you to connect your bank accounts, store cards, credit cards and loan accounts, using an online system. Your account balances will be automatically totalled. As a result showing whether you are in the black or the red.
Every time you spend money, your account balances will be updated to reflect the purchases. Income is also recorded.
Money Dashboard can then use past transactions to predict future bill payment dates so that nothing comes as a surprise.
Expenditure can also be categorised, helping you to see where your money is going.
View all your financial accounts in one place, to help you to keep track of your savings or debt levels. Money Dashboard is what’s called a financial aggregator. And it is the UK equal of the popular US app Mint.
As basic as they come, the UniBudget app is a popular choice amongst the top personal finance apps to download in 2016.
Provide your income, then watch as UniBudget divides this by the number of days that it will need to last for. You will be clearly shown the amount that you can spend each day.
UniBudget is so named because it is intended for use by students that need to manage their student loan payments.
You will also see your ‘float’. This is a record of long-term spending. If you overspend on one day, this money is deducted from your float. If you underspend, your remaining funds are added to it. Your goal is simple: keep the float in the black.
UniBudget can be used by anyone that wants to split their spending money into clear daily figures. However it might not be so useful if you have big fluctuations in your spending habits.
A Money Advice Trust survey indicated that 12% of people expected to struggle in January as a result of Christmas overspending.
The pressure to prepare an impressive Christmas dinner, to give great gifts and to attend a variety of social events can have a big impact on a bank balance.
The Xmas Budget app seeks to make it easier to stay within sensible limits over the Christmas period. Using this app you can set an overall Christmas budget. You can also split it, divide your money to different people and ensure that you are not overspending.
This iOS application comes with other useful Christmas-specific tools. Such as the ability to write what you have purchased for each person. You can also mark each gift when it has been wrapped, and when you have sent it in the post. The ability to check back on your previous year’s budget will help to make sure you do not buy someone the same gift twice.
PayPal is not just one of the best personal finance apps 2016 has to offer, but also one of the most popular and most used of all time.
Also PayPal has more than 184 million users worldwide. Many of these users access their account on the go using the dedicated PayPal app.
PayPal can be used to send and receive money. Money can be sent from your PayPal wallet or a linked bank account or credit card. Received money can sit in your online wallet until you’re ready to withdraw it.
Many companies accept PayPal payments. Your account can also be used to transfer money to friends and family members, using only their email address.
Has your friend paid for your takeaway? Do you want an easy way to send monthly payments to your friend to cover fuel costs for lifts in their car?
PayFriendz allows you to send money directly to family members and friends or, request money from them.
PayFriendz features a messaging system. Here you can communicate through the app to discuss your financial dealings.
The mobile phone app for iPhones and Android devices connects with an active debit card, which you use to top up your PayFriendz account.
This app saves you from asking for a friend’s bank account details or carrying a card reader around. Unlike PayPal, it is also completely free to use.
Social Tracking Apps
Whilst it is great to lend money to friends, Shakespeare once wrote that you should ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be’.
It may not be practical to completely avoid borrowing money or lending it. But occasional £10 notes that you have temporarily given to friends can soon begin to mount up.
You can protect your own interests with IOU, the lending tracker app. This useful piece of technology allows you to record each bit of money that you lend to a friend or family member.
If you have paid for your brother’s lunch, you can record the transaction to your IOU app. Get automated reminders when you are owed money. Use the app to instantly send prompts to people that are still in debt to you.
Some might call this strict or pushy, but it is a sensible way to keep track of money that you otherwise not get back.
IOU is available on Android devices, Apple devices and Windows phones.
Designed for young people, but useful for struggling savers of any age, Wishfund is a motivational mobile phone app that can help you to reach your savings goal.
Wishfund is based on the idea that people are more inclined to take out credit and work to repay their debt, than to save first and spend their money later.
Available on Android and iOS devices, Wishfund allows users to upload an image related to their savings goal. This goal might be a holiday, a new car or a deposit on a house. If you supply details about how much you can save, and how often, Wishfund calculates how long it will take you to reach your goal.
Besides providing motivation, Wishfund is a personal finance app that contains useful information about the risks of borrowing money.
Credit Score Apps
ClearScore is a free mobile phone app partnered with Equifax, one of the UK providers of credit rating details.
Also ClearScore provides a way for you to check your credit rating without paying a thing. Other providers will charge you money for a one-off score or ongoing subscription.
Checking your credit score through ClearScore will not have an impact on it. This is a useful tool to refer to if you are planning to apply for a loan and would like to estimate your chance of success.
ClearScore shows your long-term and short-term debt totals, as recorded on your credit file. You will also be able to view a timeline detailing the last six years of your financial history, to see what has changed your credit score.
Debt Management Apps
As its name suggests, Debt Manager is a useful choice for people with outstanding debt from one source or many providers.
To use Debt Manager for iOS, simply provide details about your individual debt accounts.
You might have a loan, a store card, and a credit card – all with outstanding balances.
Debt Manager shows your total debt on a summary screen, but will also show a breakdown of each credit source that you are using. See where you started, and immediately view outstanding balances.
You can detail your monthly repayments, for a calculation showing when each debt will be paid off. As you pay off one debt, your payments towards it will automatically be added to the next debt that you have prioritised.
‘What-if’ scenarios can be used to see how your debt situation could change if you had more money available, or suddenly reduced your income.
Personal Finance Apps 2016: Money Management on the Go
Could personal finance apps reduce the amount of debt that you get into? Could installing a free app help you to pay off your debt more quickly?
The best way to keep track of your financial situation is to check it regularly. If you watch your money depleting, you are likely to keep your spending under tighter control.
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to spending and debt management.
It is best to be aware and proactive.
Mobile applications that show your bank balances can improve visualisation of your financial status.
Apps can also be useful motivational tools, encouraging you to save that spare £5 instead of spending it on unnecessary luxuries. When you are saving or paying off debt, the smaller figures make of the difference.
You might find that no single personal finance app offers everything that you need. It could be useful to download a few and use them side by side.
Your Online Banking App
Besides all the above suggestions, it is always worth installing your own bank’s mobile phone app.
You will be able to manage your bank account 24/7 from your phone or tablet when you are away from your laptop or desktop.
Your mobile banking app will provide you with the functionality of online banking whether you are in a car park or at a friend’s house.
Checking your bank statement on your phone could be the fastest way to ensure your loan repayment has been made. Also that your gym membership fee has left your account as expected.
You can quickly check your bank balance at any time, to make sure that you’ve got money to spend. Banking apps will also show you the location of your local branch. Especially for those occasionally necessary conversations with a real human being.
Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? Which personal finance apps could you not live without?
Let us know!