“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
– Warren Buffet
Staying on top of your finances can be a difficult task at the best of times. But if you’ve got financial worries, it can be all the more challenging.
However, do not fear. Organising yourself and your finances is the key to taming the beast here and at Cash Lady, we want to give you all the weapons you will need to win this fight.
So, check out our list of seven low-cost financial planning tools, and help yourself sleep a little better.
1. Free printable budgeting charts
Sometimes, all that it takes to start planning your finances and getting a handle on them is a simple chart. By mapping out all your expenditures, you can really focus in on the issues at hand, and on what’s causing your financial worries.
Pinterest is awash with free budgeting charts that are available to print off. We like these ones from Queen of Free. Simply print it off and start filling out your expenses to get a better handle on your financial planning.
Excel is one of the most basic computer programs, most of us will automatically have it on our computers. Also, Excel is made for numbers, so it lends itself well to helping people keep track of their finances.
You can make an Excel spreadsheet to help you manage your money in only four simple steps. If you want to know how, Make Use Of has an easy-to-follow walkthrough, with pictures.
If you want to take it to the next level, Reddit has an amazing thread on useful functions you can add to your basic sheet. These can really help you organise your finances.
Best of all? Unless you don’t have Excel already, all of this is free.
3. Bullet Journaling
Using a bullet journal is an innovative way to use an incredibly efficient and organised method to keep track of your finances. Bullet journals are already very organised, so using one to keep on top of your finances at the same time is a fantastic idea.
A bullet journal is a way of taking notes, organising yourself, journaling and logging tasks. Yet, what makes bullet journaling different from other styles of organisation is rapid logging. Rapid logging is the system that comprises bullet journaling.
If you can’t quite see how bullet journaling can help you stay on top of your finances, check out what Pretty Prints and Paper did to organise not only her own finances but also that of her husbands.
When it comes to financial planning apps, OnTrees routinely takes the top spot. OnTrees is an app that pulls together all your different bank accounts, cash loans and credit cards in one place. Thus, giving you a clearer picture about what’s actually happening with your money.
By grouping all your finances together in one place, and categorising each transaction, it gives you the power to manage your money across multiple accounts more closely. That way, you’re able to plan your finances more easily.
OnTrees is a free app and works across both iOS and Android.
If you’re in your 20s and struggling to get on top of your finances, Buxfer is aimed at you. Buxfer is an online budgeting tool that was created to help those that are just starting out financially reach the goals that they set themselves.
Buxfer gives you the option to either manually enter your finances whenever you want, but there is a feature that allows you to sync it with your bank accounts using some of the best security software around. Also, Buxfer can sync with over 10,000 financial institutions worldwide, so there’s no need to worry that it might not be compatible with your bank.
All of this doesn’t sound any different to many other financial planning tools that are available on the web.
What makes Buxfer stand out is their Forecast tool.
Forecast is a tool that allows you to estimate your future income and outgoings based on past spending. It can account for upcoming bill expenditure, transactions that have not yet cleared, bill reminders and any budgets that you have set. This is an amazing tool that can help with planning for any larger financial expenditure, such as weddings or holidays.
Because Buxfer is targeted at 20-somethings, there’s also a handy splitter tool. This allows you to split any bills or transactions, as well as send IOUs. This is helpful if you have roommates or housemates, as you can split all your bills and groceries fairly between everyone.
Finally, Buxfer has real-time alerts that can notify you if your bank balance falls too low. This is helpful, as not all banking apps do this – many tend to be fairly old fashioned and clunky. But with Buxfer, you’ll be on top of your finances at all times.
Buxfer accounts are free to set up, although Forecast is only available on the Pro version of the account – which costs 4.99 USD per month.
If you’re struggling with debt, SavvyMoney is a great tool that can help you out. If you’re in debt, the chances are that you have a poor credit score. But with the help of SavvyMoney, you have completely free access to your credit score at any time.
Not only does SavvyMoney identify and explain what is impacting your credit score, they also give you real-time recommendations to help you improve it.
Accounts are totally free, so why not sign up here.
Of course, there are new innovations in technology, and some of them are aimed at helping you plan your finances better.
Loot is one of the new generation pieces of FinTech that’s breaking into the market. The London-based financial startup is a bank that’s built for the ‘Snapchat generation’.
What sets Loot apart from the other startup banks around at the minute – Monzo, Atom etc – is that Loot focuses on helping you save. You’re able to set goals based around what you’re saving for and see – in real time – how you’re progressing towards those goals.
By setting targets in Loot, the app is able to automatically set you a daily spending budget. That way, you know how much you need to contribute each day to hit your goals.
Loot is completely free to set up. As a quasi-bank, they make their money from a percentage of purchases made in shops, and a traditional banking model.
Wondering how these tools can help you, or have a question about any of them? Leave a comment below, or pop on over to Facebook or Twitter and ask us there. Remember, if you need finance to help you out in an emergency situation and you have poor credit, why not consider applying for an online loan through Cash Lady?