How money management tools can help you

Budgeting and managing your money is important to have a financially healthy life. But being able to track your finances, while getting everything else done can be tricky. Moneybags journalist, Ashleigh Brown, looks at money tracking tools, and how they can help you.

Don’t you wish that there was a way to have all your expenses, financial goals, and monthly budgets stored in one place?

You no longer need to wish, as there are tools just like that out there for you to use and a number of companies, including Nedbank, Standard Bank and Old Mutual offer them for free.

Nedbank: MyFinancialLife

MyFinancialLife is available to everyone, regardless of who they bank with.

“When we had done customer research, people thought they knew what they were spending their money on. The always underestimate their expenses, and are putting away more than they are.

“And people are, for example, often spending more on take out, than putting away into their retirement annuity. So, I guess, this puts it right in your face,” says Justin Bradshaw, head of personal financial management at Nedbank.

Bradshaw explains that you can link your FNB, Standard Bank, Absa, etc., accounts to it. You don’t have to be a Nedbank client.

The tool takes all your financial details, and places them in one easy to manage space. If you are a Nedbank client, all your Nedbank products will automatically be there. Anything else that you have with other institutions, you will have to manually put into the tool.

“And then you can link other institutions, besides banks, like your unit trusts, even your reward systems,” said Bradshaw.

Once everything has been put in, the tool will start to categorise everything. For example, it will spilt your transactions up into food, transport, and entertainment. But, you can at any time, change what category you would like something to fall into.

“You can then start to analyse that. You can see spend analysis reports, on how much you have spent on a certain account, or over a certain period of time. You can then set up budgets, and it will track the spend as you go. If, for example, you say you only want to spend R3000 on groceries, it will track that for you and show you what percentage of your budget you have spent,” said Bradshaw.

The tool will also let you know when you have spent your money, or if you have gone over budget.

“You can choose what kind of notifications you want. So you can set up notifications once a week, or as the transactions occur. So it is up to you to take action,” said Bradshaw.

For more information on MyFinancialLife, click here.

Standard Bank: Internet Banking tool

Standard Bank’s tracking tool is integrated with their internet banking. Therefore, you need to be a Standard Bank customer in order to use the service.

The features include the ability to manage loyalty points and insurance portfolios, as well as a new international share trading service.

Standard Bank says that this represents a step-change from mobile banking, to personal financial management.

“Customers are also able to link their Standard Bank Insurance profile to the smartphone app – to view policy details, request pdf versions of their policies via email, and view hints and tips on better managing their insurance profile. To make claims and amend policy details, customers can request a call-back from the insurance team; they can also track the progress of claims for certain policies,” says Standard Bank.

Another feature of the Standard Bank money management features is that you can open AccessSave saving accounts straight from the app.

“Standard Bank’s smartphone and tablet apps are continuously enhanced to bring greater value and convenience to our customers,” says Magnus Taljaard, head of mobile banking at Standard Bank. “We are focused on helping our customers embed banking into their day-to-day pursuits, when and where they need it.”

For more information on Standard Banks money apps, click here.

Old Mutual: 22seven

In a nutshell, 22seven is your money’s best friend, according to a spokesperson.

“It brings your whole financial world together in one place combining data from your bank, credit card, retail store and investment accounts and shines a spotlight on your spending behaviour while giving you a powerful view of your financial world,” says 22seven.

22seven works as a mobile application, and is free to download. Once you have downloaded, and signed up for the tool (which is also free) you add all your bank accounts, loans, unit trusts, and any other money products you have. You can also sign in on your computer, and track all your money from there.

The tool also categorises your money, and shows your how much you have spent, what you have spent it on, and how your spending compares to previous months. 22seven says that they have over 40 different categories, but you can make up your own, and split up your spending as you see fit.

“Quite a few of our customers have picked up fraudulent transactions using 22seven. Some use it for their small business. Couples have become more open and honest about their money, and have changed from having separate accounts to joint accounts; or they’ve become more independent and done vice versa,” says 22seven.

Another handy feature with 22seven is that you can download all the graphs, spending reports, and transaction lists for your own filing purposes.

For more information on 22Seven, click here.

Keeping track of your spending and sticking to your budget is so much easier with money management tools. You can become a savvier saver, and help to make your future more financially healthy. For tips on how to stay debt free this year, click here.