Making technology work for us: the best apps for money management
What’s the best way to find out which are the most useful budgeting apps on the market? Well, as we’re all pretty excited about money management at CAP, we asked our 300 staff and our 11,000 Twitter followers which they like and why.
Unsurprisingly at CAP HQ, most of us use and love the CAP Money* budgeting system to keep our own finances under control so we wanted to know which apps were good at supporting that kind of thinking.
CAP Money Online allows you to break down your budget each month into categories and sub-categories so you can sort your money into three accounts: Regular Payments, Cash Account and Savings Account. This means you always have your essential bills covered and know what you have left to spend and save for the future.
Monzo received a lot of love at CAP HQ, and also won our Twitter poll with a massive 59% of the votes. It works like a normal online bank but it definitely has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. Open a current account and you’ll receive your Monzo card, with which you can load up and then pay for everyday spending, as well as take out cash from a cashpoint. It’s great for spending abroad too.
The app gives you real-time spending updates and automatically puts your spend into different categories so you can see where your money is going. For example, it recognises that you’ve filled up at a petrol station and immediately puts that spend into ‘travel’. It also allows you to set monthly spending targets by splitting up your money into different ‘pots’. This means you know what you have to spend and when you’re needing to rein it in.
Another genius feature is the ability to freeze your account immediately from your phone if you lose your card (and instantly ‘defrost’ if you find it in your other jacket pocket).
Monzo was also the first bank to respond to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s challenges over gambling, allowing you to block your account from being used to gamble online.
Budgeting software apps like Goodbudget are set up around the idea of dividing your budget into different categories at the beginning of each month, which gels beautifully with the CAP Money system.
You have to limit yourself to ten ‘envelopes’, unless you’re willing to spend around £4.50 a month or £37.50 a year to upgrade to a Plus account. However, Goodbudget also offers a way of linking your account to multiple phones and to your computer (if you prefer). This means everyone in the household budget gets updates and knows what money is coming out and where it’s going.
Pete, on Twitter, told us, ‘I’ve used
@goodbudget for years with the CAP Money system. Envelopes for cash and savings accounts in your phone and syncing with your partner. It’s intuitive, visual & brilliant.’
Yolt came up as another popular app with our Twitter followers. You can use it to synchronise your existing online bank accounts. If you want to plan your spending without opening up a new account with an online bank, or if you want to pick and choose where you keep your money, Yolt could be a great way to go. From a CAP Money point of view, if you have your regular payments going out of one bank, and your cash in another, Yolt can bring it all together and chart your spending to keep you on track.
Fudget is a simple way to keep track of your expenditure. It allows you to make a list of incomings and expenses. You can prioritise your spending and plan ahead. You can add and reorder which you deal with first, and once you’ve paid off one of your expenses you can either tick it off, or repeat it if it’s something you spend money on regularly.
Danny, from our team at CAP HQ, says Fudget is his favourite, ‘I use it alongside CAP Money to keep a record of all my expenditure outside of my Direct Debits.’
Wally tracks your daily budget, giving you a single number to focus on throughout the day. You can add space for income (which would be the same as your monthly cash allowance), and the app will track how much of your money is left. You can organise your spending into categories and sub-categories and even has the handy ability to track your net worth and cash flow.
Money Dashboard came third on our Twitter poll, winning 12% of the vote. It holds the title of Best Personal Finance App of 2017 and 2018. So, what’s it got to offer?
Essentially, it puts all your accounts, savings and cards in one place, giving you instant access to all at once. This gives you a true view of your finances at a glance and shows you exactly what you’re spending on.
The graphs are wonderfully clear, showing you just how close to busting your budget for say, takeaways, really is… and yes, ultimately that’s a good thing (for both your waistline and your bank balance!) Joining everything together in one app seems very user-friendly.
One fan is Laurence, from CAP’s IT department. He uses Money Dashboard alongside his CAP Money budget and, as the IT department know everything, that’s as good a recommendation as you can get.
This is a card which can work straight from your phone, so you don’t even need to order a piece of plastic – and that’s got to be good news for the environment. You can upload money to the ‘card’ and spend it anywhere in the world. You’ll never have to use a bureau de change again (as long as you remember to pack your charger and the correct travel socket).
Angie, from CAP’s Finance department, described it as a prepaid Mastercard with a money management app, saying, ‘I got it initially for using abroad but now I use it every day, transferring my weekly cash to it. The app tracks your spend by type and gives you great info on where your money has gone. You can turn contactless on and off and use it to transfer money to friends and family (or do a bank transfer). You can also choose to round up your transactions and ’save’ your small change in a vault for a particular purpose.’
If you’re not the most numerical person and find it hard to make sense of a spreadsheet, meet Cleo, she’s new on the block. She’s like Siri’s answer to finance.
Once you have the app, you can ask her anything about your spending or saving in a text format and she’ll answer in words rather than graphs. For example, you say, ‘Hey Cleo, I need to save some money’ and she’ll text you back with, ‘Sure, how much and what for?’ or you could say, ‘Hey Cleo, how much did I spend on coffee last month?’ and she’ll tell you.
How very matey! Perhaps the encouragement you need to stick to the budget?
*Not done a CAP Money Course yet? What are you waiting for?! Find your nearest here.