If you’re planning to make it your new year’s resolution to get on top of your finances in 2016, there is plenty of technology at hand to make the task easier for you to achieve.
From sticking to a budget to saving on travel, a range of apps are available to help, and many don’t cost a penny so you can start saving straight away. Here’s our pick of the best.
Money Dashboard – Android, iPhone
This app brings together all your bank and credit card accounts into a single view andallows you to track spending on specific categories such as groceries or going out, and to compare month-on-month spending patterns.
To register your accounts on the site you need to input your passwords, but because it is a “read only” service, your money can’t be touched.
With most accounts, transactions and balances are refreshed daily, making it easy to keep up to date with your financial position, and your income and outgoings are displayed on colourful graphs.
OnTrees – Android, iPhone
OnTrees, owned by the comparison website Moneysuper- market, is a similar app and website that allows you to track your outgoings in all your bank accounts with one log-in. It has a range of tools that help with money management and budgeting, and is free to download. The app sorts all your transactions into categories such as rent, travel and groceries and displays them in colourful charts.
Urge – iPhone
Those with a costly Starbucks habit may want to download this app to see exactly what they are spending. It’s a simple app that is designed to help you resist wasting money on impulse buys. It allows you to tap an icon representing something that you want to buy — entertainment, coffee or snacks, for example — and instead choose to “save” the cash into a virtual jam jar. You can set up different goals for your saved cash.
Wally – Android, iPhone
If you don’t feel comfortable with revealing your banking passwords then Wally could be the app for you. This helps you to compare your income to your expenses, see where your money goes and set savings goals. Keeping track of the details as you spend money and inputting new transactions on the go is easy with the InstaScan feature. Take a photo of your receipt through the app and Wally will upload how much you spent and store a copy of the receipt. Back up and export your data via iCloud and CSV email. No personal data is saved on Wally’s servers.
Expensify – Android, iPhone
This allows you to digitise your receipts, compile expenses reports and email them as a PDF to your employer. You can track your purchases by syncing your bank accounts and use the smart scan feature to input receipt information, eliminating any manual entry.
Skyscanner – Android, iPhone
This popular app searches millions of flights from hundreds of airlines, saving you money when you’re travelling. As with most flight comparison apps you can search for a particular route, but you can also select “everywhere” in the destination box to get inspiration and see where it is cheapest to fly to on a particular date from your nearest airport. You can also search for hotels and car hire.
Hopper – Android, iPhone
An “editor’s choice” on the app store, this travel app tells you when to buy and when to fly. Enter your destination and Hopper will show you the best days to travel to get a good price. It promises to save you up to 40 per cent and also has a “Watch This Trip” feature that will alert you when prices fall.
Spendee – Android, iPhone
Spendee is a straightforward app for keeping track of your personal finances that has an attractive simple, clean design. If you want to budget and monitor your spending but don’t need bells and whistles then this is a good option, with manual entry of data. The app is intuitive to use and builds informative and easy-to-read infographics to show you where your money is going and how much of your income each category takes up. It works across multiple currencies so it is ideal while you travel and offers smart notifications that let you know what’s happening with your finances.
TaskRabbit – Android, iPhone
If time is your most precious resource then this app could be for you. It lets you hire vetted people by the hour to do the errands that you’ve been putting off, whether it’s cleaning your house, building Ikea furniture, hanging shelves or even doing the Christmas shopping and wrapping the presents. Alternatively, if you’re looking for extra income, you could sign up and offer your services.
Devices – iPhone
This Apple HomeKit application lets you manage and control smart home devices from your phone and is free for a limited time over Christmas. Each device is represented by a specific icon and they can be sorted by categories or locations and set to turn on or off at certain times. Combine the app with lighting, locks, heating and cooling devices, smoke detectors, plugs and switches or blinds to take home automation to the next level and save money by controlling energy usage. The app also supports Apple watch.
WhatsApp – Android, iPhone
If you have friends and family in other parts of the world this is one of the most essential apps you can install on your device. Instead of using up your SMS allowance by sending texts, the enormously popular app allows to you send messages over wi-fi or your mobile data connection. You can also share your location on Google Maps and attach images and video and audio clips to messages.
Uber – Android, iPhone
If you’ve never used this app it’s time to download it and join the revolution. The service has transformed the way that we travel and brought costs down for taxi journeys while vastly improving the way that bookings are managed. It has just implemented a new feature where you can share a journey with other users going in the same direction, which brings down the cost further. Request a taxi using the app and you will see where the available vehicles are on a map and you can expect to be picked up in minutes. Ratings of drivers allow you to check out who will be collecting you, and new app features are added regularly.
It is now available in more than 50 countries around the world, with new additions coming all the time.
OpenTable – Android, iPhone
This restaurant-booking app has a clean, slick design and makes it easy to find a place to eat. Search by cuisine, time, cost or area, or restrict the results to restaurants that have special offers such as 50 per cent off. You can also view menus and reviews written by other users, get directions and earn reward points with each booking that can be used to get discounts on meals.
Onavo Extend – iPhone
If you’ve ever run out of data this app is for you. Once the app is installed on your phone, it works in the background and quietly performs a range of functions that can make a drastic reduction in the amount of data that you use. It loads images only when you scroll down to them so you don’t waste valuable data on pictures that you won’t see, and compresses data-heavy items. You won’t notice any difference in your browser but your data usage will be cut dramatically.