Money Mentors: Help for the Financially-Illiterate
Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Not many people would admit that they were bad with money. Yet, in a country where newspaper headlines often print headlines that scream things like Epidemic of debt spreads to Britain’s middle class and Britain in grip of ‘shopaholic’ epidemic every now and then, money management is certainly a struggle. If you aren’t sure how to score yourself on the way you’ve managed your financial life so far, there are a few simple questions that you can put to yourself for a clearer picture.
It’s easy to test yourself for money management skills
Do you have an emergency fund: If you don’t have anything saved up for a rainy day, for unexpected unemployment or illnesses, it’s easy to say that you’re having trouble understanding how money works.
Do you often need to juggle money to pay bills: Bills are completely predictable. If you feel the need to turn to your credit cards each month or need to investigate the possibility of making part payments, you probably have problems.
You don’t have a clear feel for how your money gets spent: People who have a hard time getting a handle on their time and money often have no mental map for how these resources slip out of their hands. If you can overspend at the beginning of the month when you are flush with funds, without thinking about how bad things will be at the end of the month, you can be sure that something needs tweaking.
You pay interest on your credit cards: Credit cards aren’t supposed to be a long-term funds management resource. Rather, they are about helping you work things out in the short term. If you find yourself paying interest month after month, it means that you probably use this tool the wrong way, something that can only come from poor money management skills.
So what do you do?
Some lucky people have an inborn sense for how they spend their time and money. They have a sense that constantly and automatically keeps itself updated of how much they have of either resource. Each penny they spend, their mental resource map talks to their self-preservation instinct, and fires up a fight-or-flight response. When this happens, they simply do not feel tempted to spend anymore.
These people will never run short of money, because they are blessed with a system in which different parts of their brain talk to one another. If you don’t have this yourself, you don’t have to beat yourself up over it. You need to rely on technology to make up for the problem. A number of ingenious money-management apps can be a great help.
Apps for receipt management
Receipt management apps such as OneReceipt help you keep track of your expenses by letting you click photographs of every receipt you get, so that you don’t have to manually key in data. It is an especially useful tool for people who tend to find it offputting that they need to fiddle with an onscreen keyboard to input numbers each time they spend something.
Apps like My Supermarket help you quickly find the cheapest source for groceries and other supermarket staples. Once you put in your shopping list for the month, the app scours every supermarket in your area for the best prices.
Apps for bill management
Since your monthly bills for rent, utilities, petrol, insurance, cable and various services that you use are a budgetary fixture, there’s no call for late payment. Apps like Bill Monitor keep track of how much you owe on each bill, and what the due dates are. They don’t let you forget. According to real estate major HE Lettings (click here to go to HE Lettings), tenants who use apps such as these rarely fall behind on rent.
Apps that make responsible spending a game
Game-like apps turn learning financial responsibility into an interesting challenge. 52 Weeks Money Challenge is one of the most popular examples. It lets you plug in how much you make, what your expenses are and how much you’d like to save. The app then tells you how much you exactly you get to spend each week, and how much you need to set aside.
This is only a partial listing of the apps that you get to use. If none of these apps seem to truly speak to you, you can go out exploring for more. When you find the right app for the way your mind works, it can magically help you understand your money better.
Janine Tucker works in financial planning and is always happy to provide some tips and guidance online on consumer finance matters. She is a regular writer for a number of relevant websites.