Top Financial Tools to Help You Save Money
What kind of tools would you use if you were building a piece of furniture? A shovel, rake, and tyre iron perhaps? No, of course not. You’d surely be more inclined to grab a tape measure, saw, and nail-gun.
Now we don’t know that much about carpentry, but we do know that it’s important to have the right tools for the job. The same rule applies when managing incomings, outgoings, personal loans, and general finances. It’s going to make it a whole lot easier if you equip yourself with some solid financial tools.
Here’s a list of our favourite financial tools to help you save money:
Budgeting is the first, and most basic step to successful financial management. Everyone can benefit from having a budget, they’re not strictly for those struggling to make ends meet. In fact the opposite is more likely true: people are less likely to struggle if they budget correctly. It’s a great way to stay ahead of the game by ensuring your hard earned cash is being put in the right places.
A simple budget is built by adding up how much money we are bringing into the household, and then adding up how much money we need to be spending. The keyword here is ‘need’. That’s all your utility bills and other necessary expenses like groceries (not eating out!), petrol or public transport costs, school supplies for your kids etc.
Once you’ve got both numbers, it’s easy to see how much money you have left over (surplus) or how much you’re short (deficit). The goal here is to create as much surplus as you can by reducing spending where possible. Surplus should firstly be used to pay off debts, and then save and invest towards your financial goals.
There are a range of free budgeting tools available online, and many banks even offer their own versions.
Sorted.org.nz’s budgeting tool is a free and easy way to get started budgeting correctly.
Westpac’s free budget calculator will help you assess your income and expenditure. It’ll help you create your own budget and compare your incomings and outgoings.
Take control of your money and look into the future of your finances with Pocketsmith. It’s a full service financial tool and they too have their own budget calculator.
Finding it hard to budget with your partner? Honeydue is designed to help couples budget and manage their finances effectively together.
Expense tracking tools
As we now know from budgeting, the most important part of personal finance is managing your spending. If you struggle with spending, and especially if you run your own business, a good expense tracking tool is a must-have.
Another great tool from the team at Sorted. Taking control of money going out is the next step to getting ahead of your finances, and staying that way.
Expensify is on of the best apps for expense tracking, receipt scanning, and business travel. Simply take photos of your receipts and they’ll upload automatically to Expensify to track your spending.
Track exactly where your money goes and compare with your budgeted allowance with ASB’s internet banking tool.
Financial education tools
If you’re eager to learn more about managing your money with financial tools, then good on you! There are plenty of resources available online to help you educate yourself, and your family.
Raise your kids to be financially savvy with Pennybox, a free iPhone app. Let them pitch jobs to you for extra pocket money, and fill out requests to withdraw cash.
It’s not an app, but ANZ has helped nearly 300,000 people worldwide improve their financial skills through MoneyMinded. MoneyMinded is an education program that helps people build financial skills, knowledge and confidence.
ASB GetWise is an innovative New Zealand financial literacy programme for young children. Workshops are presented direct to children in schools by full-time world-class facilitators. You can register interest for your school on their website.
Further financial reading
BNZ has a great blog full of information about personal finance and financial tools. If you’ve got some extra reading time, check it out.
Kiwibank also have a bunch of great information on financial management free to read on their website. They also have a range of tools like mortgage and loan calculators.
Westpac offer webinars, interactive games, and in-depth articles to help boost financial literacy.
Now that you’ve got a belt full of financial tools, it’s time to put them to use. Pick a couple that look helpful to you and start budgeting, tracking expenses, and saving money. The more effort you’re willing to put in to managing your finances, the more (money) you’ll get out of it!