Having helped over 16,000 Scottish residents out of debt, we know how difficult it can be to stay on top of your finances. Particularly once you find yourself sucked into a debt spiral.
We’ve spoken previously on the blog about spending habits and budgeting, but often, taking that first step to getting your house in order can be paralysing – where do you start? For that very reason, many people fail to find the right strategy for them and a budget they can stick to. Fortunately, modern technology can make budgeting and financial planning, like so many other things, much easier. In previous posts, we have talked about automating payments and using online budgeting tools to help you stay on top of your finances.
Why not go one step further though – these free money management apps can make your life easier by encouraging you to control spending, set tailored budgets you will actually stick to; and stay on top of your debt, all from the familiarity of your phone or tablet:
1. The no-brainer – your bank’s online banking app
Monitor your accounts, check your balance, manage your direct debits, make payments and keep on top of your credit card and overdraft with your bank’s online banking app.
All the major banks from Bank of Scotland to Barclays have one for IOS an Android and it’ll make your life instantly easier without costing you a penny. Just search the app store for your banking provider.
2. The do-it-all money management app – Yolt
If you want to keep track of your spending, set budgets, view all your accounts in one place and get suggestions on better deals for you, Yolt is the all singing, all dancing money management app for you.
Available for IOS or Android Yolt allows you to view your bank accounts, credit cards and pension pots in one place for an overview of your total balance. It provides you with insights into your spending habits, identifying what your major expenses are, which areas you spend money in most – for example food shopping or eating out and lets you know what your upcoming direct debits are to help you keep track. Yolt lets you set budgets, track your progress and offers a comparison service to help you find a better deal for your needs.
If you’re looking for an all-rounder budgeting app to get you started, Yolt is the one for you.
3. The apps for first-time budgeters – Squirrel and Wally Lite
Budgeting can sound like a daunting process – we recently published a whole blog on the subject. If you’re looking for an easy to use app that will do most of the heavy lifting for you, give Squirrel a try. If you’ve had to turn to high-cost lending to cover essential bills before payday Squirrel could help. It stretches your money between paydays by separating your bill money from your spending money so you can budget effectively and set clear savings goals. All you have to do is add your monthly expenses and savings goals and using this information, the app will release the money you need for bills when they’re due as well as spending money for the week.
Wally Lite is also budgeting focussed though not quite as user-friendly, but what it lacks in slick design it makes up for in usefulness. It will track both your income and expenses and offer a snapshot of your remaining budget to help you avoid overspending. You can even scan your receipts. In short, it will show you your ‘bottom line’ in real time, giving you a full perspective of your financial position at all times.
4. The Helping Hand – Debt Payoff Assistant
Available on iTunes, the Debt Payoff Assistant app asks you to choose either the debt snowball or debt stacking method as your overarching strategy (see our guide on both here.) From here, the app will track your payoff progress, displaying a bar for each debt. It offers an in-depth analysis of your debts and you can drill down into stats for each debt such as total interest paid, total interest saved, debt payoff date and debt payoff time savings.
5. The Money Savers – Emma and Money Supermarket
Recommended by The Sunday Times, Financial Times and Forbes, Emma is a budget management app with a difference. Emma analyses your finances to help you make smarter decisions. She will help you to avoid dipping into your overdraft, track your debt and identify and help you to cancel any wasteful subscriptions. The app claims to help you save up to £600 every year – pretty smart.
Did you know Money Supermarket – the popular price comparison website has a handy app? Well now you do! The app will compare rates on insurance, energy and household bills to ensure you get the best deal for your needs. The apps Bill Manager tool will monitor your energy tariff and tell you when to switch so you can beat price hikes and avoid overpayments. The app is 100% independent and regulated by Ofgem and the FCA so you can rest assured all advice is in your best interests.
6. The Credit Builder – ClearScore
Unfortunately, one of the most common side effects of debt is a damaged credit score. There is a lot of confusion around credit scores, so we recently debunked the 9 most common misconceptions for you. If you’re trying to rebuild your score after recovering from debt or you want to know where you stand both ClearScore’s app will help you to keep track for free.
The ClearScore app gives you free access to your credit report and score all presented in their beautifully designed dashboard. The app will track your finances each month and notify you each time there is a change to your rating and when your new report is ready to view.
7. The best apps if you’re self-employed – HMRC and Quickbooks
If you’re self-employed you’re likely well acquainted with HMRC already, but did you know they have an app? It will allow you to view your tax code and estimate the tax you’re due to pay, track forms and letters you’ve sent to HMRC and the handy tax calculator lets you work out your take-home pay after deductions.
If you’re a contractor, sole trader or are self-employed, the accounting software package Quickbooks has an app specifically designed for you. Available on both IOS and Google play, it will help you to track your income, assist in HMRC self-assessment by organising your business expenses and allowing you to attach receipts. The app helps you to track your annual tax liability, mileage and invoice clients all from your device.
Quickbooks also provides a separate app to help small businesses manage VAT, MTD, payroll and employee time.
We Can Help
Hopefully, these apps will help you to stay on track of your finances but if you’re suffering from more serious debt problem, you could benefit more from a legislated solution.
If you are in an increasingly unmanageable position, our specialist service, a Protected Trust Deed, could be an option for you to write off unaffordable debts and reduce your monthly repayments to one affordable sum.
We are FCA approved and our expert advisers have helped over 16,000 people like you, get out of debt. For free debt advice get in touch for a 100% confidential consultation with our expert team on 0141 221 0999 or find out if you qualify in 60 seconds with our Trust Deed Calculator.