It’s 2018, and there’s an app for that.

Budgeting sucks. Setting limits, agonising over spreadsheets, struggling to remember which receipt was from where, wondering why you still aren’t saving money…. Oh wait. That was before. We now live in a world where it’s literally never been easier to set a budget, create spending and saving goals, and to generally take control of your financial situation. Thanks to smartphones, fin-tech, automation, and a population of people fed up with not making the most of their money, there’s plenty of programs ready for you to learn to love budgeting – and we’ve highlighted our favourites below.

(PS – none of these apps have paid us to tell you to download them. We just really think you should start budgeting.)

For the lazy budgeter

Pocketbook https://getpocketbook.com/
Free, available on iOS and Android.

Mindless spending, be gone! Pocketbook is a popular Australian budgeting app that syncs with your bank account/s, and seamlessly categorises all of your income and expenses, making it easier to be smart about spending and saving. If you hate spreadsheets or manual budgeting, this is definitely the app for you. The automatic categorisation of income and expenses means you don’t waste time trying to remember where or why each transaction occurred, and gives you a quick overview of where you are spending most of your money. Best of all? You can set category spending budgets (no more ‘accidentally’ spending too much on new shoes) and visually work towards a spending and savings goal.

Things we like:

  • You can easily categorise any expense that Pocketbook doesn’t automatically recognise, and the app will remember it for next time
  • Set up alerts, such as to be reminded to pay regular bills (no more late phone bill charges!), or to know when you’re reaching your spending limit
  • You can head to the desktop version for addition features such as analysing your spending, and an income/expense calendar
  • Pocketbook also has complimentary apps – ‘Tax Return by PocketBook’ and ‘Tax and Pay Calculator,’ backed by ATO tables and rules

 

For the savvy investor

Acorns AUhttps://acornsau.com.au/
$1.25/month for balances under $5k, or 0275%/yr for balances over $5k
Available on iOS and Android.

Acorns’ motto says it all – “Invest the change. This nifty app links to your bank account and/or credit cards, rounds up your daily purchases, and invests the change into a diversified portfolio. For example, if you spend $3.80 on a coffee, it rounds up to $4 and puts that 20c aside, into your investment portfolio. Your portfolio will earn dividends and distributions, which will be automatically reinvested in your portfolio. You can then withdraw your money at any time you want. Acorns is perfect for those who want easier access to the investment market (such as younger or newer investors), who usually encounter barriers such as high buy-ins and fees.

Things we like:

  • You can select your own type of investment portfolio from six categories ranging from conservative to aggressive, depending on your investement goals and amount of risk that you are comfortable with. These portfolios are contructed using electronic trading funds (ETFs, read more here) quoted on the ASX. You can change investment strategies at any time, by switching between portfolios.
  • You can invest lump sums into the account, and set recurring daily, weekly, or monthly investment amounts to set aside more – allowing you to invest beyond your spare change
  • There’s no account minimum – you can start with $0, and as soon as you’ve accumulated at least $5 in your account, you can start to invest!

 

For the small business owner

ATO app https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Online-services/ATO-app/
Free, available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

If you’re a working Australian, you’re likely to be well familiar with the ATO. Well, you also may have noticed that they have spent the past few years getting well into the digital age, to make it easier for you to manage your tax and super on the go. Perfect for all individual taxpayers, small business owners, or people such as freelancers who manage their own super funds.

Things we like:

  • You can access services such as myDeductions to keep tax deductions and income records in one place, perfect for individuals claiming expenses, and sole traders with simple affairs to keep track of expenses and income from their business
  • Small businesses can use the business performance check tool, to compare the performance of their business to other small business in the industry – perfect to benchmark yourself against your business peers, and see where you are doing well or could be improving
  • The app has a range of other features including a fuel tax credit calculator, ABN lookup, payment plan estimator, a key dates tool so you can easily keep track of important dates for tax and super obligations, and more

 

For the expense-splitters

Splitwise https://www.splitwise.com/
Free, available on iOS and Android

Splitwise makes it ridiculously easy to split expenses with friends, family members, housemates or individuals. It’s great for people who often buy things in groups, i.e. housemates, or those who are on a tight budget (i.e. keeping track of every cent they spend) but don’t like sounding like a scrooge and asking for a $10 transfer after paying for dinner. It keeps a running total of how much you owe, and are owed, with groups and individuals. This means that you can you can pay each other back in one big payment, rather than many smaller ones.

Things we like:

  • It’s seriously easy to use – Splitwise allows you to input expenses and split them with an individual or group, either equally, by percentage, or by specified amounts
  • When you’ve paid the amount, you can settle up (you can’t currently pay through the app, as it is based in the UK). You can also send reminders for people to settle up with you, making the ‘you owe me money’ conversation much less confrontational for those who don’t like asking for money from friends or family
  • Splitwise has recently launched a another free app called ‘Plates’ – the same concept, but to help you figure out how to fairly split restaurant bills – no more chipping in for the expensive wine you didn’t drink!

 

For those who are always losing receipts

Expensifyhttps://www.expensify.com/
Free, available on iOS and Android

Again, the tag line here is pretty succinct – “expense reports that don’t suck.” We couldn’t have said it better. You know that pile of receipts that you build up throughout the year, and dread pulling out to sort through at tax time? Well, Expensify allows you to easily take a picture of your receipt, and the app automatically fills out and submits an expense report for you, pulling information from the receipt including time, date, amount and merchant. Receipt pile, be gone!

Things we like:

  • Expensify integrates with Xero, Quickbooks, and other accounting systems, making your (or your accountants) life even easy come tax time
  • The app automatically includes receipts from online merchants often associated with business travel, such as Uber (though, as an American company most of the integrations are US-centric), reducing the chance that you’ll forget to include online expenses
  • It has a bunch of other handy features such as duplicate expense detection, automatic reimbursement, and automatically syncs any changes made in your accounting system in real time.

 

That’s all folks. Get downloading!

If you’d like to know more about how you can manage money to your advantage, we would love to hear from you. Email us at info@ippaustralia.com.au, or make a booking for a call or free in-person consultation via our simple booking system.