Setting goals is very common this time of year. Lose weight. Get healthy. Book a holiday. We advocate including financial goals when you’re doing your goal setting – whether it be on a personal or professional level – your finances play a big part in your life.
Many people neglect to include financial goals when they set their intentions for the year. But there’s some data we’d like to share and it’s a little scary.
1 in 3 Australians is experiencing financial stress. This means around 30% of the population are struggling to pay bills, living pay to pay and feeling negative about their finances. The impacts of financial stress are far reaching on your relationships and personal wellbeing.
Which is why it’s important for you to take some time to set financial goals, and ensure you’re working on your financial wellness just as you would your health or mental wellness.
How to set a financial goal
The first step is to look at what you want to achieve (i.e. buy a house) or whether you are having some debt to pay off (i.e. credit card) this will likely determine what you focus on.
We like to use SMART goals when we set our financial goals. One example goal is to save money. To make this a SMART goal we would add a time frame, attach a dollar value and ensure it’s within our means to achieve. A SMART savings goal might look like: I’m going to save $10,000 this year, by saving $200 per week.
Our top 9 budgeting and savings apps:
Tracking expenses, setting budgets, making savings projections and living the frugal life while saving can be tough. But don’t worry, we live in an age where there’s an app for that.
So, we found some budgeting and savings apps that might help you achieve your financial goals this year, or at least take your mind off the fact that you’re probably having 2 minute noodles again for dinner.
CashMaster is a relatively new app. It takes just a minute to set-up and gives you a view of your finances and can help you set your budget. You can set goals for yourself, the app will make projections on your cashflow and best of all you can link up all of your accounts in one place.
Acorns is pretty cool. It’s a micro-investing app that you link up to your bank account, then when you make a purchase they round up the difference to the nearest dollar and put the spare change into your investment account.
The app is free to download but they charge a small monthly management fee depending on your account balance.
They also have partnered with businesses that will contribute multiples of your regular roundups just for shopping with them (not that you’ll be doing that, you’re living the frugal life).
This is run by government regulatory body ASIC. The features are basic but a good starting point if you’ve never set up a budget before.
You choose your spend cycle and limit, then pop your transactions in as you go and can set up favourites for regular transactions. TrackmySPEND doesn’t link to your bank account, so you do have to input this info manually.
Pocketbook manages your expenses by automatically syncing data from your bank account within the app. The data gets synced daily so you’re always looking at the most recent analysis. You can track multiple accounts for multiple people and keep each other responsible for your spending habits. Set goals for savings and work towards it. It also sends you alerts to let you know if you’ve overspent, how much you’ve got left in your budget for spending and when bills are due or overdue.
Helps you prioritise where your cash needs to go. When you pay comes through, you allocate what funds need to go to bills, then when it comes to other areas like eating out or buying clothes just check your Eating Out category which will show what finds you have available to spend on that item.
Wally helps you track your income and expenses, looks at where you’re spending and when and will help you set and achieve financial goals. Only available on iPhone at the moment, you can track your spending on the go, including uploading pictures of receipts direct to the app. This one is a freebie too which is nice.
- Your Bank
Depending on who you bank with they will probably also have a mobile app for your smartphone. We would definitely recommend having a look at what they have available too. Most of the major Australian banks like Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac have thrown a lot of money at creating some pretty great features to help track your spending and create your budget.
Ok, so this one is not an app (although you probably have a book reading app you could download it in). The title sums up this read to a tee – how to live a great life on a shoestring. Whilst the frugal life is not for everyone, there are some great budget friendly activities you can try out.
- Coin jar
No, also not an app. Does anyone still use cash anymore? Well, for those of you who do, pop your change into a jar. You’d be surprised at how quickly your spare change adds up.
For some great resources on savings and property, check out our blog.
Entourage Finance holds Australian Credit Licence 475676
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