Something which I and (if watching any of Gail Vas-Oxlade's shows on SLICE has anything to say about it) most of my generation have a problem with, it's managing our personal finances, staying within a budget and saving for our future. While I may not be struggling under thousands of dollars of credit card debt and student loans, managing my finances for me mostly amounts to running my account perilously close to zero in between paychecks and occasionally calling up the bank of mom and dad. That being said, I'm probably doing better than many of my Grad Student Peers, however considering I'm officially closer to 30 than I am to 20, it's probably a good time to grow up a little as far as finances are concered.
So,what does any 20-something perpetually attached to their laptop and/or smart phone think when they want to start spending and saving smarter? "There's an App for that!" (which I see is an Apple Trademark... yeesh).
The App I went with... available on my Blackberry Q10 (as well as iOS, Android, Windows etc.)...
With Toshl (and I upgraded to Pro, for $19.99....but you can get a 20% discount if you share on twitter and facebook) you can track you expences and incomes, set yourself monthly bugets, tag your spending to see where your money is going, and track it all from your phone or your web browser. And a whole lot more, check out their website.
In my first month of using the free app, the daily ritual of inputing every dollar spent (from hydro bills, to that $2 tea every other morning) brings to light just how much money you can frivolously spend away without realizing it. Much like with counting callories in the kitchen, holding myself accountable to track my spending, naturally reduced it.
As I move forward, I plan to begin to fully utilize the budgeting features, with an aim to have money's going into my savings at the end of each month, and keeping that credit card balance at zero.
Now in an unrelated note about TOSHL, here's some information I stumbled upon on their blog that I found very interesting.
TOSHL put together an infographic separating it's biggest earners and it's biggest spenders by country and by operating system. Australia and iPhones came out on top, logging the biggest incomes and the EU and iphones were the highest spenders.
Although the TOSHL app balances your budget to let you know if you are in the plus or minus at the end of the month, the infographic neglected to show this, much more important piece of information and how it varies between demographics. So, after a few minutes in Excel, here we have it:
While Canada may not be earning the most money, we aren't spending nearly as much of it... coming out on average close to 600 dollars in the black each month. Compared to our neighbours to the south, doing nearly as much in the red.
And split up based on what kind of phone you have... well Windows phone users appear to be the only ones not accumulating debt. iOS lovers run close to $550 in the negative each month! And I'd like to think if they were showing data for blackberry lovers, we'd be making money (maybe more than the company even!)
Now of course this data is only reflective of finances being tracked on the app, and some users may only be tracking their spending, but it still gives you something to think about next time you go buy a cell phone!
What methods or apps do you employ to track your spending and manage your personal finances? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear your tricks!