The gap between rich and poor in the UK is growing as savings and home ownership decline among the poorest families.
In a sign of growing financial strain, low-income families had just £95 of savings and investments this winter, excluding pensions, compared with £136 in the same period last year.
Most people have a seen a fall in ‘real wages’ over the past eight years; some are really struggling to make ends meet.
Years ago, our budgeting would have been done with a sheet of paper, a pen and a calculator; then computer spreadsheets took over and now we have smartphone apps to do the work for us.
It’s all too easy to spend money, but creating a budget and, more importantly, sticking to it, is not so simple. There are plenty of smartphone budgeting apps that could make the task of staying out of the red that little bit easier. Below are two of the reportedly most popular budgeting apps.
OnTrees is the budgeting app available from MoneySuperMarket. It makes keeping track of your money nice and simple. OnTrees works with all the major UK banks so that you can keep track of exactly what’s coming in and going out of all your current accounts, savings accounts and even credit cards, with just one login.
It sorts your transactions into various categories so you can see where and what you are spending, and how you could save. It also offers detailed information about your spending habits with charts and icons.
This is another app that shows you all your account balances in one place. You need to enter your bank login details for the software to read your bank statements – which, admittedly, not everyone likes –although the application is read-only. No one – not even you – can make payments, withdrawals or transfers.
Once each account is linked to Money Dashboard, your transaction types will be automatically grouped and categorised into various categories, such as electricity and food. It claims that “with a clearer view of how, when and where you’re spending your money you’ll be in a better position to organise your finances more effectively”.
So, once you have your budget sorted out, listed below are some apps that can save you money on your shopping.
This free app allows you to create a shopping list and compares live prices from over 10 different retailers, making sure that you find the lowest prices for all of your favourite products. Once you’ve decided which shop will give you the best price for your shopping trolley, you can simply sit back and wait for your delivery to arrive.
MySupermarket is an entirely independent service, so you can be quite sure that you’re getting an honest and fair deal.
Best of all, this easy-to-use food shopping app could end up saving you up to 30% on every supermarket shop – without having to settle for inferior quality. You might be able to afford a nice bottle of red for the weekend, perhaps…
How often do you end up throwing away half your food – otherwise known as ‘half your money’ – just because you can’t think of a good meal to make with leftovers and surplus food?
Big Oven can help you make sure that that doesn’t happen. It gives you a portable grocery list as well as over 350,000 recipe ideas.
Best of all, it can also tell you exactly how to make the most of those last few items in the fridge to make something really tasty!
You’d be surprised at the amount of delicious and nutritious meals that you can make out of a couple of eggs, broccoli and some fresh pasta.
In our grandparent’s day, almost nothing went to waste. Waste was considered a sin, especially during the war years.
Sadly, that way of thinking has largely disappeared from modern culture, but this app can give you loads of ideas as to what to do with leftovers, and save you a small fortune!
Finding an efficient way of managing your energy usage is essential if you want to ensure that you don’t get an enormous bill every quarter. It’s so easy to go away for the weekend or a short trip and forget to turn off the heating. Not only that, but returning to a freezing home after a winter’s break is no fun either. Hive can put an end to all that at a click of a button.
The good news is, this app can help with all these problems. All you have to do is download the app, enter your boiler details and use it to control your heating wherever you are.
As well as enabling remote usage, it also means you can avoid tackling awkward boiler controls – no more stumbling around in darkened basements or attics armed with a torch.
But, while Hive is free to use and can save you money, there are installation costs involved, so check beforehand if it is right for you.
Whatever app you choose, at the end of the day the responsibility for your financial wellbeing rests with you, and you alone. No amount of apps or spreadsheets can make you spend your money wisely – only you can do that.