MoneyWiz is a personal financial tracking service available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. With a recently released an iWatch application to allow you to access the basic needs of your personal finance in an instant.
In this review I’ll be explaining why I’ve chosen this piece of financial tracking software for the past five years.
MoneyWiz is a paid service and therefore has very few restrictions. You can set up new accounts (for example I’ve set up an account for our mortgage).
This flexibility is great if like me you have a vast number of different accounts and income streams.
However, the fantastic functionality of MoneyWiz doesn’t end there. We have the ability to automatically import all transactions, and manually add transactions via the iWatch or mobile applications whilst out and about.
Ease of Use
The application is super straightforward and easy to use. The service makes it simple to track your income and expenditure every month. It also makes it really easy to edit transactions or import and export your transactions if that’s what you want to do.
The applications functionality is certainly there, providing you with endless different filter and reporting options without feeling overwhelming.
The screenshot below is direct from my account. On the left you an see the navigation between different accounts. There’s also the ability to see an overview on the dashboard or through the calendar within schedule. You can also use this navigation to view budgets and reports to see how you’re net worth is growing, or what you’re spending the most money on.
MoneyWiz uses military grade security via 3rd party data aggregation provides SaltEdge and Yodlee to ensure that customers information is kept as secure as possible.
All customer data is stored in the cloud using the SYNCbits service is encrypted with a password and security questions. The security is designed to email you instantly if there is any unauthorised access to your account. The SYNCbits service also comes with a lockdown feature. Enabling it to block data to avoid leaks during any potential hacks to the system.
There are two different price plans for MoneyWiz, however I am only happy speaking about one which is by far the very best value for money. That is MoneyWiz premium.
MoneyWiz Premium allows you access to the software for free, with unlimited use on any device and / or platform. Major updates such as MoneyWiz 3 and access to online banking is either; $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
While MoneyWiz is a paid service I feel that you certainly do get what you pay for. Be sure to let me know what you think of this MoneyWiz review in the comments below. If you have any MoneyWiz alternatives you think we should check out then be sure to let us know!
With the arrival of a new tax year, I’m wanting to touch on saving money. Particularly in the form of investments. It seems like there is no better place to start than with ISA’s, and so this post was born; my six top tips for getting started with ISA’s…
1. What is an ISA?
Firstly, let’s start with the basics. What is an ISA? ISA is an abbreviation which stands for; Individual Savings Account. If you’re just getting started with ISA’s then it’s important to note that you have a choice of three different ISA’s:
Cash ISA: You don’t have to pay tax on any interest you receive from your savings.
Stocks and Shares ISA: Invest your ISA allowance in shares or funds and You don’t have to pay tax on any income or capital gains from your investment.
Innovative Finance ISA: Peer to peer lending with agreed interest rates where you don’t have to pay tax on any income or capital gains from your investment.
2. Who Can Open An ISA?
To open an ISA you must be over 16 (over 18 for a stocks and shares or innovative finance ISA) and a UK resident.
You can’t hold an ISA on behalf of somebody else, however if you have a child who is under the age of 18 you can instead opt for a Junior ISA.
3. How Can You Open An ISA?
Once you’ve chosen the type of ISA you would like and the company you would like to invest with, it’s all about opening that account.
Doing so couldn’t be easier, you often have the choice of three options although it will vary depending on who you choose to invest with. They are: Online, Phone or in Store.
4. When Should You Invest in an ISA?
Whether you can invest £100 a month or £1,000 a month it doesn’t matter. The important thing is the sooner the better. I say that thanks to the beauty that is compound interest. Every finance bloggers best friend. Compound interest. This allows you to generate earnings on your earnings. A phenomenon once dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world” by none less than Albert Einstein.
If you’re not getting the most out of your ISA then you may want to transfer it to a different one. Doing so is technical, however many companies now offer dedicated ISA switching services.
One thing to note is that you should NEVER withdraw your cash from your ISA. By doing so you’ll loose your tax saving benefits.
Important Things To Note About Your ISA
The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may not get back the amount invested.
The value of tax savings and eligibility to invest in an ISA or Junior ISA depend on personal circumstances. All tax rules may change in future.
This is a sponsored post. As always, the words and opinions are my own and aren’t intended to be a personal recommendation in respect of a particular investment. Getting started with ISA’s can be complex and so as with all financial products and investments, I recommend seeking independent financial advice.
Money Dashboard is a personal finance application that helps you understand exactly where your money is going. Launched in 2010, the Money Dashboard application lets you monitor your online bank and credit card accounts, helping you keep in control of your spending.
Today, I’m going to be doing a complete Money Dashboard review to see whether it’s really a service you should be using.
Money Dashboard has both an online web-based platform and a mobile application. This makes it super simple for you to check your financial situation whether you’re at home or on the go.
When I first started using Money Dashboard they used to allow you to ‘tag’ expenses. With a selection of more than 50 different tags you’d assume they’d be one for everything – but there wasn’t. However, our requests have been answered with the recent launch of Money Dashboard 6.0 and the ability to add personalised tags.
Ease of Use
Both the website and mobile app are about as simple as you can expect from a service like this. The site allows you to personalise your ‘dashboard’ or homepage in order to only show you the information you want to see when you log in.
A handy calendar allows you to see when you have money coming in and out and the projected balance helps you see your financial future up to six months in advance.
MoneyDashboard is completely free service. They don’t charge you to download the application or subscribe the service.
Money Dashboard’s services are completely free thanks to their two sources of income;
Firstly, they sell your data to third parties. That sounds scary, but it’s not. You see, rather than you specifically the service will bundle their subscribers together to provide an insight into consumer spending habits and income. This provides marketers with information to help them make decisions when marketing products and services based on household income, location, age etc.
Another way in which Money Dashboard earns money is through recommendations. These are based on your current expenditure such as; mobile phone, gas and electric. Should you take Money Dashboard up on any of their recommendations then they will gain a referral or affiliate fee. This is the same as how this website makes money right through to popular sites such as; MoneySupermarket, Money Saving Expert and HotUKDeals.
By now you’re probably worrying about your security. You’re giving away your bank and personal details to a website to help them track your spending. If you weren’t worried you should be. However, MoneyDashboard knows you’re going to worry which is why they’ve put so much emphasis on how secure their website actually is.
The service has been running since early 2010 and in 2015 announced it had over 100,000 users. In that time there have been no reported hackings of the website. Better than that nobody has reported any incident of identity theft in direct relation to using the service.
I do hope you have enjoyed this Money Dashboard review. Be sure to let me know if you do sign up to Money Dashboard or have any alternatives that you think we should try…
You’ve pulled your head from the sand and finally decided to take action when it comes to your personal finances.
Whether you’re a decade from retiring or just finished University this ‘to do list’ is going help you get started. Helping you understand the position you’re in financially and gain a better understanding of your potential financial future. As well as how you can change it.
Calculate Your Net Worth
I personally use Microsoft Excel however there are a number of different online and offline tools to help you do this. Work out how much you (and your business, if you have one) is worth. Updating this monthly is essential to ensure that you’re on target to achieve your financial goals.
I make a habit of doing this once a year regardless of whether I’m looking to take out a credit card, loan or mortgage. You credit score is going to give you a look at the ‘bigger picture’ and provide you with an indication as to how likely you are to get a loan (etc.) from the bank.
I’d recommend using Equifax they offer a 30-day free trial which is more than enough time for your to check your credit score and download it or print it of for future reference. Taking the time to understand and adjust things as necessary based on your credit score is going to save you a lot of headaches further down the road.
Now you know what you’re worth and how much you spend it’s time to start thinking about goals and targets. This sounds so boring I know, but planning here is important.
Decide where you want to be financially in five, ten, twenty years and backdate that to work out how much you need to save each month or year. Track your goals to ensure you’re meeting them and if you’re not you need to decide how you’re going to tackle that. Are you going to move the goal posts or look to earn or save more instead.
It’s important to think about your pension provider too. Are they the best one for you and how can you ensure you’re getting the best from your employers contribution. In some cases it could be worth sitting down with an accountant (most offer one hour consultation for free) to learn more.
From goals comes rewards. It’s important to set a small amount of cash aside as a reward for hitting your financial targets on a regular basis. This could be anything from dinner out to a weekend away. This will motivate you to work harder going forward.
In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more fantastic hints and tips on how you can get started with personal finance. If you have any specific personal finance requests then feel free to let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to get back to you.
These days there are just as many ways to budget your money as there are diets. With 2017 in full swing it’s no wonder so many people are looking to the latest budget trend the 50 / 20 / 30 rule. You’ve heard of the envelope system, you’ve heard of incremental budgeting, you’ve even heard of zero based budgeting. But the 50 / 20 / 30 rule is something completely different entirely.
So, lets talk about what is it, how do you do it and most importantly… does it work?
What Is The 50 / 20 / 30 Rule?
The name 50 / 20 / 30 rule comes from the divisions your income receives for budgeting purposes. The thing that makes it so special in this sense is that there are only three true budget categories. Instead of 40 different envelopes or bank accounts trying to keep track of each individual expense.
50% Living Expenses
50% of your income should go to living expenses and life essentials. By essentials I don’t mean new eyeliner… Instead I’m talking about your rent, utilities, and things like your supermarket shopping and bus pass or petrol to get you too and from work.
20% Financial Goals
By financial goals I’m talking about savings accounts, retirement plans, emergency funds and so on… Decide what’s most important (i.e. paying off debt) and once achieved move onto splitting your financial goals up to suit your future (i.e. a certain percentage in a savings account, and a certain percentage going towards a retirement plan)
30% Flexible Spending
Flexible spending equals everything else. Meals out, going out for drinks, a night at the cinema, that new outfit and so on… Some choose to include food within their flexible spending as it’s really under your control as to how much you spend at the supermarket. Feel free to adjust what’s included within your flexible spending based on your budget and circumstances.
The 50 / 20 / 30 Calculator
The calculator below will calculate the 50 / 20 / 30 rule based on your income. All you need to enter is the income field at the top, and let the calculator do the rest.
The 50 / 20 / 30 Rule In Action
Keep in mind that whilst the 50 / 20 / 30 rule or any budget for that matter is great, it’s only a guide. A helpful benchmark to understand where you’re money is and should be going. That said, there is no reason that it can’t be adjusted or adapted based on your specific lifestyle and goals.
Let’s assume you’re take home post tax is £20,000 per annum or £1,666.66 per month. Your living expenses should fit within 50% of that which in this cases is £883.33 The amount of money you take out each month to reflect your personal goals should be £333.33 Finally, the amount of flexible money you have for holidays, make up etc… should total no more than £499.99.
For many this might work, however if you’re in a major city such as London it’s likely that your rent alone is going to be your entire living expenses and in which case you should look to adjust your percentages based on your financial needs. If you’re married then together you may not need your full allowance of flexible money. However, if you’re nearing the end of your career you may instead opt to increase the percentage you’re putting into your personal goals to ensure you’re going to have a comfortable retirement.
Does The 50 / 20 / 30 Rule Work?
So we know what it is, we know how it works, but the question is…does it actually?
and the answer to this is yes… and no.
Whilst the 50 / 20 / 30 rule keeps your budgeting simple and helps you have a clear directive when it comes to where you’re money is or isn’t going. It isn’t the saving grace. In fact, no budget is. Any budget system is only going to work if you’re willing to be honest with yourself and stick to it. The beauty of the 50 / 20 / 30 rule is just how simple it is. If you’re someone who gets bogged down with the math or the deciding of how much money should go where then this budget is most definitely for you.
This rule should also help you understand how you’re lifestyle is matching up. For example, if you’re living expenses are costing more than 50% of your paycheque then it’s time to look at why. It’s important to be realistic for example, can you live without a TV licence?
If not then is that a living expense or part of your flexible budget? This can be a big eye-opener to many who may find that they need to opt for a less lavish house, or in fact lifestyle in order to plan for the future accordingly. That said, even if you don’t 100% stick to the 50 / 20 / 30 rule it’s worth auditing you’re accounts against it to see just how realistic your lifestyle and living situation is, before it’s too late. Whilst there are now many mobile applications on the market to allow you to track your spending.
Plenty like to stick to the good old fashioned pen and paper. All forms of budgeting are going to be much easier when organised. Find a method that suits you. And be sure to set aside time to ensure you’re sticking to it.
What If I’m Spending More Than The 50 / 20 / 30 Rule Suggests?
If you have spent some time adjusting you’re finances to the 50 / 20 / 30 rule but no matter how hard you try it just doesn’t seem to fit. In which case it’s time to take a long hard look at your lifestyle and living arrangement.
It’s easy to opt to cut the 20% and stop contributing to savings, emergency funds etc. However, this decision is going to hurt you a lot more in the long run. Instead, you need to look at taking action now, while you can.
Living expenses too high?
Consider ways in which you can subsidise that. Perhaps rent out a spare room or your couch on Airbnb or your parking space on Just Park. Consider starting a second job or picking up a side-hustle. It’s even worth considering moving house or getting a room-mate. Selling your old clothes and electronics on eBay is going to be all well and good, but you’re going to need to increase your income long term if you want to make this work.
Flexible expenses too high?
Then take stock of what you have. If you have 20 bottles of half used shampoo it’s time to use them up before buying anymore. Wardrobe bursting at the seems? – Then you clearly don’t need any new clothes. If you’re going out on a weekend with friends and spending too much on alcohol then consider inviting friends round to yours for a movie & pamper night.
I can barely believe it’s been two years since I graduated University. Since then so much has changed but my student discount card has remained the same. I have been using a student discount card for almost a decade now, and I could not begin to imagine a life without it.
Whether you’ve recently finished as a student or haven’t been one for decades. Thanks to a simple, completely legal and legitimate hack you can take advantage of the amazing discounts students are getting. Today, I’m going to show you how.
What Is A Student Discount Card?
First things first. What is a student discount card?
Student discount cards come in all different forms. That said, the most widely accepted student discount card in UK retail stores is an NUS card. Lucky for us that’s the exact card we’re going to be getting.
Standard student discount cards are free. However, an NUS card costs £12 for the year. Whilst £12 may make the student discount card seem unnecessary, even someone as thrifty as myself manages to save 10x that amount over the course of a year.
Is A Student Discount Card Worth It?
Having a student discount can save you a lot of cash in a wide range of places including;
10% Discount at the Co-Op
25% off National Express
10% off at Asos
50% off a Spotify subscription
20% off at Superdrug
There are also discounts that I get that aren’t listed on the NUS website. Such as 13% off at Showcase cinemas. I’ve also been given a student discount card whilst recently in Brighton visiting The Royal Pavilion – saving me £1.80 on my entry fee.
So let’s do some simple math and see if a student discount card is right for you.
Let’s assume you spend £100 in the Co-Op over the course of a year. You visit the cinema once every other month and spend £30 in Superdrug. Through these simple expenses, you would actually save £28. Therefore after the cost of a student discount card you’ve actually saved yourself £16.
That £16 saving is based on some pretty savvy spending. It’s worth having a look through your bank statements over the past three months and seeing how much you could have saved with a student discount card.
The Student Discount Card Hack
Obtaining a student card is a simple process that takes no more than 10 minutes and can be completed by following my five simple steps;
Enter place of study as ‘eCareers’ (NUS own eCareers hence it being legitimate)
Select photo of yourself for the back of your card
Enter payment details and delivery address
Your new student discount card will now be sent to your address in the post and should arrive within 7 days.
How To Use Your Student Discount Card
The student discount card hack has been sucsessful and your card has finally arrived. You are ready to start reaping the rewards bu where do you start?
Well, using your student discount card in a store couldn’t be easier. As the cashier is scanning through your products mention that you have a student discount card, the cashier will then instruct you as to the information required.
In 90% of cases, they just want to see the card in order to ensure it’s valid. In some cases they may be required to scan it – I know that’s the case with the Co-Op.
It’s always worth keeping your eyes peeled for special student discounts especially around September when the University students get their first student loan as discounts are often increased or special offers are announced for students only.
It’s also worth asking about student discounts in local restaurants etc. you’ll be surprised at the number of places offering the discount.
Share The Knowledge
Your student discount card has your photograph on therefore it can not be used by anyone else. It’s therefore, important to let your friends and family know about this completely legal and legitimate student discount card hack so they can benefit too.
Today I’m taking part in the Five Fabulously Frugal Things I’ve done this week challenge. This linky is hosted by three fantasticly frugal bloggers; Cass, Emma, and Becky.
As many of you longtime TMM readers know, I love a challenge. It motivates me to think differently, and this week has been no exception. Hopefully this example of frugal living in the UK will go on to inspire you to do more frugal things in your life going forward.
So, without further ado, here is my Frugal Living In The UK…
1. Repairing My Jeans
One of the first frugal things I’ve done this week is repair my jeans. I’m a minimalist. I hate clutter in any part of my life. It stresses me out, which is why when something is broken I know I’ve got to get it out of my life.
That pretty much explains why when my ripped jeans became too ripped they had to go… or did they? Helen has a degree in Historical Costume Design – This means she’s super nifty with a sewing machine!
Which is why we decided to repair my jeans instead of throwing them away. We managed to pick up patches of fabric from one of our local charity shops for 10p which cover the excessive rips in the jeans perfectly.
Since moving in eighteen months ago we’ve acquired a wide range of cooking equipment that we’ve never used, as well as tinned goods, frozen goods, sauces etc. again that we’ll never use. Our diet has changed dramatically in the past nine months or so, and therefore so has what we buy in our weekly food shop.
I therefore, decided it was time to face the music (or clutter in this case).
I did this in two ways;
Firstly, I took out all the things we’re never going to use. The random packets of jelly, that sauce that’s almost out of date etc. We donated it all to either Helen’s sisters or the food bank.
Next, I took what we had left and went back to my meal planning routes. That means for the past six days or so we’ve had rather odd meals, but healthy none the less.
This has saved us around £30 on a weekly shop and helped us plan our meals better going forward. With the Christmas season upon us (yes, I did just say Christmas) there’s no better time to do this.
3. Getting Free Mail Supplies
Over the past two weeks I’ve been working on transferring my companies postal services over to a Royal Mail business account. Now this may not seem frugal, but trust me it is… Not only does this service offer us reduced postage rates, it also offers us free postage supplies including;
To be eligible for a Royal Mail account I believe you need to post eight items or more each week (easily achievable for many resellers)
However, I’ve also been informed that UPS offer a similar service offering you free boxes with the UPS branding of various size for free just by opening an account – whether that be business or personal. This can be done online, it’s completely free and as far as I’m aware there is no minimum posting amount.
4. Car Sharing
Today, myself, Helen and a bunch of our friends are heading to Billund, Denmark to visit Lego Head Office.
Billund isn’t a popular holiday destination and therefore getting a flight direct from the UK can be difficult, in this case, we’re having to fly from London Stansted – 200 miles from our house.
Luckily as we’re going with some of our friends we’ve been able to car share. The benefits of car sharing are amazing;
We’re able to save money on petrol, for this particular journey, it’s saving us around £20 per person return.
We’re able to help the environment by producing less Co2 emissions – going from three vehicles to just one.
Personally, I’m not driving so I’m able to sit in the back and get on with some work. Increasing my productivity and helping me arrive feeling refreshed rather than stressed out.
In this particular case, we’re also able to save on airport parking which can be so expensive. Last time I flew from London Stansted I used Just Park. However, this time, it’s only costing us around £7 per person – which is awesome!
5. Selling Clothes
Not all clothes can be repaired.
That was certainly the case with my running shorts that I bought six months ago from our local Nike outlet for £4.99.
They are a size large, and over the course of the six months in which I’ve owned them they’ve become bigger or I’ve become thinner. To the point in which I now have to hold onto them when I go running – not good!
After postage and fees, this leaves me with around £7 to go out and buy a new pair.
Helen and I have been doing a lot of reselling on eBay recently, both of things we own personally and things we’ve bought to resell. I never thought second-hand clothes was the market that it is, and it’s a niche that we’re exploring a lot in our Youtube videos.
There we have it. My example of frugal living in the UK this week. Let me know what you think of what we’ve been getting up to in the comments. Also have you guys been doing anything frugal and fun this week? Inspire others by sharing what you’ve been getting up to.