Monday, October 19, 2021

Managing your money, whether it be saving for a dream vacation, your first home or investing for the future, can seem daunting at first. Luckily, personal finance tools such as apps, spreadsheets and software can take some of the guesswork out of managing your money on a daily basis.

We asked our advisors to share the financial tools they are most thankful for and tend to recommend to their Members.

Whether you are brand new to personal finance or have been managing your money with ease for a while, using the following financial tools can make a world of a difference in your saving, budgeting and planning for the future.

1. Budgeting Apps

When it comes to tracking a budget, some people prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper or spreadsheets to manage their income and spending. For others, being able to set-it-and-forget-it when it comes to allocating funds to different expenses and savings funds is critical for success.

For those who want automation and to leave the calculations to someone else, our advisors recommend downloading a budgeting app. With so many on the market, it’s easy to find the best app to suit your needs and lifestyle. Here’s a few of the most popular budgeting apps:

EveryDollar – This zero-based budgeting app encourages you to enter your income and all transactions, allowing you to track your spending and plan for upcoming purchases with ease.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) – YNAB is based on a zero-based budgeting system, meaning you must allocate every dollar you earn to a specific goal, whether it be saving, investing or creating budgets for certain spending categories.

Goodbudget – Using the “envelope” budgeting method, this app will help you allocate funds to specific categories of spending each month and allows you to track spending with others in your household.

Apps can make it easier to track your income and spending, and oftentimes will send you notifications when you get close to reaching your spending limit.

Budgeting, like any habit, gets easier with time. Budgeting apps can be a helpful tool in getting your spending and saving under control with little effort on your part.

2. Anti-fraud notifications

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. While we always recommend you frequently review your bank statements and regularly change your passwords to prevent financial fraud, you can never be too careful.

Our advisors recommend setting up anti-fraud notifications through YNCU, so you can remain confident we have your privacy and safety in mind.

If any large or suspicious spending is detected, you will receive a notification through a text, email or phone call letting you know that there may be a potential fraudulent transaction made on your behalf.

If you tend to make small transactions, you can set your notifications to alert you if a purchase was made over a certain amount. Notifications can even be set if a purchase was made in another country, allowing you to catch financial fraud as soon as it happens.

Anti-fraud software and notifications can be an essential tool to keeping you aware of all activities related to your finances and keep your money safe.

3. Mortgage Calculators

Buying a new home can be a very exciting experience, but also comes with stress and unknowns, especially if you’re a first time home buyer.

When it’s time for you to start looking for a new home, our advisors recommend you first calculate your estimated mortgage to ensure you can afford the monthly payment. This is a critical first step that will guide you in setting a budget for what purchase price you can afford and will dictate how and where you shop for your home.

Interested to see what you can afford? Try out our free mortgage calculator.

4. Amortization Schedule

For those who have already qualified for their mortgage and are an existing home owner, an amortization schedule can be a helpful tool. An amortization schedule is a table that includes the amount of principal and the amount of interest owed in each monthly mortgage payment until the loan is completely paid off.

This is an essential tool, as it allows you to understand what you owe each month and the due date of each payment. For those who are budgeting, this can be a great method of tracking housing expenses and managing how much money to allocate to your mortgage each month.

To create your own amortization schedule, follow this free, helpful resource.

5. Investment Calculators

A common misconception of investing is needing to invest lots of money each month to make a substantial return. Luckily, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When it comes to investing, there is no better time to start than now and any little contribution can make a big difference in the future.

For those who are unsure how much they can expect to make in five, ten or even twenty years by investing, our advisors recommend using an investment calculator. This will help prospective investors estimate what their return could be based on their monthly contribution amount, the amount of time they expect to leave their money in the investment market and the average annual return rate.

Your YNCU advisor will also work closely with you to understand your short and long-term goals, risk tolerance levels and budget, to ensure you are making the best investment decision possible.

To see what you can have saved in the future by investing today, try out this free investment calculator.

Becoming savvy with your savings and spending can seem overwhelming. At YNCU, our local advisors work closely with you to learn your current finances and future goals to ensure you’re set up for success.

Looking to speak to someone about your personal finance goals? Find your local branch.

Learn how to become a YNCU member and experience the difference that Your Neighbourhood Credit Union can make.