Money management is easy if you use the right tools

Effective money management is achievable if you put your mind to it, invest a little time in selecting the right support technology, and remain diligent in its use. And what’s more, it doesn’t have to be expensive…

Years ago a project manager told her team: “I want to know all of your unknowns.” On the face of it, that was a strange request. If things were unknown, then by definition they couldn’t be known, could they?

But dig a little deeper, and it’s easy to see what she was driving at – the information was out there; it was just that finding it required a little effort.

And so it is with personal money management. Every penny you spend is trackable, and can be woven into a story that will tell you about how effective you are at expense management – the art of having money left at the end of the week or month.
Like everything else these days, the most convenient way to do it is with software. Certainly, you could use pen and paper, or even an Excel spreadsheet, but you’ll do yourself no favours by shunning software and opting for ‘old school’ technology instead.
The wonderful thing is that app developers have got there before you, and done the thinking for you too. The result is an array of potentially helpful tools. But as an individual or small business owner, which one is right for you? Here’s how to navigate the money management toolbox:

How to choose money management software
First of all, you’ll need to understand what you want from your chosen package. After all, most of the software programmes and money management apps will help you track budgets, spending, bills and savings. With your needs in mind you’ll be able to look beyond the fancy screens and clever graphics and focus on the functionality you need.
If it’s just money management you’re after, then set aside the software options that focus on tax preparation and those designed for big business, with multiple users across cities and even continents.

We’d suggest that high on your priority lost should be three simple factors – cost, ease of use, and portability.

What will it cost?
The first of that trio or requirements is simple. At its most basic level Solo Expenses Personal Use is a completely free download, and ‘free’ means exactly that. You’ll never have to pay anything. The basic level is free because it’s part of Expense on Demand. That’s an expense management system subscribed to by companies around the world, who are happy to pay for a system that saves them time and money month in, month out. Their payments make it possible for the app’s Personal Use version to be free.

How easy is it to use?
For a host of reasons, people are busy. Sole traders have clients to care for, students have deadlines and social lives, and mums have homes to run. They don’t have time to pore of tiny details. The money management app they choose therefore needs to be instantly available and easy to use, so that it doesn’t soak up that precious time. Best then to avoid a solution that requires you to sit at a desk, or even to pick up a tablet. TSolo Expenseshe app’s Personal Use is designed as a smartphone app, so it is available at the point of purchase, allowing you to record an expense whilst you wait for change at the till, or cross the car park afterwards. That’s the only way to record spending effectively – there and then. It’s too easy to forget afterwards.

Solo Expenses was the first money management app designed with sole traders in mind. However, the ease of use it delivers for that group is equally happy supporting individuals and their personal budgets too.

Will it be with me?
All the time. Because Solo Expenses Personal Use was designed for sole trader users, it’s a smartphone app, so it can be with them all the time. Its intuitive system allows creation of new categories to suit whatever you’re spending, compartmentalizing records according to client, store, project, or whatever you want. Invest a meagre £2.49 a month and you can unlock extra features, such as the ability to fire off reports to your accountant, record expenses with voice memos, and keep a track of tax as well.

The bottom line
The bottom line is about, well, the bottom line. Only by being diligent about recording spending accurately can you be certain what you’ve spend, and where. The more you keep an eye on your spending through the window of the app’s Personal Use, the more in control you’ll be, and, as a sole trader or an individual, the better you’ll become at money management. And by achieving that, you’ll find in time that you’re better off too!