This article was originally published by Qazini, an online media platform that is seeking to drive systemic change in our societies through empowering storytelling.
Sound management of your finances is key, regardless of your age bracket. Once you are able to see where your money goes, then you are able to redirect and dictate the right places where it should go. But in our fast-paced lives, keeping track of your expenses can be a daunting task.
Thankfully, we have some local apps that you can use to automate your financial transactions, track and monitor spending. Here are just a few that you may want to consider:
Your mobile-banking app: Almost every commercial bank in Kenya, sacco and microfinance bank has a mobile app where you can track where your money goes. The levels of sophistication in these apps vary from simple money-in-money-out tacking and transaction statements to those that allow you to split your bank balance into different expenditure groups. Either way, your bank’s mobile banking app is one easy way to track your spending.
Simple Excel sheets that capture your weekly or monthly expenses and income could also do the trick- for those who like working on spreadsheets. There are different templates that are freely available online. You can choose to use these, or lift ideas from them and develop a customized one tailored to your needs.
Read Also: 7 Types of Personal Budgets and How to Choose
Virtual Accounts: Players in the Kenyan financial services industry have in the last few years come alive to the fact that consumers want the highest possible level of convenience when it comes to their finances. We now have digital savings accounts that do not require one to visit a branch to open or operate.
There are also virtual investment accounts that give you the flexibility of managing your investments remotely, without the need to visit a physical branch. If you sign up for any of these accounts, you can monitor your unit trusts, savings etc. virtually with interfaces that continue to improve towards making the new world of virtual finance real.
Lock Savings Accounts: From your mobile money operator to your Sacco, bank and beyond, the ability to lock your savings for an extended period of time as they earn interest can be very beneficial.
This is especially true for anyone trying to build discipline in saving, when you are yet to decide where you want to invest your saved money and when you can get above inflation-level returns. When your savings are locked for say 6 months, you are highly incentivised not to withdraw and that’s one less account that needs constant monitoring.
Budget Planners: There is a plethora of budgeting/planner apps available from both local and international developers that allow you to easily and actively track where your money goes. You simply have to be entering your income and expenses on the go - as they happen. For example, if your net salary is say Ksh45,000, when you get paid, you enter the amount in the income section of the app. You then enter every expense as it happens; rent, electricity, internet, savings etc. If you categorise your expenses well, you can easily tell where the wastage is happening and you can stem the bleeding.
NSE App. Nairobi Securities Exchange also has an app that aids in monitoring your stocks portfolio. It shows market statistics, daily stock prices and indicates how your stocks are trading on any particular day. With this app, you can select companies that you want to monitor. You will get notifications regarding their price changes. It also gives you a list of stockbrokers whose services you can enlist. The app also has listed bonds, and real estate investment trusts (REITS).
Read Also: The 10 Golden Rules of Investing You Should Know
Electronically traded funds. Government bonds can now be traded from your phone unlike in the past where one had to visit their bank or the Central Bank of Kenya.
Stockbrokers Apps. Some stockbrokers in Kenya have developed applications that can be used by their clients to monitor their portfolios. Some of the stockbrokers who have apps include Dyer and Blair, AIB Capital, Faida Investment Bank, NCBA, and Genghis Capital whose app is known as G-Kuze.
Personal notebook. Keeping a notebook where you record daily/weekly expenses under different categories can be quite helpful - whether it’s because you don’t have a smartphone or computer, or if you prefer writing things down generally.
Categories could include; transport, utilities, loan repayments, food, and entertainment. Check to see if your monthly expenses match the budget you had created for yourself. You do not want to be spending more than you earn.
A top tip if you are going to use notebooks, is to make sure you fill it in daily - you may be surprised to learn how much remembering there is to be done if you are to fill your tracker weekly or bi-weekly. You don't want any income or expense unaccounted for if you are keen on improving your financial situation.
Read Also: Money Mastery: How to Use the Cash-only Budget
Developing the financial acumen needed to monitor your finances is not an uphill task. It just requires some discipline and commitment. This list is by no means exhaustive and you may want to explore other apps and tools that will help in achieving the desired objective.
Apple’s app store and Android’s Google Play have a variety of apps that you can download for free. Simply use the keywords finance or money management and you will have a vast variety to choose from.