Using Technology for Better Money Management

Using Technology for Better Money Management


The less tech-savvy, which includes many seniors, often find it challenging to learn how to use new technology. According to a survey by Chapman University, 15% of Americans are afraid or very afraid of technology they don’t understand. However, facing these fears and taking on the challenge of learning to make technology work for you can lead to huge rewards, especially when it comes to money management. Even the least tech savvy among us can use money management technology to save time, money, and feel a sense of empowerment and control over our finances.

A New World of Opportunity

In the past, managing your money was limited to methods like having a close relationship with your local bank and speaking with a professional who invested your money into stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. While these traditional money management methods are still valuable, technology offers many more options that will allow you to take better charge of your finances.

This does not mean that you should abandon traditional money managing habits. These methods have proven their worth by withstanding the test of time. Instead, we recommend combining these techniques and habits with the many advantages of modern technology to get the most out of your money. This guide will help get you started.

Building a Foundation

You may be wondering what you’ll need to get started. In our opinion, there are only three tools that we consider essential:

  1. Connection to the Internet
  2. Computer / Laptop
  3. Smartphone

You won’t need the latest and greatest gadgets, anything that works and get the job done will do just fine.


The Internet will connect you to the various applications and software that we’ll describe below; the computer will allow you to the perform the more time and labor intensive tasks; the smartphone will give you the ability to manage your finances on the go.

Budgeting Made Easy


No matter who you are, sticking to a budget is a great way to manage expenses. It’s especially important for seniors who are retired and living on a fixed income, but anyone can benefit from figuring out where the money is being spent each month and learning how spend it more efficiently. Budgeting can help you increase your savings, avoid going into debt, and afford things like travel that you may not have thought possible.

This is why sticking to a monthly budget is very important. With a plethora of sophisticated yet easy to use online budgeting software, it’s easier than ever before to watch your expenses and balance them against your income. Rather than trying to balance your checkbook the old-fashioned way, using budgeting software can simplify the process for you while also giving you a more effective means of managing your money.

There are many good options to choose from, ranging from free applications supported by advertising to software that comes with a monthly or annual fee. If you do most of your spending on credit / debit cards, you will find online budgeting incredibly convenient as the software will automatically download your transactions and attempt to categorize them for you. If you mostly use cash, you will need to do a little extra work and create these transactions, but it’s a simple process. Most budgeting software will also sync with your bank accounts, giving you an instant snapshot of your financial situation.

Here are a few popular options:


Price: Free (ad supported)

Best for: Keeping track of what you spend

Get started:

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Price: One month free, then about $85 per year

Best for: Zero based budgeting

Get started:


Price: First month free, then $4-$59 per month depending on the plan

Best for: Envelope based budgeting

Get started:


Price: $35-$65 per month depending on the plan

Best for: Having lots of features and options

Get started:

Getting Acquainted with A Smartphone


While having a computer or laptop is a must for anyone interested in using technology to manage their money, having a smartphone is equally important. Smartphones enable you to do just about anything that you can do on a laptop, with the primary difference being that you can carry your phone around in your pocket. This allows you to make use of all of the technology that is going to be covered here no matter where you are. You’ll always have the ability to sign into an account and monitor your money, whether you are traveling, running errands, or just visiting friends.

Taking Control with Online Banking

It’s always good to have a strong relationship with the staff and management at your bank; supplementing that relationship with the powerful online banking tools that are now available is even better. Online banking gives you access to your accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The biggest benefit of online banking is that it is mobile. This is especially beneficial if you’re a frequent traveler. While it may be more personable to sit down and talk with a banker in person, when you are on the other side of the country that’s not exactly a feasible option. Now, you can have the best of both worlds. You can still enjoy a personal relationship with your banker, but you can also use online banking to access your accounts whenever you don’t have the ability to physically go to the bank.

Additionally, online banking can help provide you with security and peace of mind. While it’s unfortunate that there are many criminals out there that are more than willing to commit fraud to get to your money, this is simply the reality of the world that we live in now. You can help to combat this by being proactive and keeping an eye on your bank accounts, and online banking makes this easy. You can monitor transactions, which will enable you to spot anything suspicious that pops up. In fact, most banks will send you text messages or emails to alert you of transactions they believe to be fraudulent.

Each year, J.D. Power conducts a survey of the banks with the best online banking & mobile apps. The study measures “overall satisfaction with mobile banking and credit card applications based on five factors: ease of navigation; appearance; clarity of information; range of services; and availability of key information.”

Here are the most recent rankings:

  1. Capital One, Score of 870/1000
  2. Bank of America, Score of 865/1000
  3. TD Bank, Score of 860/1000
  4. U.S. Bank, Score of 859/1000
  5. BB&T, Score of 852/1000

Set Up Automatic Bill Payments

For most people, the prospect of sitting down each month and paying all of their bills is tedious at best. Even if you already use online bill payments to take care of your financial commitments, it’s still a boring process. Luckily there’s a way to simplify things – automatic bill payments.

With automatic bill payment, you visit the website of the company you make payments to and set up a prearranged payment date each month that works for you. After that simple step your payments will be made every month on your behalf.

Not only will this save you a lot of time, it’s also a great way to avoid accidentally forgetting to make a payment again. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there – you knew you had a payment to make and it slipped your mind. By the time it pops back into your mind, you’ve missed the due date and the company you needed to pay has been more than happy to charge you a late fee. In the case of credit cards, they will often penalize you twice by increasing your interest rate as well. There’s no need to deal with this aggravation and wasted money – setting up online bill payments is so easy and convenient that you’ll wish you discovered it years ago.

Save Time and Money with Online Shopping

You can greatly improve your financial situation by investing your money and putting it to work for you. You can further improve your financial health by saving money on the things you buy – after all, a penny saved is a penny earned! Online shopping is one of the easiest, most convenient ways to save money. Today, you can shop for just about everything online and have it delivered to your front door, often without paying for shipping. The biggest benefit is that it allows you to compare prices and ensure that you are getting the best deal possible. No wasting time and gas driving from store to store. Instead, just go online, look around at different purchasing options, and place your order.

Online shopping is another example of where using a smartphone can simplify things even further. Many retailers offer apps that you can install to make shopping easier. Many of those apps allow you to easily order items that you have already ordered in the past, or to set up a recurring order for things that you know you are going to need. Never run out of toothpaste again! There are also apps like ShopSavvy to help you instantly compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal.

Online shopping saves you time, saves you gas money, and it helps you get the best price on your purchases. What’s not to love?

Take Advantage of Using A Digital Wallet


What is a digital wallet? It’s just a fancy term for using an app to turn your smartphone into a means of payment. Examples include Apple Pay and Chase Pay, both of which are accepted by many retailers. Set up is easy – you connect a credit or debit card to the app one time, often by taking a picture of the card. When you’re shopping, you pay for a transaction by holding your phone up to a pin pad and wait for your phone to tell you that the payment is complete. It’s simple, easy, and even kind of fun.

You may be worried about what happens if your phone is lost or stolen; you can largely mitigate this risk with a strong password. Higher-end smartphones use even more sophisticated security measures like facial recognition and fingerprints. In some ways, using a digital wallet is actually a more secure means of carrying your money and paying for purchases than using a traditional wallet.

Learn to Embrace Technology When It Can Help You


Technology can be scary for those of us who aren’t very tech savvy. Anyone who didn’t grow up using a computer are likely to find technology even more intimidating. However, just because you feel a bit intimidated now doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to embrace technology and successfully use it to improve your financial health.

You don’t even have to immediately plunge into the deep waters; you can, and actually should, start out slowly. If you don’t own a computer, buy one. If you don’t use it regularly, start there. The same goes for smartphones. From there, you can branch out and begin to learn about and incorporate a few of our suggestions that can help you to manage your money more effectively.

If you learn how to use technology to more effectively manage your money, you’ll likely find yourself with a newfound sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Technology is not your enemy here; it’s a powerful tool that can really make a positive impact in your financial well-being. You’ll likely never become an expert, and some of your fears may remain, but the chances are good that you’ll make your life easier and save yourself some money. And once you get started you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!