2016 brought many changes. I cleared my credit card debt and bought my first home. So far this year I have started buying apartment furniture, I have a holiday booked next month and my car…well it’s ready for a replacement. With all this going on I have had to start being more “Money smart”.
I have been exploring this topic a lot recently and have been playing around with a few different tools. From phone apps to budgets online – I’ve played with a bunch but none of them really fit the bill. I actually ended up on Sorted.org.nz and signed up. It is full of tools and they are all free but all highly effective to keep you, well, sorted.
Here are my five favorite tools which can help you to get sorted financially
The Sorted budgeting tool was very easy to use. I loved that it was all online. This meant that I had to dedicate time just to my finances. No distractions and if I needed to check in I could access it on my phone. It is important to track our money – seeing where it actually goes and how our spending compares to the budget.
For me it was the pie graph that stood out – living expenses accounted for 58% of my budgeted spending. This tool gave me a clear direction where to focus my efforts when it came to saving money and reducing costs.
The Goal Planner
I am big on having goals. First up is saving for my holiday in April and then in July I am moving into my apartment and will need savings for furniture. The Sorted Goal Planner helped me to identify these goals. It also prompted me to think about having an emergency fund – which I must say at 28, I have never had much of.
The other win for me on this Goal planner was that you could break it down. Short term, medium term, and long term. It then suggested tools to make this all happen, as well as useful guides.
If your goal was to pay off debt, for example, it had a debt calculator and suggested a few guides on getting out of debt fast.
The Debt Calculator
I get it, it’s kinda easy just to ignore that credit card right? WRONG. For me, the biggest turning point was understanding how much money I was losing via dumb debt. The Debt Calculator on Sorted is clear and concise and when you find out how much it’s costing you I know you will think twice about that second coffee.
The Savings Calculator
Once you are in the green and out of the red that’s when the fun begins, and it can get addictive. The savings calculator will help you work out how much you can achieve by saving and how quickly you can reach your goals. It also takes into account your current interest rate for your savings account.
What is great about the Sorted Savings Calculator is that it also does it the other way. So you can put in your goal and when you want to achieve it by and it will tell you what you need to set aside to reach this goal.
The Mortgage Calculator
As a first time homebuyer, I had a lot to learn. The Mortgage Calculator gave me a rough idea and kept me in check about how much I could actually borrow. However big or small the mortgage it’s still a process and I wanted to be sure I could handle the mortgage and still enjoy life as well.
There are even more tools around Kiwisaver etc and all of the tools you can save online. So my savings goals are there, my budgets, everything, they are there when I need them. There are also great articles that relate to whatever tool I am in at that time.
For me, I also love that they are free and straightforward.
Do you have a financial goal in place?
Image by Fabian Blank
If you liked this blog post you might wish to check out the following:
– Being Money Smart – My Tips for creating and Saving Money
– Four Things To Watch To Get You Thinking About Money Differently