The device in your pocket is a pretty powerful life tool, but most of us do not use it to its full potential. Although, like a traditional phone it can connect us to those near and far (more so than ever), it can also help you to make and meet financial and life goals. Whether you’re wanting to help reduce your environmental impact where you can, get organised- and your finances in order, we share our 10 favourite apps that can help.
This is a new one I am trying but finding it very helpful so far. If you’re wanting to create new daily habits, Habit Tracker can help you do it. Say for example, you want to drink more water, read more, check in with friends or family, a reminder to floss, you want to meet a particular fitness goal, to take time to check in with your mental health, get an earlier night 3 days a week, or reduce your sugar intake; you can choose from one of the example habits, or create your very own bespoke one and adjust the frequency, quantity, icons, and motivations to help you meet that goal. To get the most out of this app, we’d recommend:
- Ensuring your phone is always on loud- you’re more likely to look at and take the action if you hear the notification, not just see it (that’s insight from personal experience).
- Check in twice a day to see what goals you’ve achieved and what is still outstanding.
- Really consider the motivations- why are you setting this habit and what will encourage you to do it? This is the message you’ll see pop up when you get your notification and should be your driver to do it.
- Review and adjust your goals frequently- see what’s working and not and adjust to help you keep on track.
If sustainability is a personal goal of yours, the next two apps are a must.
Impact Score allows you to see how sustainable the products and companies you’re looking to buy at the supermarket. All you do is scan the barcode and you’ll be able to get an overview of the company’s behaviour in terms of paying UK tax, carbon emissions, gender pay gap, whether they pay a real fair wage living, whether this is a fat cat pay gap (are those on top earning significantly more than those on the ground) and payment practices.
In addition to the barcode scanner, you can also set your preferences on what sustainable practices are important to you and search for a company or brand you shop from and see how they fair in those areas.
You may be incredibly surprised by the responses. Thankfully, the app can also help you to make more sustainable choices; they’ll make recommendations for companies and brands that are doing better for their people and the planet.
Good On You
When it comes to clothes shopping, take a look at Good On You. The fashion industry is full of flaws when it comes to sustainability and the environmental impact but there are brands that put these at the heart of their supply chain, people, and processes. Good On You have conducted the research to make shopping easier for you; you can find out about the processes they’ve got in place and what they’re doing to be more sustainable. You can also search for your favourite brands to see what they do well and what they can do to be better, helping you to make smarter and more sustainable choices when it comes to clothes.
Not everyone has access to Microsoft’s Excel or Word, which are really helpful products to keep life organised. However, it’s £20 you don’t need to spend, as, with your phone, everyone has access Google Sheets & Docs which is zero cost and simple to use and offering many of the same features.
We’d recommend downloading the Google Drive app which, not only gives you access to sheets & docs but gives you 15GB free storage. It’s easy from here to organise, create, edit, and share images, documents, and sheets.
With sheets you can create spreadsheets to help you budget and meet financial goals and targets. It’s also helpful for planning your holidays, weddings, itineraries, or a weekly schedule to keep the family on track.
Your banks app
If you don’t have mobile banking, it’s time to take the plunge. There is no need to be worried about security, there are tons of measures in place to help keep your funds safe. However, having the banking app is revolutionary; it’ll save any need to go into a branch anymore – as cheques can be scanned in via your phone, up to, generally £1,000 per cheque or up to £2,000 per day. If you pay in cheques, imagine the time saver this will be!
When it comes to making payments to new people, depending on the bank, you may use a card reader at home as an extra level of security, or, like most banks, they’ll run a check on the account you’re looking to pay to make sure it is who you think it is; this gives you peace of mind with each transaction.
Also, it’s a game changer when it comes to managing your finances. One of my recommendations for managing money is working from a current, and, what I call, a spending account. The current account is where you hold the money you have available for the month. You don’t carry the card and it’s where your money comes in, direct debits go out, and you move your money into savings and into your spending account as and when you need it. If you find it hard to keep track of finances, or working to a budget, this will really help you. Also, you can see your money in real-time and can always and easily see what’s coming and going and make quick and necessary adjustments.
Some new banks are coming to the market and are online only, meaning they can offer great competitive rates due to not having any expensive branches to maintain. They make it easy to do complex things such as open new account, create sub pots and identify what is coming in and going out. The have creative ways to help manage your spending habits with graphs and alerts and even offer some useful modern alternatives such as ‘split my bill’, if you’re out for dinner with friends.
Free fitness, whenever, wherever. Whether you’re looking for a 5-minute stretch routine or are new exercise class, you’re sure to find something you’re willing to try and I’m sure you’ll find something you love.
I love FitOn for its bright colours, enthusiastic trainers, variation in the programme and the variety available for different fitness levels and the length of time you have available. Give it a try, you literally have nothing to lose.
Everyone has a rewards or loyalty scheme now but imagine trying to carry around all of those cards at once- if you do, you’ll know your wallet or back is weighed down from it all. Or you’d only carry a few core ones that you’d inevitably end up missing out on points or offers or would you’d forget you even had the one you needed on you. That’s a thing of the past now with Stocard. It’s so simple to set up too- you simply search for the retailer, scan your membership card and voila, you’re ready to shop and earn points and see any offers on the go.
Free music for all! Yeah, there will be some limitations – like you can’t skip songs all the time, you’ll have to listen to some ads, and some music will be off-limits, but it’s still access to millions of songs, albums, and playlists for nought. If you need to save a bit of money, you could cancel Amazon Prime or Apple Music and get music for free this way (and get the free space using the Google Drive app too!). Download Spotify for Android and Apple.
Not only is the Sleep Cycle app good at tracking your sleep and provide tips on how you can improve sleep duration and quality but it has a number of other features, for free, that can help you de-stress, unwind, and drift off to sleep with ease- we particularly love the muscle relaxation and meditation guides, stories, and sounds. The added benefit of this app is it can determine the best and most gentle way to wake you, ensuring you’ll feel your absolute best for the day ahead.