Five apps to help you reach your money goals this year

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If your financial goals took a hit during the coronavirus crisis, you might be struggling to stay motivated.

Or maybe lockdown gave you a new perspective on life and you now have new goals to work towards.

Whatever you're saving up for, if willpower just isn't cutting it, these apps could help you reach your goals.

Nudge
COST: FREE
OS: IOS and Android

Nudge is the vision board of the 21st century.

The new app pairs clever technology with behavioural economics to encourage Aussies to save more money, more often.

Founder Andrew Wilson says the app is designed to challenge our natural tendency towards impulsiveness into a positive savings habit.

So how does it work?

First, you tell the app what you're saving up for - be it a Panigale or a trip to Paris - and how much it costs.

After uploading a photo of your goal, the app will send you occasional prompts to save an amount towards it.

Once you accept the prompt, money is transferred from your Australian bank account to your Nudge account.

According to the team behind Nudge, "The user can control the prompts in terms of frequency and average value, but the messages automatically customise based on their behaviour - follow through on the prompts and they'll receive encouragement; repeatedly ignore or decline them and they'll receive gentle prods to lift their game."

Remember the vision board?

The photo of your goal will be hidden by a grid of tiles, one of which is removed with each payment, as you get a step closer to your destination.

Streak
COST: $8
OS: iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.1 and up

Want to develop new habits in 2021 but worried about sticking it out? Streaks is the app for you.

It allows you to set up to 12 habits that you want to make or break, from flossing daily to giving up takeaway coffee, and extends your streak each day you complete a task.

The Apple Design Award-winning app can be customised to suit your tastes, allowing you to select from 78 colour themes, more than 600 task icons and how often a task should be completed. 
You can update the app from your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac, and view your task statistics to stay motivated.

At $8, Streak is on the pricey side for an app, but it could be worth it, especially if you're saving $4 a day on coffee.

Google Keep App
COST: Free 
OS: IOS and Android

Google has come a long way since it started as a search engine in 1997. There are Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive and more recently Google Meet.

You might also want to consider Google Keep, available as a standalone app but probably already installed on your phone or desktop as part Google Workspace (formerly G-suite).

It is a notepad app perfect for anyone working in a creative industry who likes the convenience of collaborating on the go using Google Workspace apps, including Google Classroom and YouTube. Everything from brainstorming ideas to uploading content online to archiving can all happen under one roof.

Keep allows you to log your scribbled notes, videos, audio files and photos under the one note file. It offers shortcuts like tagging and coloured labels to organise your ideas. Your notes are instantly saved directly to your Google Drive.

Top marks for its Google integration and ease of use.

Expensify
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)
OS: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up

Expensify lets you track your receipts for tax and personal expenses; submit your expenses to the office or accountant; collect receipts from your team or clients; or control your company's spending.

Use its SmartScan technology to capture a photo of your receipt and record it as a work expense or a transaction tool for your everyday spending.

Initially you get 25 free scans every month, and you can upgrade to unlimited scans for $6.99 per month. If you run your own business, expect charges to be $7-$13 per month (per individual) depending on your package.

If you get the Expensify Card you won't have to see a physical receipt again. Swipe it at the point of sale and you'll automatically get an e-receipt.

You could even have the expense sent straight to your company or accounting software. The card also works with your smartphone's contactless wallet.

YNAB
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)
OS: iOS 12.0 or later; Android 6.0 and up

If you would prefer not to share or link your personal banking details with a budgeting app, but still want to track your daily spending, then YNAB is a solid choice.

The US-based app only links personal banking details with US finance institutions, meaning you'll have to enter your budgeting information manually if you're using the app with Australian banks in mind.

One of the interesting features is real-time access to the app across multiple devices, so you can budget alongside family and friends easily.

Another YNAB feature is that it continually comes back to the business's "proven method", which is four budgeting rules: give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches and age your money.

The app is free for the first 34 days before in-app purchases begin. It also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the product.

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