This post is in collaboration with Toshl Finance. All content has been generated by Femme Frugality, and opinions are 100% honest and my own.
A few years ago, I was at a conference for mothers. One of the speakers was the founder of a very large and very successful realty firm started here in Pittsburgh. This lady was bad-a, rocking the working mom gig back in the 70’s before it was cool.
Her words were inspiring, but also surprising. At a certain point in her talk, she told us how she did not envy us; how everything was a lot easier when she was going through what we were experiencing now.
How could this be in an age where women are more empowered today than they ever have been in US history?
As it turns out, she wasn’t talking about the difficulties of being a woman in business. She was talking about the difficulties of being a woman–specifically a mother–in the age of the internet.
I wasn’t sure what to think initially. Yes, we now have Instagram and email. But why did she think these things make life harder?
As she delved further into her talk, she explained that today, we have no time. Especially the mothers among us. We still carry the bulk of household responsibilities at home. Many of us work outside the home. And then there’s all this internet nonsense on top of it.
If you’re unlucky, your boss may expect you to be checking your inbox all weekend. While my mom sent out pictures of us once per year except on rare occasions to very close family members as was normal in the days of Windows 95, I get guilt tripped if I’m not emailing or uploading one of the thousands of pictures of my kids the day after I take them.
We connect with friends on apps rather than picking up the dang phone, and I can’t tell you the last time I was actually bored. There’s always so much to do, and I can and therefore feel obligated to do it from the convenience of my handheld computer–which is with me at almost all hours.
Oh, and on top of all of this, you’re supposed to manage your money well. Hit all the due dates. Don’t overspend. Always know how much is in your bank account. Optimize, optimize, optimize.
It’s overwhelming for a lot of us. And a lot of personal finance blogs and apps will teach you how to do a total overhaul all at once. It’s a time-consuming process, and we all know that time is something we have in short commodity.
It’s not just time-consuming; it’s also emotionally draining. To do a complete 180 on your finances overnight means killing bad habits. Learning new ones. And staying on top of it all in perpetuity.
If that sounds unrealistic to you, I have good news which I present with a spoonful of irony: there’s an app for that!
Toshl Encourages Better Money Habits Gradually
Toshl is a budgeting app. At first glance, it may not seem as robust as similar apps on the market, but don’t let that fool you. While some apps try to give you a money makeover in 24 hours, Toshl’s developers realized that changing your habits can be daunting and take some serious time.
That’s why they ease users into the process. If you’re a first-time budgeter, you’ll be able to start out just by building a budget. Once you get more comfortable with that, you’ll be able to track your spending by category. Got that down pat? Now try focusing on the categories where you routinely spend more than you should be, shaving your spending down so you can have a healthier financial life.
Because everyone’s needs and styles are different, Toshl offers three different plans:
The free plan contains the basics. You’ll manually enter your income and spending as you track up to two financial accounts via up to two budgets. (The ability to use multiple budgets makes this app great for couples who have separate finances or families.)
You’ll be able to export your data as a .CSV file.
With Toshl Pro, you’ll still be manually inputting your money data, but you’ll be able to set it up for unlimited financial accounts and establish unlimited budgets. You’ll also be able to export as not only .CSV, but also PDFs, Excel files, Google Drive files and Evernote.
On top of that, Toshl will start giving you graphs to help you plan your future spending, remind you about upcoming bills and payments, allow you to enter certain expenses as recurring, and let you upload pictures of your receipts.
Toshl Pro is $1.67/month.
Toshl Medici–Now in Canada!
Toshl Medici is the top tier plan. It includes everything Pro gives you, but it will also sync with your bank and credit card accounts so you don’t have to mess with the manual entry anymore. Super convenient–and only $4.33CAD/month or $3.33USD/month.
This plan has been available in the US, but I have great news for all you Canadian readers–it’s now available in Canada, too!
That’s right–you can now sync accounts from Canadian financial institutions, making your life less of a panic attack as you lay awake at night wondering if you actually logged all of those little purchases you made throughout the day.
Visualizing Your Money
Some of us are good with numbers. Others words. And yet others are visual learners.
That’s why these apps come with charts; they allow you to see where your money is going rather than giving you a list of digits.
The monthly overview chart gives you a big picture view of your money habits:
The river flow chart is super helpful, too. If you need another way to visualize how you’re doing on your budgeting goals, this option can definitely help:
While working on cutting back your spending, you can look at expenses charts, which will even allow you to group several line items together. For example, child #3 might be costing you money in diapers, daycare expenses and supplemental formula.
Open Up Space in Your Schedule
I’m a big fan of Toshl’s Medici option. It automatically tracks your spending and savings, notifies you of due dates, and helps you plan future spending with ease. When the app does the work, that frees up a good chunk of time in your schedule.
Just be sure you don’t spend all that extra time on Twitter scrolling through all the bad news du jour.
Use it to do something useful–like being bored.