By Amanda Morrall
Well, I've already told you about my Christmas boycott so it should be no surprise that I'm not producing a list of the best buys of anything in the lead up to the Xmas frenzy. For my tips on how to prevent a budget blow out you can check out the video above.
As per my traffic generating headline above, Amanda is not expecting any partridges, golden rings, pipers or any of that nonsense. If I'm lucky I'll spot a wayward Canadian goose in the wetlands when I go dog walking. I'll be pleased as punch.
For the thrifty and financially self-aware, here's five resources to fill your financial toolbox with or to gift to someone who needs some help getting their money in order.
1) Save the Change
You'll have to be an ASB customer for this one I'm afraid but Amanda loves the idea of an electronic piggy bank that rounds up your purchases (to an amount you nominate) and diverts the money into savings. It's a brilliant and painless way to save for a specific goal, be it next year's university tuition, a holiday, a deposit on a home or next year's Christmas presents to alleviate your guilt for this year's boycott. Cost to ASB customers: free.
2) Impulse Savings
Another nifty banking tool I like is Westpac's Impulse Saver app. This app makes saving as easy as hitting a button, literally. Once you have configured the amount you'd like to save, when the mood strikes you hit the little red button on your phone and "kahching", it transfers the money into your savings account. It may not have the same fun factor as Angry Birds but the rewards will be pretty sweet for those who get hooked on the savings habit and hit their target. Cost: free. Don't buy the iPhone on credit.
3) Investing app
I haven't had a chance to trial the new investing app from Forsyth Barr but I like the sound of it. Also available through iTunes, For Barr's custom designed app allows users to follow market movements as well as access research and reports produced by the brokerage house. Rather than compulsively checking Facebook, or Twitter, you can keep tabs on your favourite equities. This might be handy for those planning on investing in the upcoming SOE floats.
4) For the debt laden
Okay, this one ain't free but the $2 could be worth it. The "Pay off Debt" app allows you to organise all your debt in one place to see how long it will take to pay off at what rate of repayment and how much the real cost of borrowing is to you. Here's a helpful demo on how it works and why it can be effective. Here's another review by manvsdebt.com as well.
For those of you still working off a traditional personal finance platform (i.e. a computer), Kiwibank's Heaps budgeting software offers much of the functionality as those items above, except the investing part. Bonus,:Kiwibank doesn't discriminate against its competitors so it's free and available to anyone. Here's my interview with Kiwibank's John Scully who explains more about the features and how you can use this resource to take control of your money.
And here's some other unconventional ideas brought to you by the Canadian comic duo Bob and Doug McKenzie. Amanda will not be hanging beer on her tree this year but maybe one for Santa. Have a good day, eh!