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In the days before the internet, managing your money was something that could be both time consuming and difficult. Banks were only open during business hours and the concepts of telephone transactions or cashless payments were a distant dream. In the 21st century, things are very different. Whether you’re based in Vietnam, the Philippines or a western country such as the USA or Germany, money management is an area of life that has been streamlined, simplified and improved. Here’s Asteria’s guide to managing your money effectively in a 21st century world.

Always Use Online Banking

From balance checks to transfers, overdraft alerts to confirmations of purchases, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with online banking. Though some users have concerns about cybercrime and hackers accessing their sensitive information, all reputable banks and lenders are now legally obliged to incorporate robust, state of the art security measures that makes it more difficult than ever for criminals to get access to your hard-earned money. Additional features such as text alerts and automated limits also mean that you can detect any suspicious activity within your account as soon as it has taken place.

Consider A Budgeting App

If you have the time and patience for the old pen and paper method, or maybe even a standard spreadsheet, then great, but most people are way too busy for this approach to be effective. There are now a host of budgeting apps available, many of them free or very low cost. These programs are accessible on your smartphone, tablet or laptop and can be an absolute lifesaver when it comes to managing your money. They allow you to set spending limits, allocate specific funds for specific purposes and also to set up automatic alerts that advise you of any savings, overspends or other issues that you need to be aware of.

Keep Track of Your Digital Spending

Streaming services are arguably the number one cause of wasted money in 2019. The ubiquitous “free trial” offers can be difficult to cancel and as most people live busy, active lives, its very easy to forget what you signed up for. Always keep track of digital spending by setting up direct debits and transfers so that you know exactly when they are going to come out of your account. This way you can avoid nasty surprises and unexpected charges. Similarly, impulse buys and micropayments can eat into your monthly budget, so be mindful of when you’re spending a little here and there, as these kinds of purchases can quickly add up.

Set Limits for Daily Spending Money

Whether you prefer cash or contactless payments, having a little something in your pocket is a necessary party of everyday life for most people. For tourists in the Philippines, spending money is easier than ever. Though this is great for businesses, the rise of contactless payments and smaller organisations that can now accept card transactions means that a cheap lunch or a couple of drinks can quickly turn in to something a lot more extravagant. Always set limits when you’re allocating funds for impulse buys, meals out or other day to day spending such as travel.

Don’t Ditch Cash Completely

There’s a lot to be said for contactless payments and the rise of a cashless society. Pickpocketing and muggings are generally less frequent, and you also have instant, permanent record of any purchases you make. Unfortunately, there is a downside. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’ve paid for if you aren’t careful. Using a set amount of cash instead of relaying on cards or contactless technology means that you are forced to stick to a specific budget and you also know exactly how much you have to spend. This approach also means that you need to think ahead a little bit. If you are planning a day out, you can take out the amount of money you need from an ATM the day before so you can allocate what you have to cover everything you need.

Learn to Embrace Switch Culture

Even if you’ve been with them for 20 years, you don’t owe your bank anything but what you have borrowed. You certainly aren’t obliged to be loyal to them if you know that you can get a better deal from somebody else. In the 21st century, many banks now offer incentives and rewards for switching accounts. Some of them will even give you a small sum of cash as a way of saying thankyou for doing business with them. Though switching too often can have an adverse effect on your credit rating, always keep your eyes open for better offers, rather than sticking with the bank you know, simply because it’s the way you have always done things.

Don’t Be Afraid of Credit

The world’s economy is based on debt and this is no different when it comes to consumers. Though borrowing irresponsibly should always be avoided, never consider credit to be an inherently negative thing. For large purchases such as cars, electrical goods, wedding venue hire and other high value items, paying on credit is often the most sensible option. Responsible borrowing can actually boost your credit rating over time and in more practical terms, it can also help you to learn how to manage your money more effectively.

Shop Around and Compare

This is an overlooked tipped when it comes to 21st century money management. In an age where you can find the same product for up to half the price in certain stores, it definitely pays to be picky when it comes to choosing where to spend your money. Use online price comparison guides and look out for sale items whenever you can. You can even set up email alerts to let you know when certain products become available at a cheaper rate. If you’re shopping in physical stores, don’t be afraid to haggle. Though not all shops can do this, most businesses would prefer to make a sale than to see a customer walk away empty handed.

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