How is technology changing our money habits?
Technology's not the only things that's evolving. With ever-more-advanced electronic wizardry placing more and more computing power at our disposal at home, at work and out & about, the way we handle our money's evolving too – and not always for the better.
So how does technology influence our everyday money habits?
For the better…
(The stuff that's fun to reflect on – the ways technology's helping us use our money more wisely.)
Stay up to date on the go
Whether it's SMS updates or full-on mobile internet banking, never underestimate the power of up-to-date information. Anytime, anywhere – it's comforting to know what's in your bank account, what's earmarked for important bills and what's available to spend. This is a huge help when you're in the shops and wondering whether you can afford that 'must-have' product you're longing for.
Budgeting - there's an app for that
Of course, that information's bound to be more useful if you budget properly, so take advantage of one of the many budgeting apps out there. It'll help you tie down exactly when the money's coming in as well as where it's going. This should make it far easier to figure out the most logical times to arrange Direct Debits – and see whether you can afford to pay for things like insurance in one lump sum per year, getting you a discount on the price.
Check it online – in the shop
Remember the days of trudging around multiple shops to see what's out there before you buy? Today's online pricecheckers (and smartphones, of course) make it easy to find the best price. And if you're wondering whether a game / camera / phone really is your cup of tea, all those online reviews should let you get a flavour – without even leaving the shop.
Learn from others
Of course, a lot of this is the evolution of a trend that started when the internet first became popular - but these days the internet's in our pockets.
So if you're looking to improve your money-management skills, you'll find a million advice sites out there. And these days, you can read them on the bus…
…and for the worse
Not wishing to end on a pessimistic note: beware of the downsides of technology.
You might have to spend money to save money, but is there any point saving the pennies if you're splashing far more than you can afford on the latest all-singing, all-dancing phone? All that high-tech wizardry can be seriously tempting, but the next time you're renewing your phone contract, ask yourself whether a more modest model would still bring you all the benefits - at a fraction of the cost.
For more on technology and how it's affecting our money habits, check out Allaboutmoney.com and see what their recent research discovered.