Your Phone and Your Money

Is your phone helping you manage your finances or is it disrupting your saving cycle?

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When the mobile phone was just used for making and receiving calls, life was different. It was just for connecting people, as Nokia’s slogan (Nokia, Connecting People) would later attest. People were concerned with the phone’s clarity of its speakers, its connectivity to the prevailing networks, and its resistance to breakages. But as they say, the only constant thing is change. A decade into the 21st century, life changed when the internet was adopted and its usefulness tasted by many. Fast forward, the operating systems of the phones have become the battleground for phone manufacturers, making the software appealing and enhancing the user experience.

The user experience was magnified by the introduction of open operating systems such Android that gave the platform to application developers to flex their creativity. This did not leave out the financial institutions, which also changed their slogans to match the changes that were sweeping across the world, the changes that the mobile phone was helping spread.

Financial institutions have not been left out of this rush. They, too, joined the rest by announcing their presence on different platforms associated with the mobile. In collaboration with Mobile Network Operators, financial institutions have made it possible to access your funds anytime, anywhere. With this access comes a higher sense of responsibility than ever before. Without this responsibility, you can easily slide into debts that you may find difficult coming out of. Effectively, the mobile phone is like your living wallet, with more features than your usual wallet or purse.

Mobile money transfer, which is text-based, has been lauded as one of the best enablers of financial inclusion. In Kenya today, every mobile network service provider has pushed its own version of mobile money transfer, with M-Pesa coming out as the most successful platform.

So, how do these new developments influence your financial management strategies? With USSD procedures at your disposal, and money accessed as and when needed, new plans must be developed to contain your spending habits. Remember, payment of bills today is also done via the phone! The main difference between this method and others like the credit card is that this is accessible by anyone who has a phone and the only restriction on it is your balance in the account.

1. Download budget app.

As mentioned earlier, app developers have made it easier by developing budget planner applications that can help you budget on the go. The apps have templates where you key in your income vs expenditure figures, enabling you to keep track of your expenses and even diversify your income revenue streams. These apps are highly recommended.

2. Keep track of your text messages that indicate the balance after the transaction

These messages serve as a reminder, and to some extent, deterrence for your untamed expenditures. It is psychological. When your mind sees it, it believes. When you see that you are overspending through bills, then you can control it.

3. Have self-discipline

When you have your bank in your pocket, you need the self-discipline to manage how you spend. Avoid impulse buying and stick to your budget. Learn to differentiate between wants and needs and act accordingly.

Let the phone be a tool that will help you achieve your goals in terms of financial success and not an obstacle. If it becomes an obstacle, then don’t sign up for mobile money services and internet banking services. It is a tough decision, but a very necessary one.

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