Smart devices are everywhere, and many of them cost less than ever before. It’s never been easier to adjust your thermostat while away from home, find a five-minute ab workout or pick a recipe for tonight’s dinner from the grocery store.
But can wearables like the Apple Watch® and smart devices like the Amazon Echo™ or Google Home™ help you save money and stick to a budget? They can, and the money apps and tools they offer get better every day. Here are five ways you can use your smart devices to improve your finances.
Check on your savings and investments
Interact with your financial institution through Alexa™ on the Amazon Echo or through the Google Home. If your bank has created an Alexa skill, you can check your bank statement or credit card balance, pay bills, find out when bills are due, and more. You can also check on stock quotes and other investing news and send or request money through PayPal®.
Google Assistant™ has fewer connections to banks, but you can use it to locate nearby ATMs, calculate mortgage payments, send and request money through Google Pay™, and more.
Not every bank has partnered with Amazon Echo and Google Home, but more are looking for ways to connect more deeply with clients through these devices.
Track your spending
The same Alexa skills that let you check your bank statement can also help you see where your money goes. For example, if you use a Capital One® credit or debit card, the Capital One skill allows you to ask Alexa how much you spent at specific stores over a set period of time.
If you have the free Mint™ app for your iPhone®, you can pair it with your Apple Watch to track your account balances, spending, credit score, and net worth. It can also remind you to pay your bills by their due dates.
You Need A Budget™ is a paid budgeting tool with an Apple Watch app and an Alexa skill. You can track your expenses, debts, and budget goals on your watch, and ask Alexa for the balances remaining in your various spending categories (so you can know, for example, how much more you can spend at restaurants that month).
Stash coupons and loyalty cards in one place
Save precious wallet space and stop holding onto those 10 foot-long CVS receipts. Apps like Stocard© let you keep loyalty cards, and the points you earn by using them, in one convenient digital place. Spend loyalty points from the app when you save up enough. You can find coupons to those retailers on the app, too.
Avoid parking tickets
Nothing busts your transportation budget like unexpected expenses. While you can’t always anticipate a major car repair, you can use your wearables to prevent getting a parking ticket. Apps like PayByPhone Parking™ let you feed the parking meter from anywhere (with a credit card or Apple Pay) and see how much time you have left. Different cities have their own parking apps, so you may have to download them while traveling, but they’re much more convenient than lugging around change, running out to the meter every hour, and risking a parking ticket if you don’t.
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Fitness trackers and wearable tech
More and more people are starting to wear fitness devices that track their steps and live more active lifestyles. Sitting is the new smoking for this generation. Insurance companies are starting to leverage that data and financially reward certain customers who meet specific criteria. You may be able to lower your life insurance rate or receive an Amazon gift card from your health insurance provider just by getting in a certain number of steps per day.
Bottom Line: Embrace new technology and save
Smart devices aren’t just for turning on lights and wearables aren’t just for tracking fitness. This technology is powerful and can be a helpful ally in your quest to save money and keep better track of your finances.
Apple Pay, Apple Watch and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.
Alexa and Amazon Echo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
Google Assistant, Google Home and Google Pay are trademarks of Google LLC.
Capital One is a registered trademark of Capital One Financial Corp.
Mint is a trademark of Intuit, Inc.
PayPal is a registered trademark of PayPal Holdings, Inc.
You Need A Budget is a trademark of You Need A Budget LLC.
Stocard is a copyright of Stocard GmbH.
PayByPhone Parking is a trademark of trademarks of PayByPhone, Inc. or our affiliates.
Sophia Bera, CFP® is not your father’s financial planner. Her accolades include the “Top 40 Under 40” by Investment News and “10 of the Best Personal Finance Experts on Twitter.” She’s been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, CNBC, Huffington Post, LifeHacker, and more. When she’s not working from a coffee shop, you can find her eating a breakfast taco while listening to a podcast in Austin, Texas.
Haven Life Insurance Agency (Haven Life) does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or investment advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and investment advisors before engaging in any transaction.
Haven Life does not endorse the companies or offer the products, services and/or strategies discussed here.