Track Your Spending with These Apps

Personal finance is difficult to keep track of, especially for people who are constantly busy. When you’re always running around, the small things you spend money on tend to add up. Even though an individual expense may seem inconsequential at any given time, it is most beneficial to keep track of all such expenses so you can plan your budget accordingly each month. Thankfully, there are many personal finance phone applications to help you keep track of everything you put your money toward. Below are three that I have found to be most useful.


This app integrates all of the expenses you record into a calendar so you know exactly when you spent what. Not only does it keep track of when you spend your money, but it also calculates directly the impact on your checking balance. However, it does not link to your bank accounts, so it is best to check bank accounts regularly as well for any discrepancies.


This is an app whose sole purpose is to help you budget. Remember the times when people kept envelopes of all their spending in specific categories? This is just that, except in digital form. You can create categories and set a budget for each. Whenever you make a purchase, just mark it in its designated category, and be sure to stop spending money when said category runs out.


Penny has labeled itself as a personal finance coach for good reason. It is an app that links to your bank accounts and sends you personalized text messages based on your balance often. Not only will it inform you how much is in your balance, it will also provide you with charts and graphics that can help you see your spending habits visually.

For more information on apps that help you track your daily spending, check out this Forbes article.

Visa Launches Financial Literacy Initiative for Olympians – and More?

My previous posts on this blog have focused on the importance of teaching children about money management from a very young age (three years old, to be exact – find out why here). Something I haven’t really touched on yet, though, is the fact that most adults, both here in the US and around the world, have never received a financial education like the one I’ve outlined, and are thus financially illiterate themselves. For proof, just look at the US subprime mortgage crisis, which likely would not have happened if more people had known how to manage their money responsibly, or how to determine if a potential investment had integrity before they signed their life savings away on the dotted line.

Erica Hill Keller Williams

Does a new Visa initiative represent the start of a global push to increase financial literacy? Only time will tell – but we can hope so.

The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), an important organization that I’ve mentioned before on this website, has created a National Financial Literacy Test to find out just how financially illiterate each generation of Americans is in 2016. The test was originally designed for 15-18 year olds, but it has been administered to US residents of all ages, and quite frankly, the results are troubling, to say the least. This is mostly because the data shows no marked difference between the financial literacy of older Americans and that of our school-aged children, which shows that we are still not making enough of a concerted effort to teach our children about finance. We can see this quite clearly when we compare the average test scores of 10-14 year olds with the average scores of 25- 35 year olds, 36-50 year olds, and 50+ year olds. The average 10-14 year old scores a 54% on the NFEC Financial Literacy test; this is unsurprising, though disheartening, because this age demographic has yet to worry about their own personal finances the way they will when they get a few years older. Still, the average 25-35 year old only scores a 72% on the test, less than twenty percentage points higher than their younger counterparts – and the results aren’t much better in older Americans. Amongst 36-50 year olds, the average score is 73%, and in 50+ year olds, who perform the best on the test of any age group, the average score is still only a 77%. I’ll remind you again that this test was created for 15-18 year olds – scary, isn’t it?

This is why I was so excited to hear about Visa’s new Global Financial Education Initiative for Olympic athletes, which they’re debuting at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio. According to an August 4th press release, “The new program, Practical Money Skills for Athletes, will utilize Visa’s award-winning financial education program and curriculum focused on key personal finance topics including financial planning and decision making, goal-setting, budgeting and saving, understanding banking services, and basic money management. Financial education workshops for athletes will initially be available in English, French, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese, and will feature presentations, skill-building activities and multi-media components.” What great news – and what a great idea for a program!

I can already think of so many different and valuable ways that an initiative like this one could be expanded on and adapted to teach people of all ages how to manage their money. I hope that this Visa program represents the start of a global push for financial literacy – but in the meantime, not to fear: I’ll still be here, posting about different ways that you can take your financial education (and that of your children) into your own hands.

How to Start Teaching Your Toddler About Money Management

In my most recent blog post, I wrote about how much I love the curriculum that the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) has developed for teaching money management skills to children. After researching this topic even more, I was inspired to create a new video series about strategies for teaching financial skills to kids, starting with toddlers – so without further adieu, here is the first installment of my new series: How to Start Teaching Your Toddler About Money Management. Please feel free to share it with anyone who may benefit from this knowledge, and stay tuned for more installations to come!