5 Reasons Budgeting Apps Don’t Work For Most People

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Can we all agree that one of the secrets to achieving financial independence is figuring out a way to spend less than you make? OK, good. Then why aren’t more of us better at it? Credit card debt levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Clearly, finding a way to budget is a bit of a holy grail for many people.

The thing is, there is no perfect way to track or control spending. The way people make spending decisions varies as much as the number of ways to order at Starbucks so as a financial coach, I’m always on the look-out for new ways to make it simple and painless. In other words, I’m in search of the My Fitness Pal for money.

However, I’m not so sure an app is what’s going to move the needle. In fact, using a screen to make financial decisions may actually promote bad behavior. How many times has a notification popped up that lead to you filling a digital cart? Here’s why I think we need to stop trying to find the perfect app and instead master the pen and paper or spreadsheet way of tracking money:

1. It’s too easy to ignore. If I had a dollar for every person that confessed that they tried Mint, but eventually the text alerts and notifications started driving them crazy, I could afford a personal chef. Yes, money apps can help you set alerts to notify you when you’re coming close to overspending, but they can easily get lost in the myriad of more fun notifications that already flood your screen. Just nagging isn’t enough to actually keep money in your account.

2. You still have to actually maintain it. No software is perfect. So even if you are able to effectively link your apps to all of your accounts for an accurate look at where you are, you still need to log in regularly to make sure it is categorizing correctly.

If you’re trying to track spending on dining out and booze, you have to go in and make sure it doesn’t think your liquor store is a grocery store (that happened), and what happens when you buy wine while grocery shopping or if your restaurant lunch is actually reimbursed by work? You have to manually fix that stuff, and if you don’t do it regularly, it will become too much. You might as well use that time maintaining a spreadsheet.

3. My Fitness Pal doesn’t actually stop the chips from going in my mouth. You can have your phone tell you six ways ‘til Sunday that you’ve blown your calorie allotment for the day before you even get to dinner, but unless I’m in the first four days or so of tracking, I’m probably still going to eat before I go to bed. Financial apps work the same way. They give you the data, but only you can take that next step of keeping the money in your account.

4. My brain is changing and I don’t like it. I do think I’m addicted to my iPhone. My compulsion to check email when I’m already feeling overwhelmed with tasks is constant, even when I don’t actually want to be working.

I’ve also noticed that it’s become totally socially acceptable to be texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, etc. while hanging out with friends. I hate that! Adding financial management to my phone just exacerbates the problem. So I’m putting the phone down and I think you should too.

5. We notice what we pay attention to. When I purchased my Mini Cooper, “Sheldon”, I was excited about the white racing stripes that I thought made him unique. Then I started to notice how many other electric blue Mini Coopers had white racing stripes.

Was there a sudden surge in the popularity of this style? No. I just started noticing it.

The same thing goes for your money. I started tracking my net worth on a monthly basis a couple of years ago. Nothing complicated – I just list all my accounts and about the same time each month, I add a new column with their current balances.

I love watching the amount grow in my 401(k) while seeing the value decrease on my car loan. And I LOVE putting a big fat zero down in the student loan line these days! This is a great way for me to make sure I’m checking in on my money at least monthly and it is fun to watch my net worth slowly but steadily increase. Try it and see if it doesn’t also get you starting to track other things like how much you spent the previous month on carry-out dinners.

There is one thing I think you can use your phone to help with and that’s checking your bank account daily. Every morning when you’re doing that first check to see what you missed on social media, add in a quick check of your bank account to see if anything funky posted overnight. This can save you from expensive overdrafts and help you catch fraud much sooner.

[“Source-forbes”]

This is the most Instagrammed place in the world

The happiest place on Earth is also the most highly Instagrammed place on Earth.

Pics or it didn’t happen! The list of the world’s most Instagrammed places is out, providing a pretty clear vista on the places most people are traveling to, or the places most worthy of a #gram.

Of the top 20 most Instagrammed places worldwide, 12 are in the United States, according to a study by TravelBird. France and Germany tie for second, with each home to two different places showing up on the “Top 20 Most Instagrammed Places” list.

Instagram, a unit of Facebook FB, -0.13%  , announced at the end of April that it had doubled its user base to 700 million monthly active users in two years; 88.48 million of those users are from the United States, while Russia comes in second place, providing 27.52 million members of the Instagram user base.

This list, of course, might also be viewed as an indicator of where narcissists are traveling. According to a survey of 3,700 college students by LendEdu, 64% of millennials say Instagram is the most narcissistic social-media platform.

“With just a few filters, a little saturation, and a clever caption, social media can make even the most average Joe look like an esteemed socialite,” the LendEdu study noted. “They use these platforms to boast of their daily tidings, carefully craft their public image, and feed their egos in this interconnected digital age.”

The list ranges from the historic, including, in Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, to the adventurous, with national parks and lush beaches. Of course, Disney’s DIS, -2.15% theme parks make multiple appearances on the list.

Here are the 20 most Instagrammed places in the world:

20. Empire State Building in New York City

Number of Instagram tags: 1,536,186

19. Myrtle Beach in South Carolina

Number of Instagram tags: 1,602,759

18. Yosemite National Park in California

Number of Instagram tags: 1,733,680

17. The Colosseum in Rome

Number of Instagram tags: 1,752,045

16. Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Number of Instagram tags: 1,808,173

15. Waikiki, Hawaii

Number of Instagram tags: 1,939,768

14. The Grand Canyon

Number of Instagram tags: 1,989,316

13. Valle Sagrado (Machu Picchu) in Peru

Number of Instagram tags: 2,195,108

12. Niagara Falls

Number of Instagram tags: 2,198,459

11. Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Number of Instagram tags: 2,202,256

10. Oktoberfest in Bavaria

Number of Instagram tags: 2,262,885

9. Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

Number of Instagram tags: 2,517,129

8. Times Square in Manhattan

Number of Instagram tags: 2,517,129

7. Big Ben in London

Number of Instagram tags: 2,561,617

6. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, USA

Number of Instagram tags: 3,653,548

5. Berlin Wal in Germany

Number of Instagram tags: 4,595,501

4. South Beach in Miami

Number of Instagram tags: 4,689,396

3. Walt Disney World in Florida

Number of Instagram tags: 5,465,098

2. Eiffel Tower in Paris

Number of Instagram tags: 7,253,011

1. Disneyland in California

Number of Instagram tags: 14,615,952

Apple Products, Phablets Top List of Most Popular Mobile Devices This Holiday Season

Apple Devices and Phablets Were the Best Selling Mobile Tech During the 2016 Holidays

Post-holiday season, you’re most likely to find traffic to your site or eCommerce store coming from Apple devices or phablets– if any brand.

That’s because both Apple devices and, more generally, phablets were among the top gifted mobile devices this holiday season.

Best Selling Mobile Tech During the 2016 Holidays

Apple Devices and Phablets Were the Flavors of the Holiday Season

According to a report by mobile analytics company Flurry, 44 percent of new phone and tablet activations were Apple devices this year in the week leading up to Christmas and Chanuka. The report also looks at app activation for the major devices to reach its conclusions. In comparison, 21 percent of new activations were on Samsung devices, up one percent from last year.

Phablet devices also continued to increase their holiday share, eating away at the market for medium phones, the report said.

Huawei, LG Gain Momentum While Google Loses Ground

Other manufacturers that made it to the list include Huawei and LG. That’s surprising because both manufacturers do not have any individual device within the top 35 devices activated.

Not surprisingly, Google Pixel is missing from the list. With just two new devices, the Pixel and Pixel XL, and mixed response from the market, Google has so far struggled to make an impression with holiday sales. That’s judging from activations leading up to the holidays alone.

Businesses Must Keep an Eye on Apple

So what does all this mean for your business? Well, in addition to the fact that many of your customers and clients may be using Apple mobile products, there’s also the question of what to consider for your own next business mobile device.

Here are some of the main features of Apple’s iOS 10 for you to consider.

First, the operating system comes with comprehensive privacy and advanced security features. So customers may be able to significantly curtail the amount of their data available when visiting your online store or other site. And that should be a consideration when creating your marketing plan.

From the perspective of using a device for business, Apple’s multilingual typing feature could be a great tool to reach international customers.

Meanwile, popularity of larger phablets over smaller phones of any brand means larger screens to better view and interact with apps and mobile sites so keep this in mind when updating both for your business.

iPhone 7 Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Google Surpasses Apple to Become the Most Valuable Brand in the World: Report

Google Surpasses Apple to Become the Most Valuable Brand in the World: Report
HIGHLIGHTS
Apple loses its throne after five years
Google gave the top spot to Apple in 2012
Apple’s lack of innovation is being blamed
Breaking Apple’s five-year record, Google has taken the top spot as the most valuable brand in the world. In the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report, Apple comes in second, followed by Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Verizon, Walmart, Facebook, and ICBC.

Brand Finance’s analysts feel that Apple has “over-exploited the goodwill of its customers” and has “repeatedly disillusioned its advocates with tweaks when material changes were expected.” Here the report is talking about the minimal changes introduced on iPhone devices year after year. Furthermore, the report says that “the snaking queues of early adopters have shrunk almost to the point of invisibility,” and that “Apple’s loss has been Google’s gain.” Google has been given a brand value of $109.47 billion (roughly Rs. Rs. 7,36,016 crores), compared to Apple’s $107.141 billion (roughly Rs. 7,20,294 crores)

“Put simply, Apple has over-exploited the goodwill of its customers, it has failed to generate significant revenues from newer products such as the Apple Watch and cannot demonstrate that genuinely innovative technologies desired by consumers are in the pipeline. Its brand has lost its lustre and must now compete on an increasingly level playing field not just with traditional rival Samsung, but a slew of Chinese brands such as Huawei and OnePlus in the smartphone market, Apple’s key source of
profitability,” the report reads.
Google held the world’s most valuable brand title in 2011, and has now regained it back. Most of the credit is gone to its Search business, which largely remains unchallenged, and is the mainstay of its advertising income. The report states that the “ad revenues were up 20 percent in 2016, despite a fall in cost per click, as ad budgets are increasingly directed online. Desktop advertising remains far more lucrative than mobile, despite its prematurely diagnosed decline.” Furthermore, 2016 marks Google’s foray into the mainstream smartphone market as well – with the launch of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, which according to the report have received great sales figures.

Right after Apple, Amazon took the third spot with 53 percent brand value growth. The analysts feel that the “firm is growing strongly as it continues to both reshape the retail market and to capture an ever larger share of it.” In its latest earnings report, Amazon has stated it will create 100,000 jobs in the US over the next 18 months. With this growth confidence, the analysts feel that Amazon could well be on the top spot next year. Even social giant Facebook found a spot in the top 10, and secured the 9th position with an 82 percent brand value growth.

Tags: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, Brand Finance

[“Source-Gadgets”]