Being financially secure is important for everyone but military life brings challenges which can make money management particularly difficult, whether you’re new to the armed forces, move frequently or are deployed overseas.
Luckily, there are plenty of new technologies, such as mobile apps which can make things much simpler.
Here’s our roundup of the five best money management apps for military personnel and their families.
Money Dashboard cleverly keeps track of all your accounts in one place. You can see all your incomings and outgoings across all your current accounts, credit cards and savings accounts on one handy dashboard.
The app categorises most transactions by itself, and you can manually add the rest. It then groups similar transactions together and creates graphs and charts that let you see at a glance exactly where your money is going.
It comes with a budget planner which predicts how much cash you’re likely to have spare, making it easy to set up and track savings goals. Even better, the app is free for both Android and iOS users.
Squirrel is great for those who struggle with budgeting. It stops you from overspending by portioning out your money and drip-feeding it into your account as and when you need it.
To get started, you direct your income into a Barclays-held Squirrel account. Your income is then split into three segments – commitments (rent, bills or mortgage payments), savings and spending money. The app, which costs £3.99 per month, will then release money back into your bank account in time for when it’s needed – for example when a bill is due.
It will direct a portion of your money directly into a separate savings pot, so you won’t get a chance to spend it. Whatever’s left over – your spending money – is divided into weekly instalments and paid into your account at the start of each week. If you ever need more money unexpectedly, you can ask for extra to be transferred early.
Chip lets you save without even trying. When you sign up, you grant the app read-only access to your bank account. It then tracks your spending habits and works out how much you can afford to save without making a difference to your spending.
It puts that amount into a separate account held with Barclays. The account starts with a 0% interest rate, but this increases by 1% for every friend you refer (up to a maximum of 5%). You can choose to save more or less, cancel individual payments or pause your saving at any time.
Chip is free to use and is compatible with bank accounts held with NatWest, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, Santander, TSB, RBS, Metro Bank and Co-operative Bank.
Habito is an online mortgage adviser that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and real-life mortgage experts to offer advice.
The process starts with a chatbot, which explores your financial circumstances and preferences and then works out which mortgage will suit you best. It then uses real-time mortgage rates to calculate an indicative monthly payment, recommends a specific lender and product, and advises on how likely lenders are to accept your application.
Once you’ve been through this process with the chatbot, you’ll then be put in touch with a mortgage adviser, who’ll be on hand to help you as your application progresses. Although not technically an app, the service is designed to be used on your mobile and is free.