Pastel My Money is the latest online money management tool to hit South Africa. Following on from sites such as www.moneysmart.co.za, www.22seven.com and Nedbank’s My Financial Life, Pastel My Money is a free online money tool that tracks your finances.
Its online application is available through your computer, tablet or smart phone, as long as there’s an internet connection. According to Steven Cohen, managing director of Softline Pastel the need for mobility is a reality in everyone’s lives which is why Pastel My Money had to be fully accessible on all devises.
Each profile allows up to three users and three households all at no cost, which means no monthly payment hassles or expensive installation fees.
As with other money management tools Pastel My Money provides an overview of all bank balances, transactions, and spending habits in one place. Spending categories and groups can tell the user whether they are spending money on essentials or splashing out on unnecessary items. This can be generated into a report tracking income versus expenses over time, which can be printed or emailed.
Pastel My Money also has an automatic bank feed which imports bank statements from an unlimited number of internet bank and credit card accounts, although you do have to pay R15 a month to use this technology. Alternatively you can capture your budget manually. Although the technology behind the money management sites is pretty safe, some people prefer to keep their bank access super safe and input manually.
Pastel My Money allows you to create a budget from scratch or base it on historical spending and track your spending against your budget each month. An interesting exercise would be to write down what you think you spend every month on each category and then compare that to your actual expenses. The surprise for most people is those “small” items you forget you spend your money on but which often clock up hundreds of rands a month.
A great feature is the ability to record your purchases using the phone application. You can automatically attach till slips to a transaction by taking a photo with a smartphone, or by scanning slips onto a computer. You simply take a photograph, go to the bank transaction in My Money and add the photo as an attachment.
This can help when you are going over your credit card statement at the end of the month trying to remember what exactly you spent your money on (and whether it was really worth it); but it is also useful for insurance purposes. The details of household contents can be recorded on the program, including where they were purchased, the purchase price, the replacement value and a photograph of each item.
Cohen says initially Pastel wanted to develop the software to help their clients manage their personal finances. “But because we’ve all been through the wringer and need as much help with our money management as we can get, Pastel has decided to make the program available to everyone,” says Cohen.
The free version is available on www.pastelmymoney.co.za
This article first appeared in City Press.