Finance Tools

Useful Services, Websites and Ideas

There are a lot of tools, services and websites out there to help with personal finance. Some good, some bad. Here we give you the hitlist of the best tools we know in each category that have really helped us. Enjoy.

01. Bank Accounts

Bank Details Tracker Template

If you intent to open a few bank accounts, we recommend that you can download our free Little Debits Bank Account Tracker (opens in Google Sheets, pw: littledebits) so you can safely store your details. You can open it in any spreadsheet software, and don’t forget to change the password to your own.

Bank Account Aggregators

To monitor multiple bank accounts at once and see their balances, you may choose to sign up to a bank account aggregator such as:

  1. Money Dashboard – if you would like the option of your dashboard on both desktop browser and smartphone and lots of functionality
  2. Yolt – if you want a purely app-based experience on a smartphone, with better graphics and UI

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02. Credit Cards + Smart Spending

See Credit Cards + Smart Spending page for more details and guide

Credit Cards

See Credit Cards + Smart Spending page for more details and guide

  1. American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday – Main Spending Card
  2. Tandem Cashback – Backup Spending and Travel Card
  3. Bonus Card: Curve Debit – ‘Non-credit card credit card
  4. Alternatives –  good if you are unable to get the others, or have a preference for Tesco or Amazon as retailers:
Cashback Sites

See Credit Cards + Smart Spending page for more details and guide

1. Quidco Cashback

2. TopCashback

Smart Spending

See Credit Cards + Smart Spending page for more details and guide

  1. Crowdsourced deals – HotUKDeals, or it’s alternative LatestDeals.
  2. Price Comparison Sites –
  3. Amazon UK – using CamelCamelCamel to compare prices or view their Top Drops. Best alternative – Ebay.
  4. Dicount Codes, Vouchers, Coupons – most effective plan tends to be to simply Google ‘Discount Code’, ‘site you are looking to buy from’ and ‘current year’ together and see what pops up.
  5. Points Cards – generally it’s preferable to get cold, hard – usually digital – cash via cashback. Or if easy, us Tesco for Clubcard Points, or Sainsbury’s for Nectar Points (useful for ExpediaArgos and others).
  6. Store Cards – we mostly advise against store cards as they lock you in
  7. Free or Used – FreecycleGumtree or Ebay Local. For cars, Autotrader
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03. Budgeting & Planning

Budget Tools & Software

Whatever your situation, it’s usually beneficial to have a budget and stick to it so you can plan your future. Here are a few tools from basic to more

  1. Basic Template – The Money Advice Service has a great little budget tool to give you an initial idea of your incomings and outgoings
  2. Microsoft Money – if you prefer doing your accounts in a piece of desktop software, you can use the free piece of software from Microsoft, or simply create your own Excel spreadsheet.
  3. YNAB – for a more app based and professional approach, You Need A Budget is a great app which many swear by, but it does have a fee after the trial

Alternatively, if you use the following account aggregators, with all your accounts combined into one site you can also use their budgeting tools, plus they are free:

  1. Money Dashboard – if you would like the option of your dashboard on both desktop browser and smartphone and lots of functionality
  2. Yolt – if you want a purely app-based experience on a smartphone, with better graphics and UI

It is also worth noting, that there are also free budgeting tools in many of the FinTech bank accounts such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling, but that assumes you use those as your primary accounts. As our guides are testament to though, it is rarely the most beneficial way

Bills Aggregators

View all your bills in one place and get alerts for upcoming actions, such as when your contract is over or when to renew your vehicle tax. They include a lot, from your home bills and utilities, broadband and mobile, as well as car tax, insurance and MOT – plus they add more providers regularly.

Both are pretty similar but both don’t all have the same companies supported, so you might want to try both and see which is better for you:

  1. Onedox 
  2. Wonderbill

Bill Analysers

Billmonitor – analyses your mobile phone contract, checking if you are getting the best deal based on the data and features you used and other deals available.

Credit Scoring & Affordability

If you are intending to get a mortgage in the future, do any larger borrowing, or simply want to be in a good position if you do need any future financial products, it helps to be aware of your credit score.

The good thing is there are free tools to let you do this, each using a different credit score company and criteria. We’ve laid them out here, in the order that we feel they are most useful:

  1. MSE Credit Club – your Experian credit score out of 999, as well as credit card and loan affordability scores, things that are likely to be positive and negative on your file.
  2. ClearScore – your Equifax credit score out of 700, with similar ‘things you are doing well’and ‘things to improve’
  3. Noddle – your Callcredit credit score out of 710

Don’t be surprised if there is a high degree of variation between them, as they use different criteria to measure your score. Always be sure to take it with a pinch of salt, as your credit score isn’t everything, and should be seen as a tool to play the game rather than the game itself. Here are some examples of their pages:

MSE Credit Club Example

Clearscore Example

Noddle Example

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04. Travel: Forex Money, International Transfers and Comparison Sites

Best Travel Cards and Accounts
  1. Cards
    • TandemBest foreign purchases card; 0.5% cashback card on purchases at home and abroad (mobile only) with no fees on foreign exchange purchases. Cash withdrawal is free, but accrues interest at the point of withdrawal, so best to withdraw cash from an account below for cash unless you pay it off instantly
    • Halifax Clarityno fee card, no fees on spending abroad. Cash withdrawal is free, but accrues interest at the point of withdrawal, so best to withdraw cash from an account below for cash unless you pay it off instantly
  2. Accounts (Mobile Only FinTech App Banks)
    • Starling no fees on foreign exchange purchases, no fees on cash withdrawal (no limit)
    • Revolut – no fees on foreign exchange purchases, no fees on cash withdrawal (limit £200), can also hold different currencies on the app itself and fully functioning separate accounts in both Pounds (£) and Euro (€)
    • Monzo – no fees on foreign exchange purchases, no fees on cash withdrawal (limit £200)

*Remember to always pay in the local currency as these cards and accounts will almost always convert for cheaper than the £ rate when abroad.

Sending Money Abroad / International Forex Transfer

Our best picks for sending money abroad and transferring internationally are:

  1. Transferwise – fast and efficient, with low fees. Best all round for ease of set up and transfer, plus you can get paid in foreign currency using their borderless account and they do offer a debit card for cheap international purchases, but we still recommend Tandem as the best method for abroad spending for its cashback.
  2. WorldFirst – if you prefer to deal with a person they give you a manager, and if you ask they will match the rate of Transferwise
  3. WorldRemit – better for lesser known or less used currencies that may not be supported by the top two

Specific Alternatives

  • Revolut (app bank) the best for Euros (€) as you can open a euro account in app
  • Western Union – typically more expensive, but good if the recipient does not have access to online banking or a bank supported by the top 3 above. Check WorldRemit first, then use Western Union.

*Remember you can often get a Quidco bonus for signing up to these.

Travel Cost Comparison & Pricing Sites
  1. Flights and Hotels – ExpediaLastminuteKayak
    • Cheapest destinations and more innovative features – Kiwi
  2. Flights Only – Google FlightsMomondo or Skyscanner
  3. Travel Insurance 
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05. Useful Personal Finance Websites

Websites

There are many websites on Personal Finance – here we have tried to distill the few really useful ones:

  1. Reddit
  2. Money Advice Service great, impartial website set up by the government give people money advice on everything from budgeting to debt.
  3. Money Saving Expert (MSE) – the original, largest online resource for saving money on pretty much anything. The only downside is that it has become so big and wide reaching it has become somewhat overwhelming, but it is great if you are looking for something specific. Our particular favourites are:
    • Resolver – this fantastic free tool helps you make complaints, guiding you through the process with templates, creates a case file and helps you escalate if necessary.
    • MSE Credit Club – very useful free tool for getting and improving your credit score (covered in the Credit Score section)
    • The MSE Forum – a huge forum for pretty much anything personal finance related. We recommend using Reddit first for advice, this forum for anything else.
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05. Investment Websites & Ideas

Pension

TBA

Passive Investment

TBA

Active Investment

TBA

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