Here in 2014, it’s more difficult than ever to keep watch over your personal finances. With more ways to get credit, set up direct debits and standing orders than ever before, and contactless payment making it even simpler to spend a little bit here and a little bit there, it’s easy to see why people are falling behind in their personal finances.

Although the government is keen to show that the UK’s economy is growing and expanding, this isn’t the case for ordinary, hardworking people, who all around the country are feeling as though the economic plan for the country is not an economic plan to help them, but instead, to help the 1% in the City of London. Could this be one of the reasons people are more in debt now than they ever have been? Whether it is or not, we’ve come up with a plan to help you keep better watch of your personal finances.

Step 1: Acknowledge That Technology Is Your Friend

Although it might be the case that technology has facilitated all of the extra finance options and methods (mentioned above) that have potentially led to the complex nature of personal finance in the 21st century, technology can also help to rescue us from the mire of complicated spreadsheets that are our bank accounts.

If you’re not particularly tech savvy, then now is the time to be afraid of technology, as there are plenty of ways that you can put it to good use, helping you to budget better, save more, and avoid more debt.

Step 2: Stop Being Afraid of Internet Banking

The next step, if you’re not already doing it, is to bank online. Many younger people would find the idea of not banking online an enormous hassle, but there are plenty of people in the community who are not yet accustomed to doing all of their banking online. Instead, they prefer to do their banking in branch. Despite this, banking online actually simplifies your personal finances enormously, and soon, you’ll be doing everything on a computer screen in-branch too, so you may as well make the change now.

So why does banking online help you? Well, for a start it’s easy to see immediately what direct debits and standing orders you have, to whom, and the associated values. If you want to adjust a payment date, you can, and if you want to cancel something, you can. In addition, you can view your entire statement in one place, and you can even download it into a spreadsheet for you to look over and analyze.

Step 3: Make Your Life Easier with Apps

Last but by no means least; you can make your personal finances easier by downloading a range of financing apps for your phone. This will help you see where you’re spending your money, when and what on. The value of this data is that once you know your money-spending habits, you can then train yourself to be more careful with your cash.

This is the ultimate example of saving smarter, without having to save harder. In other words, you don’t need to cut down on every spending purchase to save money and manage your personal finances better, all you need to do is know precisely where your financial “problem areas” are, and this will allow you to minimize the damage.

If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to hunting down the best apps for the tracking your finances, this article by Different Money includes five of the best, meaning they’ve done all the hard work for you.

Ultimately then, although technology has significantly complicated our personal finances, we can also use it to make finance easier. Follow the above advice and learn how to keep a digital eye on your bank balance.