Aside from spending less money than we make, a wealth of factors determine the health of our personal finances. I’m not talking about credit scores and taking on debt as a means of demonstrating our responsibility. I’m referring to simple financial mindfulness as a means of improving not only our numbers but how we feel about those numbers.

Let’s discuss why having simple oversight makes all the difference in the trajectory of our personal finances.

Understanding Informs Action

Many people’s economic situations go unaddressed for years because they avoid the specifics of what they’re up against. Whether one’s issue is debt, wasteful spending—or both, progress can only come through first accepting the problem for what it is.

Knowing how much money you have to your name, how much you owe to different lenders (along with interest rates), and your overall debt sum will spell out your dilemma in clear terms. Likewise, evaluating your income against monthly spending gives you a long-term outlook based on your current behavior. Could you allocate more money toward your balances? Is your monthly spending at unsustainable levels? You won’t be motivated to take action unless you understand where your day-to-day decisions are taking you.

Visibility Equals Control

Understanding the state of your finances lays the foundation to set goals and keep motivation as you work towards them. But if you want to make fundamental changes in your financial life and get more value out of your money, having real-time visibility over all your accounts is imperative. After all, it’s one thing to want to spend money, quite another to actually do so consistently. Per CNBC, 55 million Americans have no emergency savings at all, leaving them vulnerable to all sorts of surprise expenses ranging from transportation and healthcare to job interruption. If you want to be like the 29 percent of Americans with at least six months of living expenses saved, you’ll need to gain control over where your money goes.

You may know you go out for coffee daily, but when you see that it’s costing you $100 per month, you’ll be more inclined to make your java at home. When you find that your cable television package sets you back over $1,000 per year and you hardly watch it, you’ll have an easier time cutting the cord. Of course, these are only examples. You’ll know when your spending alarm bells go off.

How Automated Tools Help

What we’re learning here is that curing sour personal finances is straightforward, but far from effortless. Facing the fears of how much we owe and spend regularly, and developing the discipline to make better decisions going forward, are significant hurdles to clear.

Thankfully the widespread choices in personal finance apps make it easier to both see the state of our finances and identify root spending areas to optimize. Integrating your accounts does the work of tracking all your activity and non-cash transactions.

However, budget planner apps like Clarity Money go a step further by analyzing spending behaviors and recommending ways to save money. Tools like these make it easy to terminate the $10/month recurring subscription you’ve been meaning to cancel because users see a notification that suggests precisely that.

If your financial outlook looks bleak, it’s up to you to dig into why. It’s not easy navigating our money in a world full of temptation, but the right blend of acceptance, discipline and automated budget software makes all the difference.