12 Nifty Apps for Managing Your Money

×

Google-shopperThere are apps for all kinds of needs, whether you're trying to pop virtual bubble wrap, practice voodoo or scan fingerprints. On the more serious side, there are plenty of apps that help people with a real and common need: managing their money effectively.

Just as useful as apps for investors, these personal finance tools focus on helping you save more, earn more and spend more efficiently. I'll name some of them below (with their recent prices in parentheses). Don't see your favorite app listed here? Share it with others via the comment section below.

Keeping Track of Your Money

CheckbookCheckbook for iPad ($1) lets you keep track of the money in your various accounts with a checkbook-like interface. You can import your banking records, schedule transactions, sync data with other i-devices, and more. Pageonce (free) offers similar functions, such as paying and tracking bills and monitoring your investments.

Ace Budget 2 ($1) lets you keep track of your expenses and income -- critical tasks, if you're trying to save as much as possible and allocate your funds efficiently. Mint.com (free) also offers help with budgeting and much more, such as the ability to track most of your financial accounts, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, credit cards and so on.

Shop Smart

We all know it's smart to do some comparison shopping before plunking down our hard-earned money for items. That can be easier said than done, though, especially when faced with a possible spontaneous purchase. Now, with apps, you can use your smartphone or other device to check up on what your smartest option is.

Amazon Price CheckAmazon's (AMZN) Amazon Price Check (free), for example, will let you enter a product's name, scan its barcode, or photograph its cover (if it's a book, DVD, CD, etc.), and then it will tell you what that item will cost you on Amazon.com. You'll also be able to access Amazon's reviews of the product and add it to your wish list to consider purchasing later. Similarly, Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper 2012 ($5) lets you look up products and read their ratings and reviews, along with some consumer reviews.

Google Shopper (free) can also scan barcodes and will even let you speak the name of the item you're looking up. Then it will help you find ratings, reviews and nearby vendors. RedLaser (free), recently bought by eBay (EBAY), performs similar services and can also save you money by letting you know whether a book you're thinking of buying is available at a nearby library. Check out the CompareMe Shopping Utility ($2), too. All these apps can be particularly valuable if you want to negotiate a lower price, perhaps on a big-ticket item like a TV; simply show the salesperson how much less you can pay somewhere else.

Not only can you save money by comparison shopping, but now you can make money via apps like Smoopa (free), which enters users in drawings for goodies whenever they scan and report on an item's price in a particular store. Smoopa can also alert you if a product's price drops below a certain level, helping you save some dollars.

Manage Debt and Minimize Payments

Debt TrackerDebtTracker Pro ($3) lets you enter information about your debt (loans, mortgages, etc.) and track payments, balances due, and how long it will take to retire the debt. It also lets you try out different repayment scenarios to help you find effective paths to being debt-free.

MoneyPass ATM Locator (free) will help you find the closest ATM that won't charge you a hefty fee. If you're paying a few dollars each week to an ATM, this can be a significant money-saver.

All these apps are just the tip of the iceberg. Spend some time exploring app stores and app review sites such as MacWorld's AppGuide and PCWorld's AppGuide, and you'll likely encounter additional apps of interest.

Be Careful Out There

One final word of caution: While various apps can make your financial dealings easier, they can also potentially introduce some new headaches into your life -- via security breaches. For maximum protection, avoid accessing your financial accounts on your portable devices. And with all computers, tablets and smartphones, it's best to use strong passwords, change them regularly, and follow other app safety recommendations.

Lots of financial apps detail their security features, which can help you decide whether you want to use them. Mint.com, for example, explains: "Your app is passcode protected with a unique 4-digit PIN. If you lose your device, or even temporarily misplace it, simply deactivate mobile access from your Mint.com profile page. With one click, prevent unauthorized access to Mint on your iPad or iPhone."

Finally, know that the world of apps is growing and changing all the time, with new apps appearing regularly and existing apps being improved frequently. Services you wish were available may be available soon. And those security threats we face today may be conquered soon, though new ones can still appear.

Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of eBay and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, eBay, and Amazon.com, and writing puts on eBay.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

6 Comments

Filter by:
Keisha young

no

May 10 2012 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Keisha young

no

May 10 2012 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tiara Joseph

It is true that gadgets can help you save money. You can use your mobile for budgeting purpose. There are some online budgeting tools for desktop as well as Android users at absolutely free of cost. By using such an application, anyone can plan a budget by allocating expenses to certain categories and get monthly and quarterly budget report. Even some of these online tools also help you compare your budget with that of the community. Operating such tools is quite easy. All you have to do is fill out the necessary fields with certain information relating to your income and expense, and take the first step for managing your money better. You can even register and save your details so that you can use it as and when you feel like. So, it can be said that there are various online tools available for you; all you have to do is make a commitment for a better financial life and you can choose the right application that suits your needs, the best. You can use such a free online tool here - http://www.debtconsolidationcare.com/personal-budgeting/

May 02 2012 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TuppenceBank

And don't forget to get the kids learning and tracking their money as well. Obviously we love tuppencebank.com, but please, use anything that works for your family.

April 30 2012 at 12:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
osFinance

I love mint.com app. Its the first think I do when I get on the metro on my way to work. I love knowing home much money I have and look at the trends that are happening in my finances.

April 28 2012 at 6:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Stop spending what you do not have. Save first, spend later. Not like Obama and his cronies.

April 27 2012 at 5:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply