Get the best deals…track your investments…find a cash machine anywhere
You may know about some basic smartphone financial apps such as those that help you with your taxes or your bank and brokerage accounts. But there are many more that can help you keep on top of your personal finances in a variety of ways.
Here, my favorite apps for various financial goals. All of the apps have versions for iPhones and Android-based devices. They also work with handheld devices that are not connected to cellular networks, such as the iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy Player, as long as you have wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi).
MANAGING YOUR MONEY
Spending tracker: Easy Envelope Budget Aid is a digital version of the old “envelope” method of budgeting. It helps you stick to weekly or monthly budget limits without the hassle of keeping the actual cash separated. You set up virtual envelopes on your smartphone in categories such as groceries, rent, transportation and entertainment, and you specify how much cash goes in each. When you conduct a transaction, you manually input it on the Easy Envelope Budget Aid app and that amount automatically is subtracted from the appropriate envelope. Inputting is easy because your GPS location is used to suggest payees such as a grocery store or gas station that you have frequented in the past.
The app also allows the data that you input to sync with the smartphones of your spouse, other family members or a roommate. The free version, which includes 10 weekly virtual envelopes and 10 annual ones, allows for two smartphone users. Other versions, which provide additional envelopes and support more smartphones, start at $3 per month. www.EEBACanHelp.com
Account coordinator: Mint, which has more than 10 million users, provides a snapshot of where you stand financially right on your smartphone. You input password and account-number information from all your credit cards, mortgages, car loans, bill payments, investment brokerage and bank accounts and more. Mint automatically compiles and updates all the information. You also can search through past transactions on the go. Free. www.Mint.com
Digital expense reports: If you are not careful about keeping business lunch receipts or dislike hunting through crumpled scraps of paper to document your tax deductions or travel and entertainment expenses for work, Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker is for you. How it works: You snap a picture of your receipts with the Shoeboxed app and Shoeboxed enters the information, including dates, total amounts, the form of payment used and scans of the original documents, and stores it all in a searchable digital account for you. You can categorize the digitalized receipts and generate expense reports, then e-mail them or export them to personal finance, accounting or tax-preparation software. Free 30-day trial…$9.95/month after that. www.Shoeboxed.com
ACCESSING YOUR MONEY
Money finder: ATM Hunter helps you find cash machines close to your location anywhere in the world. Your phone’s GPS identifies where you are and provides a list of ATMs in the MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus networks, along with directions and maps. Tailor your search based on features such as operating hours…the ability to make a deposit…ATMs that are surcharge-free…and ATMs in particular banks. Free. www.MasterCard.us/mobile.html
Payment processor: The mobile version of the leading online payment processor, PayPal, allows you to send money for personal or business use from the road, withdraw funds from your PayPal account or transfer money to other PayPal accounts or to your own bank account. It also helps you locate merchants in the area who accept PayPal. Free. www.PayPal.com
SPENDING YOUR MONEY
Converter: Currency is a foreign currency conversion calculator with exchange rates updated daily for more than 180 countries. Free. www.CurrencyApp.com
Loyalty card keeper: Key Ring scans and saves the bar-coded information from plastic loyalty and rewards cards that you get from supermarkets, pharmacies and the like so that you don’t need to clutter your key ring or wallet with physical versions. You just call up the reward card bar code on your smartphone at the checkout counter and let the clerk scan it. You also can receive digital updates on special offers from the stores. Free. www.KeyRingApp.com
Price comparer: RedLaser bar-code scanner allows you to scan any item in a store, then automatically access the Internet and search Google, Amazon and other online shopping guides to get price comparisons from online and offline retailers, including stores near your location. Example: A camera for $748.99 at Best Buy was found online for $549—almost $200 saved. Free. http://RedLaser.com