5 Killer Phone Apps to Manage Your Money
Between buying a phone and paying for monthly service, smartphones aren’t cheap. But did you know your smartphone can help you save and manage money, too? With so many great apps available, much of the online banking and budgeting that you can do on a computer can now be conveniently done on your iPhone or Droid, too.
Here are five great apps to get you started with managing money on-the-go.
What it does: Retrieves and manages account balances, tracks spending and budgets
The Mint app allows you to access many of the great features of Mint.com. By signing up for a free account, Mint allows you to link your account with just about any financial institution’s online banking site. Mint then downloads your transactions (don’t worry, it’s secure) so you can track your spending automatically and monitor account balances, all in one place.
Not sure how much you’ve spent this month? This app can tell you as it integrates Mint’s budgets feature, making it easy to set up a quick budget and then enter cash purchases from your smartphone. Just tap a few buttons and you’ll instantly log your transaction instead of trying to remember to enter it later.
Mint breaks spending down by categories, too, so you know if you’re spending too much on restaurants or fast food. And if you go over budget or a credit card payment is due, Mint will alert you.
RedLaser Barcode Scanner
What it does: Compares prices and ratings for retail products
If you’ve ever wondered if you’re getting the best deal possible when you’re out shopping, this app is for you. RedLaser allows you to scan the barcode of any item in the store and quickly get access to product details, ratings, and price comparisons for millions of products from thousands of retailers.
RedLaser will tell you if the product in your hand is cheaper online or in a nearby store. You can even make a purchase right from the RedLaser app.
What it does: Makes and shares payments with friends
If you’re always stuck paying more than your share of the tab, Venmo is your solution to bill-splitting equality.
Venmo allows you to easily send and receive payments from friends. If you friend owes you money, simple “charge” them and they’ll receive your request. Forget about friends that, well, forget to pay or can’t remember exactly what they owe. Venmo manages this in a friendly and fun way so you won’t have to keep nagging.
Simply install the free app, and you can receive money from or send cash to a friend for free using your bank account or Venmo balance. If you want to use a credit card, there’s a 3% fee to send money. But hey, that beats losing out on 100% of the 20 bucks your friend owes you, right?
What it does: Files taxes easily using your smartphone camera
Hate the frustration and confusion of filing your taxes? SnapTax makes it easy by snapping a picture with your smartphone.
To use SnapTax, all you need is your W-2 and a few other forms in hand. Follow its prompts to snap photos of the required documents and answer a few questions. In just minutes SnapTax will automatically place your tax info into a tax form that you can submit electronically.
While SnapTax doesn’t work for those with more complex returns, it does cover the 70% of Americans that only need to file the simpler 1040-EZ. Once your return is all set, it costs only $24.99 to have your return submitted. If you’re unsure if it will work for you, you can download the app and give it a try for free before paying anything.
What it does: Manages everything in your physical wallet electronically
While Adaptu Wallet has some of the same features as Mint and other similar apps, this app does take a few different approches than some of the others featured here. First off, it’s a “wallet,” which means that it electronically stores things you’d keep in your real-life wallet. Instead of carrying around all sorts of rewards cards and insurance information, just snap a photo and it’s available for later on your smartphone.
Another feature that sets Adaptu Wallet apart is its budgeting feature. The app forecasts future spending based on the past so that you can make smarter purchasing decisions in the present. To simplify spending, Adaptu separates spending into “Needs” and “Wants” to give you a heads-up to pull back on spending when your budget gets tight.
Bonus: Your Financial Institution’s App
While some of these apps tie several accounts together, many of the larger banks and other financial institutions have their own app to help you, too. Some may even offer special features not found on other apps.
For example, ING Direct’s app allows you to deposit checks by snapping a photo on your smartphone. Other apps let you transfer money or find nearby ATMs.
All of these apps listed are available for both iPhone and Android (and some on additional platforms, too), and each of them is free to download.
Give these apps a shot and you may find that using your smartphone makes managing your money easier than ever.