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  • Personal finance apps. A pocketful of modern miracles.

    by:
    Laurie Campbell

    You gotta love digital technology. These days, mobile apps are being created for all kinds of practical things, including personal money management. Now you can manage and track your money on the fly at the push of a button. If you do so diligently and wisely, you just might find you’ve got yourself a pocketful of miracles. After all, half the battle in personal finance is staying on top of your money, particularly when you’re out and about spending it. The other half of the battle is your attitude towards money. But that’s another story.

    If like me you aren’t particularly tech savvy, you’ve got to define your mobile terms in order to know what personal finance apps are available to you.

    I’ll try to keep this simple. Amid devices in the cell phone universe, there are iPhones – which don’t need explaining (Apple always seems to keep things simple) – and there are things called Android smartphones, a term that relates to a bunch of other cell phone brands. I don’t know what Android means, and I don’t want to know. I guess I can live with the term smartphone, though I do wonder about the predecessor of this creature. Am I to understand that prior to the advent of smartphones, we all used dumb phones? At least it’s good to know that phones are being better educated.

    So, there are personal finance apps that work with iPhones, and there are personal finance apps that work with Android smartphones.

    Here, then, are two lists of personal finance apps I’ve rooted out through a little nosing around the Internet. The first list covers five popular money apps relating to Android smartphones. The second list covers five apps relating to iPhones. Now, apps on both lists either come free or they come with a one-time cost of up to almost ten bucks. My advice here is, don’t worry about the costs. Anything that encourages and helps anyone to budget and manage money wisely is, in my opinion, invaluable.

    The truth is, most people don’t assiduously budget and track spending using any tools, be they digital apps or pencil and paper. If most people managed their money using even the simplest of tools, we would see far fewer cases of troubled souls coming to us for debt counselling and financial coaching here at Credit Canada.

    Here are the two lists.

    LIST A – APPS FOR ANDROID SMARTPHONES

    • Mint (for Android)

    The Mint (for Android) app updates transactions and account balances automatically and provides instant alerts when your account balance is low and when you’re over budget. It even flags unusual spending activity. This is all in addition to real-time account balance updates and a search function identifying recent transactions. A widget (please look up the term on Wiki or something) provides instant snapshots of your overall cash flow and folders for financial updates that appear on your cell's home screen without launching the app, which comes free of charge.

    • Easy Money

    The Easy Money app covers recurring transactions, upcoming and overdue bill notifications, customizable financial reports, colour-coded budgets, and transfers between accounts. With a home screen widget (here we go again), you get an account summary and you can add new transactions without opening the app. You can take snapshots of bills and receipts. You can also import and export data for spreadsheets. Easy Money comes with a 30-day free trial. The cost is $9.95.

    • Nickel Tracker

    The Nickel Tracker app allows you to create budget categories with weekly and monthly spending limits. You can make daily purchase entries and determine what you've spent for the week or month. The app alerts you when you go over budget. Also, you can email yourself monthly summaries to analyze your spending with Excel or another spreadsheet. The app is free.

    • Pageonce Personal Finance (for Android)

    With Pageonce, you can track bank accounts, credit cards, bills, and investments. The app also notifies you when bills come due. But it offers no budgeting feature. Still, it’s cool in that it can track your cell phone minutes, your frequent flyer miles, and it covers travel itineraries. That’s what the free version offers. The premium version gives you stuff like real-time flight information. Some of its non-financial features are interesting. You can check your Netflix queue, your eBay account, as well as Facebook and other social networks. In a nutshell, the app puts many accounts in one place. Pageonce comes free (ad supported, limited accounts) or you pay $6.99 for Personal Assistant Premium.

    • DailyCash

    DailyCash covers the basics for personal finance, and it supports multiple currencies. You can export data through emails. The ad-supported version is free. If you upgrade to Pro, you can say goodbye to the ads, create more accounts, manage financial reports, and take snapshots of transactions.  The app’s Pro version comes at $3.99.

    LIST B – APPS FOR IPHONES

    Note that iPhone personal finance apps also apply to iPad and iPod Touch.

    • Mint (for iPhone)

    Mint.com for iPhone offers automatic features covering transactions and account balance updates. There are also real-time alerts for when an account balance is low, when you’re over-budget, or when spending activity appears to be unusual. You can also edit transactions. Like the Mint.com Android version listed above, the app is free of charge.

    • Pageonce Personal Assistant (for iPhone)

    Pageonce’s Android features (see above) also translate to iPhone, covering lots of financial features.  You can securely set up literally thousands of bank, credit card and brokerages on your iPhone. You can tap accounts for your cell phone minutes and frequent flyer rewards. You can even manage online shopping accounts if you can live with the ads that accompany the app’s free version. For just 99 cents, you can upgrade the app and lose the ads while getting extras like real-time flight information and better security.

    •  Moneystrands

    With Moneystrands for iPhone you can view your account balances all in one place, you can keep tabs on transactions, and you can customize alerts. This app offers a good budgeting tool. You can add and delete budgets - and track individual account updates. Moneystrands is free.

    • SplashMoney

    SplashMoney for iPhone offers a number of money management features. You can connect wirelessly and securely to online banking. Optionally, you can synchronize with something called SplashMoney Desktop that comes as a separate purchase. The cost is $4.99.

    • PocketMoney

    PocketMoney for iPhone makes data entry easy and offers budgeting and spending analysis as well as tracking tools for accounts, with data back-up and export features. You can export data to financial software programs such as Money and Quicken. The app covers more than a dozen languages and currencies. It costs $1.99, or you can opt for a free version with fewer features.

    There you go. A pocketful of techno miracles.

    But one last word of advice. Look into how each app approaches data security.

    Topics: Financial Resources

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