These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances

by Mikey Rox on 1 July 2014 3 comments

They say money has wings and that it tends to fly away before we even realize it. That's a product of the time we're living in, unfortunately. The good news, however, is that some wasteful spending can be curtailed and prevented, and a great way to do that is to use something else that's a product of our time: Smartphone apps. (See also: The "I Knew It!" Benefit of Expense Tracking)

Our phones do a lot of things that we don't really need on a regular basis, but one thing that they're capable of that we'd do well to take advantage of regularly is tracking our expenses. There are a lot of great apps (free and paid) that allow us to do this without having to sit down at a computer or write in a checkbook. These are the ones worth looking at.

1. Mint

Mint is one of the most popular and widely used apps available for tracking spending, and it's completely free.

The data itself is stored in a cloud account where it can be accessed by a number of different supported devices. Either your phone, Internet browsers, and even a Linux application can be used to access your data and track your spending.

It works by keeping all your transactions and balances in one spot and can even pull data from your respective financial institutions.

2. Quicken

Originally one of the more popular desktop applications for tracking your spending, Intuit's Quicken provides a mobile version of their software as well.

Some of the more helpful features include the ability to snap and store receipts, syncing with the desktop application, graphical GUI with tablet versions, and secure password protection with encryption.

The mobile app is perfect if you're already familiar with Quicken's software and would like to use your smartphone to manage it.

3. iSpending

Graphical reports and a sleek UI give this free app a lot of appeal for the more casual user.

Though it lacks some of the features that you'll find with other apps like receipt snapping or a desktop counterpart, iSpending is ideal for someone who primarily keeps data on their phone with no need to sync with other devices.

It handles all the basic spending and expense tracking the average person needs, including custom spending categories, summaries and adding income/expense transactions.

4. Visual Budget Expense Tracking and Management

Assigning budgets to individual categories, managing multiple accounts, accessing overview tools, and taking advantage of easy-to-read pie graphs can all be done with the free version of this awkwardly named app, though it does limit you to 10 transactions per account.

Purchasing the unlimited version is $5, which lifts the transaction limit and gives you full use of the app.

It's also compatible with iTunes file sharing if you want to import spreadsheets.

5. Spending Tracker

The interface is pleasant, intuitive, and easy to use, offering all the essential features for tracking your spending.

Budget mode, spending categories, and reports are all available to you without the pro upgrade, which is only $2.99 regardless.

If you do upgrade, you'll have the app ad free and will be able to set up repeat transactions and export transactions. Otherwise, the app is completely functional without you having to pay any money.

It's available for iOS, Android, and Windows phone.

Making It a Habit

Expense-tracking apps are valuable tools in your hand, but they'll only make a difference if you make a habit of using them. Work it into your daily routine to either download or manually input your income and expenses of the past 24 hours. (See also: 10 Sites and Apps That Help You Track Spending)

If you keep it up, you'll eventually be able to use reports and graphs to get a clearer picture of how you're spending your money and where you need to cut back or where you could save. It's a time commitment, for sure, but it won't get much easier than being a few swipes away in your pocket. And, let's face it, it's still easier than writing everything down in your checkbook. All hail technology!

Do you have an expense-tracking app that you like to use? Has it changed the way you handle your finances? Let me know in the comments below.

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I like YNAB. Google it.

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Ditto on on YNAB (You Need a Budget). Excellent tutorials and support community. It is an addictive budgeting program that's actually a joy to use. I'm 8 months in and I can't believe that I've tracked every one of my transactions. It is a joy to use.

Also Personal Capital does a lot of what Mint does and does more for investment accounts. Just make sure you turn off the setting that has a human contact you unless you want a real live financial advisor to help you.

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Did I mention it was a joy to use? lol