April 18, Tax Day, is here. And there’s nothing like beating a financial deadline to make you want to get a better handle on where your money is and where it’s going. To help everyone out with this precarious pursuit, I’ve put together a quick list of some of (what I think are) the best apps to help manage your money.
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
This powerful app will not only help you get a grip on your budget, it’ll help you put it in a headlock. Keeping track of income, bills, account balances and other expenses is just the beginning. You can also fully analyze everything with a variety of charts and reports to get a full appreciation of where every cent goes. But what really sets this app apart for me is the sync feature that lets you create one fully functional budget based on individual inputs from others in your household. Once you set it up, the sync is automatic and really helps to keep all family members on track.
At its heart, this app is designed to help people streamline the dreadful process of creating and submitting expense reports to their employer for reimbursement. You can link credit card accounts, manually add cash payments and even tally up mileage. But, it’s also a simple way to keep track of all your expenses, both work-related and personal. Basically, you open the app and add expenses as they happen. You can even take a photo of a receipt to create a digital archive. Expenditures can be categorized, listed and sorted in a variety of ways. So at the end of the month, if you want to know how much you spent at your favorite coffee shop, the answer’s only a few clicks away.
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android
Reviewing the current state of your checking account, savings account, credit cards, car loan, mortgage loan, student loans…can be time consuming. That’s a lot of clicks. Using the Mint.com site combined with the free app makes it a breeze. It’s essentially an aggregator for your financial life. If you’re concerned about having all your info in one place (what if you lose your phone!?!?), don’t worry. The app itself is password protected and when you’ve finished using it, just be sure to log out and all your account data will be wiped from the phone. The only drawback with this app is the potential threat of lag time. The info it gives you is only as recent as what your other online accounts are reporting. You have to keep in mind that some expenses may still be processing before you head out shopping.
hone, iPod touch, iPad, Android
If you recently spent some time trying to figure out exactly what non-cash charitable donations you made, who you made them to and what they were worth, you will want to download this app immediately. You can keep track of donations as the year goes by, and when April 15, 2012 comes around you’ll have everything you need. This app goes beyond list keeping, too. You can also attach photos of donated items and even determine their fair market value. When the year is at an end, you just email yourself (or your tax preparer) the IRS-compliant record then sit back and relax knowing all your non-cash charitable donations have been fully documented for optimal deductions.
Your Own Bank’s App
Price: Usually Free
All major and most small banks now have their own apps, allowing customers to access their accounts on the go. If you haven’t downloaded your bank’s app yet, I highly recommend you give it a shot. Some do a better job than others, but typical services include locating ATMs (avoid ATM fees!), checking balances, paying bills and transferring funds. While you may not use it every day, it’s nice to have it on your phone, ready to go when the occasion arises.
If you guys know other great apps to help manage finances, send them my way via a comment below. My wallet will surely thank you.