With your smartphone, you can spend money on just about anything these days. But instead of letting your device drain your bank account, why not turn it into a money-management tool? There are tons of great apps out there for managing and maximizing your hard-earned money — and many of these apps are free.
Here are some of the best money-management apps to help you handle your cash:
Money App No. 1: Mint
Helps you … Manage all your accounts
The app version of Mint.com offers a free solution for managing your accounts, creating budgets, and setting and meeting financial goals. Sync Mint with your bank, credit card, loan and retirement accounts, and it can download, categorize and monitor all your transactions. For example, if you’re looking to spend no more than $200 each month on eating out, Mint will tell you how much you have left to spend in that category or — whoops! — how badly you’ve already blown your budget. It’s free and it’s safe: Mint promises to “always transmit personal and financial information securely.” Just be sure to set the app to request your passcode each time you launch it — this is not the sort of app you’d want easily accessible on your stolen phone.
Available on: iOS and Android devices
Money App No. 2: TripLog/1040
Helps you … Save tax money
One of the easiest ways to lower your taxes each year is to deduct your year’s worth of mileage. But in an audit, the IRS asks for an expense log. TripLog/1040 makes it easy to track it all: For only $4.99, you can track mileage in four categories (business, charity, medical and other) for three different cars. Start tracking now to avoid a mad dash on April 15 next year.
Available on: iOS devices. For Android devices, check out Cashbook
Money App No. 3: Pay Off Debt
Helps you … The name says it all!
If you’re paying down debt like many people these days, you can save time and money by prioritizing your payment schedule. Pay Off Debt, a $2.99 app, sets priorities based on your balances and their interest rates, and it even shows how long it would take you to pay down debt if you weren’t following its “snowball” repayment method. Best of all, it shows your magical debt-free date, helping you stay motivated and on track.
Available on: iOS devices. For Android devices, try Debt Payoff Planner
Money App No. 4: Bloomberg Mobile
Helps you … Monitor investments
If you’re invested in stocks or mutual funds, financial news giant Bloomberg has you covered. Its free apps, available for just about every platform out there, offer news, stock quotes, trends and analysis. You can also follow a custom list of stocks, so as long you’re not faint of heart, you can monitor every spike and dive that your dollars take.
Available on: All major mobile platforms
Money App No. 5: Simple Loan Calculator
Helps you … Estimate payments
This free app serves a simple, but important, function: It estimates your monthly payment when you enter an amount to borrow, the years you’ll take to pay it off and the interest rate. Or, enter what you can afford to pay monthly, and the app will tell you how much you can borrow. It also offers a repayment schedule.
Available on: iOS devices. For Android devices, try Loan Calculator