11 of the Best Money Management and Budgeting Apps Available

Before banking as we know it today came into full effect with debit and credit cards, cash was all that we used. Now with the switch towards plastic, many people are using their card for everyday transactions such as buying lunch, purchases on Amazon and other expenses. This growing trend has meant keeping track of funds has become much harder. Some of us even get our monthly statements electronically, which means knowing your exact balance at any given time can be even more difficult, and those of us who check online often wonder “how did I spent that much?!”. Here’s a rundown of some of the best apps to help you take care of your money.

Account Tracker
Account TrackerAccount tracker has had a great reputation ever since launch in 2010, and was voted the staff favourite by Apple in July/August 2010. Available for iOS and Windows phone, this app allows you to set up different accounts, track budgets in different categories, view spending and much more. It’s even available with Cloud backup so you won’t ever lose any of that valuable data. This popular app even has alerts for when you are nearly overdrawn!

Calculator 12 in 1
Calculator 12 in 1This handy app has every calculator you’ll ever need. This little tool contains a scientific calculator, with most functions you will need, a unit converter, stats calculator, graph modes, equation solvers, base converter, world clock and much more. A handy calculator, which will help solve problems in every situation.

IOU Pro
IOU ProThis Android app is very simple, and often much of money management is looking after the pennies, so the pounds take care of themselves which IOU Pro helps out with. Excuse the pun, but with simple IOU reminders, you can take care of small payments for friends and colleagues which may go under the rug, adding up in the long term.

12C Financial Calculator
12C Financial CalculatorThis is the official emulator of the HP 12C Financial Calculator. With apparently better performance and functions than the real calculator and about a tenth of the price how can you go wrong? This app shows you the time value of money, cash flow analysis, bonds, depreciation, loan payments calculation and much more. One for all the accountants on the go!

PayPal 
PayPalFor all of you who have a PayPal account this app can be handy, as it allows you quick access and a mobile/tablet view in comparison to the sometimes tricky desktop interface. Essential for having a quick overview and making payments when on the go! A quick tip from us is to make sure you don’t automatically get registered into a yearly subscription if you only require a one off payment.

MyMoney
MyMoneyMyMoney allows you to manage your money and keep track of it on the go. This app sets itself apart from the others on the market by being simple and effective. With all the core features on the home screen, this is one for all those who want to keep track, without having to delve into complex features.

PocketMoney
PocketMoneyPocket Money is great in that you can sync it across all platforms. iPhone/iPad, Android and desktop. After plugging in your income and expenditures, you can look at your budgeting and set up automatic payments and export to Microsoft Excel. This app give you lots of visuals, with these graphs helping you identify areas in which you can potentially tighten your belt.

Bloomberg
BloombergMore for those of you who have stocks and shares, the Bloomberg app is great for the latest trading news and analysis. Great for those users of every level, whether you are a trader or have a few shares knocking about. With the sheer amount of data and analysis on this app, it is recommended for the larger tablets than the small handheld devices.

Easy Books
EasyBooksEasy Books is a bookkeeping app which makes sending out repeat invoices for sole traders and small limited companies simple. For those of you who want to record your transactions, but without the hassle or price tag which comes with the renowned Sage software. This app has all the basics you need; receipts, payments, invoicing, VAT calculator as well as Profit and Loss accounts and Balance Sheets.

Google Docs – My Budget and more
Google DocsGoogle docs has the advantage that you can connect to it from any internet source and isn’t platform specific. Here you can find some free templates to use, which you can fill in with monthly income and outgoings in order to budget and save yourself some hard earned cash.

HomeBudget
Home BudgetThis app is available for both the Android and iPlatforms with synchronisation to Mac and Windows operating systems too. This app is clean, with visual segments for your budgeting. It tracks your expenses, income and payments. Some of the best features include bill reminders, budget rollover and the ability to choose a different base currency for each account which can be useful for the international business man out there.

That just about completes the post. There are loads of money management apps out there, all of which will have you saving in some areas. All you have to do is get thinking about spending wisely and cutting costs where available.

Author Bio
This article was written by David Lewzey behalf of income protection company helpucover. helpucover are an insurance company who offer a range of cover from household insurance, car GAP insurance and gadget cover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc. Visit online at http://www.helpucover.co.uk/

What’s in your pocket?

What's in your pocket?

I remember a period of time, when I was a child, where my sister kept finding money in her pockets. I think it was only something like 50p a time, but that seemed like a lot of money then. I’m not sure whether it was always the same 50p but, for a couple of weeks, she would regularly be surprised to find that she had some extra money she hadn’t previously known about.

Even today, it’s still a great feeling when I open my wallet to find a £5 I’d forgotten about. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice when it does.

MoneySupermarket recently ran a little experiment to see how people would react if they were told £20 had been found in their pocket at the dry cleaner. Pop on over to http://www.moneysupermarket.com/epic/pocket-some-extra-cash/ to see what happened! The last time I went to the dry cleaners was with one of my daughter’s dresses, and I was told, “You know, sometimes these things melt” (seriously)… I think I would have fainted if they’d said they found £20.

Those little wins can make a big difference, and MoneySupermarket have given some bloggers, myself included, £20 to spend on something with the feel-good factor. I’ve mentioned Kim & Jason Kotecki before, and their quest to rid the world of the curse of ‘adultitis’. So I thought I would spend my £20 on a subscription to their Cheap Family Fun videos. This is a series of short videos with ideas for building fun memories as a family… that won’t cost the earth. Given that a trip to the cinema can cost upwards of £20, and only lasts a couple of hours, it seems like spending $20 on 52 weeks’ worth of fun ideas makes sense!

So far I’ve watched the first video and started hiding a particular small toy in various places around the house. Whoever finds the toy gets to hide it again… and so the game continues. Simple fun, and hopefully something the kids will remember with fondness in future years.

Oh yes, I did say Cheap Family Fun costs $20, or around £13. So what did I spend the rest on? Well, all I’ll say is the entire family enjoys chocolate :)

Friday Fun: Superhero Credit Cards

Ironman Credit CardHow does a superhero fund his heroic lifestyle? If you’re Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark, you do it by also being the CEO of a huge corporation… but what if that all went bust? Or what if you’re just a mild-manered scientist like Bruce Banner who needs to replace his wardrobe every time he “hulks up”?

Introducing… superhero credit cards. Just a bit of fun from the guys at MoneySupermarket – they imagined what features a superhero would look for in their flexible friends (remember that advert?).

As the site says, these aren’t real, but we can dream :)

View Superhero Credit Cards on MoneySupermarket.com

Why You’ll Be Able To Ditch Your Credit Card for Your Phone

Google WalletThis is a guest post by Andreas Nicolaides of MoneySupermarket.com.

As everything is becoming quicker and easier in this technically advanced day and age, it comes as no surprise that new developments will soon allow us to pay for purchases without actually having to open our wallets. Google is introducing the new Google Wallet, a virtual wallet that combines details of your payments and credit cards with special offers and discounts all together on your smart phone and online.

How does it work?

The idea behind Google Wallet is to have all your relevant card details safely stored in one place, your virtual wallet. That information is accessed via your mobile phone as and when you need it by using the special PayPass reader available at the check-out area of a shop. Simply pass your phone by the reader and your details will be transferred instantly and the payment made. It is quick and easy and means that all you need to take to the shop is your mobile phone.

The process works in a similar way online, offering an extra level of security when buying over the internet. When you buy online, just look for the Google Wallet symbol and you can make your purchase quickly and easily by simply signing into your Google account.

Is this really a safe way to pay?

For many people, the question of security is at the forefront of their minds. Google has said that the online wallet has been designed to be safe and offers many security features that current methods of payment don’t have. Before you start to use the technology, you will be asked to set up your own PIN, which you will then need to enter before making a purchase, in the same way you use the PIN on your current credit cards.

All your personal details will be safely encrypted on a computer chip within your mobile phone, which Google call the Secure Element. This chip will only work with certain programs, so it can’t be accessed by any other rogue technology. The PayPass reader also uses its own encryption technology to make sure your details are protected from the minute they are sent from your phone.

In theory, this could be a fast and convenient way to make a payment and means you can keep all your information in one place instead of carrying various cards around with you. All you will need to do is enter your PIN before passing your phone across the reader machine.

One worry is what will happen if you were to lose your phone? According to Google, the layers of security surrounding your details means if someone were to find your phone, they wouldn’t be able to access your virtual wallet unless their knew your PIN. However, to be completely safe, it might be worth cancelling your credit cards regardless.

What do you think of Google Wallet? Is it the future of payments, or just one big security risk? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Making money with Amazon Associates

I’ve wanted to say this for ages, but every time I try to write a post about it I end up getting “tongue tied”. No idea why, but for some reason I don’t seem to be able to produce a decent post about it! So let me be brief and simple.

  • Amazon has an affiliate scheme called Associates where you can make money by recommending products to your website visitors.
  • When you join Associates you will be tempted to find a load of cool products and hope that people will buy them.
  • When you check your stats, you’ll probably find that people aren’t buying what you’re recommending… they’re browsing Amazon and buying something altogether different.
  • That’s OK, because so long as they arrived at Amazon by your Associates link, you’ll still be credited with the sale.

What I take away from that is this: by all means recommend products on your website, but don’t sweat it if people don’t buy the exact item you’re recommending. I think they key to making money with Amazon is get your readers through the door. Amazon does a brilliant job of cross-selling, and once they’re on the site there’s a good chance they will see something they like.

Some words of caution, though: it’s not wise to post hundreds of Amazon product links all over the place – you’ll just annoy your visitors and annoyed readers don’t stick around for long. Resist the temptation to post irrelevant product links for much the same reason, even if you do see a spike in people buying rubber table mats!

So that’s it really. I wanted to let you know that Amazon Associates is a good way to make money from your website, and that you might be surprised by some of the products people buy through your links. Some of them you would never write about but, hey, people will buy what they want to buy.

Told you I would struggle to write a decent post about this :) Do you use Amazon Associates links on your site? Do you find them useful for generating an online income? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk]

Kashflow: Accounting made easy [GS Recycled]

I’ve recently become self-employed and, as such, have a much greater need for good small-business accounting software. With that in mind, I thought now would be a good time to revisit why I use Kashflow to keep track of my business accounts.

In the past, I’ve had a sort of love-hate relationship with HMRC (the UK tax people). I hate having to fill in a tax return, but I usually get a rebate for my trouble. This year, things are going to be a little different as I left my position as a pastor and then became self-employed. I’m more likely to end up with a tax bill than a rebate this year, but I reckon it’s now even more important to make sure I’m tracking my taxable income and expenses accurately than before.

I’ve been using Kashflow to track the income and expenditure for my online dealings for a while now and I have to say it’s the best software package I’ve tried. It’s user friendly for someone without an accounting background, i.e. me, but powerful at the same time.

Kashflow offers you:

  • Access to my accounts from any Internet-enabled computer
  • Easy supplier and customer management
  • Smart-looking invoices, and an e-mail reminder of any invoices that are overdue
  • Form “late payment” letters that have been crafted to maximise the likelihood of your client paying up
  • PayPal integration, to track incoming payments
  • At-a-glance overview of the health of your account
  • And plenty more features detailed on the site.

I’m really impressed, evidenced by the fact that I’m still a customer on their £15.99 plan after well over a year of use. I won’t pay for services I think are substandard, and this is great accounting software for bloggers and small businesses and well worth at least checking out.

The really nice thing is that if you want to try it out Kashflow is completely free for 14 days and (this is the good part) you don’t have to give them your credit card details. If you decide you want to stick with them after the 14 days you can give them your details then, otherwise you just walk away. And if you sign up using any of the links in this post, you’ll also get £1 off per month for the first year.

If you’re looking to keep track of your accounts securely and easily, give Kashflow a try.

Links to Kashflow in this post are affiliate links. If you decide to remain a Kashflow customer after your free trial I will receive a small commission.

iPhone apps that can save you money

This is a guest post by Andreas Nicolaides, personal finance author at moneysupermarket.com. Andreas writes about all things money, from balance transfer credit cards to cash ISA savings, and this time he has decided to share with us iPhone apps that can save you money.

There are so many iPhone apps that you can currently download; you can get an iPhone app to do just about anything. The magic date was June 11 2007, when Apple announced that their new iPhone would support third party applications, and now there are over 260,000 applications available for download.

With it being the turn of the year, a lot of us tend to set New Years resolutions, and many of them will probably include trying to save money. Now I know saving money is no easy task, however, there are some iPhone apps amongst the thousands available that can be an incredible help, and here’s my top 4 in no particular order:

0870

0870Don’t you hate it when you need to get hold of a company to ask them a question and then you find out that they use a pricey 0870 number? With the 0870 app, you can check to see if there is an alternate cheaper number that you can ring. Ringing an 0870, 0845 or even an 0800 number from our mobiles can be incredibly expensive, normally around 35p per minute, but this app will help to save you money on your phone bill. This app costs 59p from the app store which is still a bargain considering the amount of money you could save.

Currency

CurrencyThis is a great iPhone app for those jetsetters amongst you. It’s simple and yet very effective purpose is to note the exchange rate of more than 90 different countries, including amongst others, the US dollar, Japanese yen and Turkish lira. If you’re going away on business or pleasure, it’s a great way to look ahead to see how much money you will need and you can work out any costs before you travel, a great way to save money. Again, this app is completely free to download.

moneysupermarket.com Vouchers

moneysupermarket.com vouchersLaunched in summer 2010, the moneysupermarket.com vouchers app is brilliant for saving you money. It’s a great way to find some exclusive offers that aren’t available anywhere else. You can simply search from where you are, and find out what vouchers are available nearby for restaurants, takeaways, pubs, clubs and loads more. You can also search via keyword and there are thousand of vouchers available to choose from. The app is completely free from the iTunes store.

Red Laser

RedLaserIf you love a good deal then red laser is the iPhone app for you, it has a built in scanner that you can use to scan a barcode on a particular item. All you have to do is use your iPhone camera to swipe the barcode. The application will then search major websites, like Google and Amazon to find the best price available for that product; it’s brilliant if you like to find the best possible deal. This fantastic app used to cost money if you wanted to download it but it’s now available free straight from the iTunes store.

So that’s my top four money-saving apps. Why not give them a go and see what they can do for you? Are there any other apps you use to save you money or time? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.