Times may be tough, but your iPhone is here to help. Wait … what? That's right - your smartphone isn't just good for making calls, updating your Facebook status and Twitter-ing away a boring staff meeting. The iPhone can also help you manage your money, something that a lot of us are paying more attention to as the slow economy continues to drag on. Since its debut last July, the iPhone App Store has added hundreds of free (or nearly free) applications, or "apps". So, whether you want to save, spend, budget, bill-pay or invest, there's an app for that.
I-Budgeting and Bill-Paying
PayPal (Cost: Free)
If you own an iPhone you're probably pretty tech-savvy and chances are good you're already very familiar with PayPal. The PayPal app lets you send money to eBay sellers, friends, family or vendors through your existing online account. (For more about shopping online, see Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains and A Few Scams.)
QuickenOnline (Cost: Free)
Quicken is easily one of the most popular personal finance software tools on the market. The QuickenOnline iPhone app now lets you track your past spending and predict your future earnings and expenses to make the best spending and saving decisions. In addition the app lets you:
o View all your online accounts (bank, credit card, loans, etc.) in one snapshot
o Track your cash spending (commonly known as the "black hole" of budgeting) and compare it to your monthly budget
o Find your bank's nearest ATM
o Know if you're at risk of bouncing a check
o Know how much money you have left until payday (For more budgeting tips, see Six Months To A Better Budget.)
Mint (Cost: Free)
Mint.com has been widely recognized for saving users time by automatically syncing their online banking accounts for quick, easy access; the Mint iPhone app does the same thing so you can instantly see:
o How your spending is stacking up against your budget
o Your checking, savings, credit card, investment account and loan balances
o Your current purchases and whether you're about to go over a credit limit or checking account balance
o Your investment account performance
Wesabe (Cost: Free)
The Wesabe app lets iPod owners track and manage their money. With Wesabe, you can view your bank and credit card accounts and track cash spending. Wesabe also pairs up with the IPhone's GPS feature, allowing you to bargain-hunt by providing you with the name of the closest and cheapest store for a given item.
BillMinder (Cost: $1.99 + 99 cents for "push" function)
The BillMinder app provides you with helpful alerts about when your bills are due, and provides "push" e-reminders when the due date is near at hand. It also calculates bill amounts, categorizes collectors and records when and how much you paid on outstanding bills. (If this app sounds like something you might need, read the Procrastinator's Guide To Bill Payment for additional tips.)
Loan Calculator Pro (Cost: 99 cents)
Before you sign on the dotted line to take on a line of credit, be sure to read the fine print and use your iPhone. With the Loan Calculator Pro app you can quickly calculate (and/or verify) how much you'll have to budget for a monthly payment on a fixed-rate loan such as a mortgage, car loan, student loan or home equity loan, among others.
iXpenseit (Cost: $4.99)
The IPhone app allows you to plug in your monthly budget and get a real-time picture of how your spending is stacking up. It also provides you with:
o Daily averages for your spending (so you can see if you're reining it in or letting it get out of hand)
o The ability to store digital photos of your receipts and export them for quick expense approval or reimbursement from work
o Mileage tracking for business/tax purposes
o One-time setup for recurring expenses (i.e. rent/mortgage, utility bills, etc.)
Bloomberg (Cost: Free)
The best way to stay on top of the market is to stay informed. This app will help you track your portfolio's performance instantly, research potential stocks, get the latest financial news worldwide and more. (For related reading, see A Guide To Portfolio Construction.)
PortfolioLive (Cost: $5.99)
This app allows you to access a real-time snapshot of your investment portfolio, allowing you to stay on top of how your stocks are performing, no matter where you are.
I-Saving and Spending
Wifi Trak (Cost: 99 cents)
Forget paying for wireless internet services once you download the Wifi Trak iPhone app. This app helps you find free and open Wifi hot spots and public access points.
CheapGas (Cost: 99 cents)
The CheapGas app uses the information from GasBuddy.com to help you find the cheapest gas in your area and then conveniently maps out the route to the station for you.
SaveBenjis (Cost: 99 cents)
SaveBenjis is your personal iPhone price comparison tool. The app lets you quickly search online for the absolute lowest price on anything you're thinking about buying. Then it hooks you up with the retailer so you can buy it online, saving you time and money.
Coupon Sherpa (Cost: Free)
This sherpa will help you save money, not scale mountains. It provides with both exclusive coupons and in-store coupons that are advertised online. The app lets you create your own list of favorite stores for easy coupon searching and then find the nearest store to save you time as well. (For more coupon tips, see Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
Shopping the App Bargain Bin
If you're really into IPhone apps, consider downloading the BargainBin iPhone app - it notifies you when an iPhone app goes on sale, allowing you to get those money-managing apps at the lowest possible price.