Manage income and expenses, pay bills, estimate your taxes, and crunch your mortgage costs, all with the help of these handy apps.
Mobile devices have made managing personal finances a lot easier. Not only has mobile banking become prevalent, but there are also countless apps that can help you to manage your finances. This article examines five such apps.
Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.
1: Toshl Finance
Toshl Finance (Figure A) is a fairly simple app that can help you manage your income and expenses and track your spending over time. The app reports on income vs. expenses for various timeframes: yesterday, last month, etc.
A couple of things about this app are really helpful. For starters, you can configure it to remind you to enter your data for the day. For instance, you might choose to be reminded every night at 7:00. Another nice feature is automatic currency conversion based on the latest exchange rates --very handy for those who travel.
Toshl Finance is available for iOS, Android, Symbian, and Windows Phone.
2: Money Lover
Money Lover (Figure B) is similar to Toshl Finance, but has a few key differences. Unlike Toshl Finance, Money Lover doesn't provide reminders or currency conversion. Even so, I actually like Money Lover a little bit better for two reasons.
First, Money Lover has an option to be cloud enabled, making it possible to access your data on multiple devices. Second, Money Lover lets you categorize your income and expenses so that you can easily see where you are making the most money and where you are spending the most money. For example, you can categorize an expense as food, entertainment, or travel.
Money Lover is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
3: Prism (formerly Mobilligy)
Prism (Figure C) is a free bill-paying app for your mobile device. Even though most banks seem to offer online bill pay, there is something to be said for having a dedicated app. For one thing, the app is specifically formatted for mobile devices. My bank's bill pay feature is nearly unusable on a mobile device because of the screen layout. Prism, on the other hand, uses a clean interface that is specifically formatted for mobile device use. I also like the fact that Prism is available on a variety of platforms, thereby ensuring a consistent experience across devices.
Prism is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Kindle Fire.
Of all of the apps on this list, TaxCaster (Figure D) is probably my favorite. For a lot of people, tax season seems to be a major source of either anticipation (if you are expecting a refund) or anxiety (if you owe money). TaxCaster can help you to better anticipate your refund or tax bill by giving you a ballpark idea of what to expect. This knowledge can be critical for those who are going to owe a large sum of money.
The software isn't as comprehensive as a full-blown tax preparation application, but it still does a good job of providing an estimate. The software just asks you a few basic questions and then provides the results. You can also use the software as an easy way of experimenting with various what-if scenarios.
Presently, only the 2013 version of the software is available because the 2014 tax year has not ended yet. Even so, the 2013 software provides an idea of what to expect from the 2014 version.
TaxCaster is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
5: Bankrate Mortgage App
Lots of mortgage calculators are available on the Internet, but the Bankrate Mortgage App (Figure E) is one of the best. There are a couple of really nice things about this app. For starters, most mortgage apps are geared solely toward those who are buying a house (which probably isn't something you do every day). The Bankrate Mortgage App, however, also provides a refinance calculator so that you can tell whether it's in your best interest to refinance your home.
The software also retrieves the current mortgage rates and automatically compares rates for various banks. To top things off, the Bankrate Mortgage App provides helpful advice on getting ready for the purchasing or refinancing process.
Bankrate Mortgage App is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows Phone.
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What are your favorite tools for managing your finances? Share your suggestions with fellow TechRepublic members.