New Year’s resolutions are pretty popular statements of personal ambition that seem to pop up every year around the end of December. Millions of people, fueled by fresh memories of holiday gorge-fests and shopping sprees, take stock of the year that was and promise themselves that they’ll finally work on that part of their lives that needs some attention. There are lots of different kinds of New Year’s resolutions, but the two most popular ones involve getting in physical and fiscal shape. Unfortunately, the most common resolutions are also among the hardest to keep.
To help out, we’ve come up with a two-part list of the top smartphone and tablet apps for making sure you stick to your health and money goals. In part one, we covered the top five diet and exercise apps that can help you lose weight and get in shape. For part two, we take a look at the top five apps that can help you organize your finances, save money and get out of debt. (NOTE: Spark Energy is commenting on the following apps and sites, but this should not be construed as a formal endorsement of any of them.)
Referred to as a financial aggregator, the Mint app, from the popular website Mint.com, helps people combine all their financial information in one location using one interface. Information on checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, home mortgage, car loan and more can be brought together. The Mint website and the Mint app can help you stay organized and manage your money by setting budgets and financial goals, tracking progress and running reports. The service is read-only so that it’s very secure, but you’ll have to use your normal online banking and other online financial resources to move money in and out of accounts.
Platforms: iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch), Android
Like Mint, Pageonce is a free financial aggregator that lets you pull information on all of your financial accounts into one app. It might not be as comprehensive as Mint, but unlike Mint, Pageonce allows you to pay all your bills as part of a subscription service that has become highly regarded by the app’s regular users. In addition to extended money management features, the app can also set budgets and run reports so you can see where your money is going.
Platforms: Android, Blackberry, iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch), Windows Phone
Price: Free, $4.99 per month for Pageonce Gold bill pay subscription plan
For those who like the idea of managing all their finances in one location but don’t want or need a single app that talks to all their banks and financial accounts, ClearCheckbook might just be the app for you — especially if power and customization are what you need most. ClearCheckbook, along with its corresponding website, is a checkbook register that allows you to enter data about all your transactions, track bills, set reminders, create budgets and produce spending reports. Premium subscribers get access to running balances, custom and advanced reports, transaction histories, multiple users per account and many other extras beyond the free basic service.
Platforms: Android, iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch only), Palm
Price: Free, $4 monthly subscription for premium features
4. Pay Off Debt
The Pay Off Debt app helps users pay down their debts and become debt free using the debt snowball method devised by Dave Ramsey. In the debt snowball method, people pay off their debts from small to large in order to create the momentum needed to pay off larger debts. The Pay Off Debt app takes things a step further by allowing users to choose which debts they pay off first: lowest to highest balance, highest interest rate to lowest interest rate, or in any custom order. The app helps keep track of your debts and payments and calculates how long you’ll pay, how much interest you’ll save and when you’ll be debt free.
Platforms: Android, iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch)
Sometimes all you need is a simple, online checkbook register that helps you manually record your expenses and maintain a running tally of your current checking and savings account balances. If so, then Checkbook is for you. The goal of this quick and easy app is to serve as a replacement for you paper checkbook register so that you can keep track of your money — and avoid overdraft fees and other fees — no matter where you are. For many people, Checkbook may be enough. For others who want to track multiple types accounts, including checking, savings, investments, mortgages and car loans, Mint, Pageonce or ClearCheckbook would be a better choice.
If you have a suggestion for a money and finance app, share it with us and let us know how it worked for you.
“Top Financial Apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, HTC and Nokia,” Chill Geeks, Nov. 11, 2011.
App websites: Checkbook, ClearCheckbook, Mint, Pageonce, Pay Off Debt