A smartphone can be an amazing tool for many aspects of your life, from maintaining social connections and entertaining yourself with games, to taking care of work emails and catching up on the news.
Your finances are no different. Developers for both Android and iOS have developed a plethora of apps that can help get your finances in order. From saving money on groceries to protecting your identity, these apps will help you get the most out of your money and keep you safe while doing it.
I’ve tried apps by the dozen, and these are the ones that are head and shoulders above the rest. All of them (except for one, which I’ll explain below) currently have a home on my smartphone.
For tracking your spending and budgeting smartly, try You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget is simply the best spending tracker and budgeting tool out there. It makes tracking your expenses incredibly easy and provides several tools for looking at the data and finding holes in your budget. You don’t have to enter any account information, meaning that the data stays private, and you can also easily sync it with your desktop. My family uses the mobile and desktop versions for all our budgeting needs.
For viewing all of your accounts in one place, try BillGuard. This app does an amazing job combining all your financial information into one central viewpoint, showing your overall financial progress. The app integrates offers from various financial companies competing for your business, making it very easy to find better rates. My favorite feature is the transaction-by-transaction approval. The app shows every transaction on your credit card and bank statements and makes you approve them one by one, so you can ensure they’re real transactions and not bank errors or fraud. (While this app is fantastic, it’s the only one on this list that I don’t actively use. I’m a bit of a privacy fanatic, and I’m uncomfortable having all my account information in one place.)
For getting a grip on your food spending, try Paprika. Paprika serves as a recipe database (it’s integrated with a Web browser, so you can download recipes from your favorite websites), but it also serves as a meal planner and a grocery list generator. Once you have some of your favorite recipes in the program, planning your meals for the week is simple. Just two taps and you’ve marked a recipe for dinner on Tuesday and added the needed ingredients to a grocery list, ensuring that you don’t wander the grocery store aisles spending your valuable money on food items you don’t need.
For comparing prices while in the store, try RedLaser. RedLaser is a price-comparison app that works with a large number of online retailers. Just scan the UPC bar code with this app while you’re in the store, and it pulls up competing offers for the same item from all over the Internet. You can block retailers you don’t want to see as well, trimming the list down just to the retailers you want to shop with. Whenever you’re about to make a significant purchase, a quick check with RedLaser can save you some significant cash.
For trimming your gasoline spending, try GasBuddy. GasBuddy lets you check gasoline prices at all the stations near your current location, so you can quickly identify which station to use to save a few bucks on your next fill-up. You can also update the data by reporting the prices at stations you see, helping others get the best deal. When traveling, it’s also easy to compare gas prices in different states.
For finding and gathering coupons, try Coupon Sherpa. In terms of maximum number of coupons and minimal privacy issues, Coupon Sherpa is the best of the coupon apps. The app usually has a ton of coupons for all kinds of things, from groceries to clothing, and is easy to search and use. This is a great app to pair with the app from your preferred grocery and department store retailers, as those usually provide access to store flyers and store-specific coupons.
For protecting your identity, try 1Password. 1Password is the best all-around password organizer that I’ve found. It stores all your passwords with intense security behind a single passphrase that you remember, so you can have just one complicated password to protect all your stuff. It generates passwords for specific sites for you that are hard to hack, but you won’t have to remember them because 1Password remembers them for you. (You just need to remember that one complicated password to log in.)