Until recently it had been far too easy to fall in the trap of relying on a not-so-keen sense of frugality to keep your expenditures in order–especially while out and about. Was it just last week that you bought that new TV you had to have because it was on sale? Did your buddy Ted already pay you back for that one time you covered his dinner because he forgot his wallet at home? Maybe you’ve got a few hundred dollars to go before you hit your spending limit, right?
We all know how those stories end. You end up missing payments, dealing with overdraft fees or penalties, and falling into debt. Okay maybe that’s an overstatement–but it can happen often enough that it remains a very real worry.
Thankfully the proliferation of smartphones has given consumers a very useful tool for keeping finances in line. Because of the vast popularity of both the iPhone and Android, most major banking, credit card, and otherwise money-related companies have apps available for one or both platforms. So rather than having to trust that you have all of your expenditures in order, you can simply pull out your phone and make certain.
Here are a few apps to help you get that done:
Every major bank, and most small ones as well, offers an app that allows you to do everything from view your account balance, transfer funds between one or more of your accounts and even pay bills. Additionally, if you’re a Chase customer, their app even allows you to deposit money by simply taking a picture of your check with your phone’s camera, giving you the option of avoiding ATMs for the rest of your life if you so desire.
If you insist on depositing your checks in person, or you need to withdraw cash, most banking apps also take advantage of your phone’s GPS to guide you to the nearest ATM or physical location. This way you’ll know exactly where to turn (literally) if you’re strapped for cash and need to grab some or want to quickly deposit that paycheck you’ve had sitting around in your wallet.
If you’re like many consumers, you’ve got about as many credit cards as you do fingers on your hand. Keeping track of each of them individually can be a hassle, leading to missed payments, debt, and the resulting damage to your credit rating. The Pageonce app–available for every major platform (even Windows Phone of all things!)–allows you to easily sidestep this by managing everything for you.
After adding all your various cards and accounts into the app, the Pageonce app will give you notifications for everything from bill due date reminders to low funds–and will even track your mobile phone minute, data, and text usage, so you don’t have to worry about overage fees. In addition, the app will even track your frequent flyer mile and rewards earnings, allowing you to see exactly how much of each you’ve accumulated.
In short, if you’ve dealt with money at all in your life and own any sort of debit or credit card, this app is simply a must have.
It’s inevitable that, at some point, you’ll have to borrow money from a friend or a friend will have to borrow money from you. In an ideal world, we’d all pay each other back as soon as possible and none of us would ever have to ask to be repaid more than once. For those times where you’re worried about possibly forgetting a loan, or a friend forgetting to repay one, the PayPal app allows you to quickly transfer funds between accounts–all for the unbeatable price of free.
Furthermore, like the Chase mobile app, the Paypal one allows you to deposit funds by simply taking a picture of your check through the app and adding in all the requisite details. And, like the other banking apps, it allows you to manage your funds and view your balance to get a quick glance of what you have and don’t have available to spend.
Although you might not be able to completely eliminate everything you do involving your expenditures with your phone, getting notifications for important events, periodically checking your accounts, and generally just staying in the loop can help to ensure you don’t end up in any unenviable financial situations. Having the right apps on hand to help keep you on the ball can be invaluable–especially in a time where managing your money is more important than ever.
This is a guest post from Kenny Kraisornkowit who offers shopping advice, product reviews and ways to save money on tech gear and gadgets at Savoo, the U.K.-based version of the popular deal site, Savings.com.