Apps can help you keep control of your spending

The Easy Envelope Budget Aid by Dayspring Technologies takes its cue from an old-fashioned budgeting method.
The Easy Envelope Budget Aid by Dayspring Technologies takes its cue from an old-fashioned budgeting method.
Posted: August 10, 2012

Personal finance applications can speed your decision-making and keep you within a budget. These good apps are all free, and each is available for Android and Apple devices.

Mint.com Personal Finance from Intuit Inc. is an app for detailed tracking of your money. Every penny of income or expenses is broken down. Was that a cash, check, or credit purchase? Mint.com will keep score.

You set up a budget on the touch screen with ease, then let the app monitor your cash flow. Of course, it's only as good as you are at typing in your spending as it happens. The tablet version displays graphs to show where your money's been going.

When you open the Mint.com app for the first time, it asks to be synced with your bank account. Once you provide that permission, it updates balances.

You can set the app to alert you with a text or e-mail when bills are due or when an account balance is low. And because Intuit also owns turboTax, the app is set up to integrate with that program at tax time.

Easy Envelope Budget Aid by Dayspring Technologies takes its lead from the old-fashioned budget advice to keep cash for different purposes in separate envelopes as a way of controlling spending. It's been a good way for many households to discipline spending.

So, in the app, you set up one digital "envelope" for groceries, one for gasoline, and so on. Each expense gets logged as a withdrawal from the appropriate envelope. Couples can register an account to sync transactions among two mobile devices and a website.

PayPal by PayPal Mobile is a convenient mobile version of the eBay-owned online payment service. One of many things the app is supposed to do is scan checks with your phone's camera for deposit with PayPal or a bank account. Unfortunately, my attempts to make that happen failed repeatedly.

You also can use the app to send money from your PayPal account to any other PayPal user by e-mail or a text message and you can use it to request payment by the same means.

If you need to add money to PayPal from your bank account - or transfer PayPal funds back to the bank - the app will do that, too, with a few taps.

With your phone's location service turned on, tap the "Local" icon for a map view of merchants nearby that accept PayPal payments.

For a wider economic view, Yahoo Inc.'s Yahoo Finance is a fast way to see summaries of stock market activity, track a portfolio, and check on economic and business news, including Daily Ticker videos.


Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.

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