The best apps to help keep your spending on track

If it’s true more than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, perhaps a good number of us need some help managing money.

And it might not be as difficult to achieve, if you’re up for soliciting help from free apps that can analyze your spending, provide guidance, and give detailed summaries of your income versus expenses. Considering you don’t go anywhere without your smartphone, one or more of these following freebies for iOS and Android may be all you need to keep you on budget.


Just like the website it’s based upon, Intuit’s Mint app helps you set budgets, track expenses, and reach financial goals. Easily see what you’re spending (and saving) through color-coded lists, charts and graphs, plus you can track your bank account and credit card balances in real-time, follow investments (including 401k contributions), and even break out your expenditures by category.

Choose to receive alerts when it’s time to pay a bill or if you’ve exceeded your budget. See your credit score, export spreadsheets, and get a free credit score. Another convenient feature: a weekly summary email of your money, along with a tab that shows the history of your spending, income, and even net worth over time.

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Another smart money management app, MoneyStrands lets you instantly and securely access bank and credit card accounts, set budget targets (segregated into categories, such as groceries, restaurants, kids, and home), input dates in a calendar to pay bills, track your investments, and see money exchange rates from many world exchanges.

If you’re saving for something big, like a vacation, you can also use MoneyStrands to set a target and track your progress as you work towards your financial goal. Like Mint, you can set up various alerts for your phone or tablet for important finance-related reminders, and glance at your financial health with colorful charts and graphs. An optional feature lets you anonymously compare yourself to others with similar backgrounds and goals.

A few others.

  • An award-winning personal finance app, Level Money helps you track your money as it comes in and out, see what you can safely spend on essentials or luxuries, and take advantage of a daily spending guide to help you stay on track.
  • Access all your financial accounts in one place – such as credit cards, bank balances, loans, and investments — with PocketGuard, an app that helps you stay on top of your spending, reach financial goals, and track your net worth.
  • LearnVest (iOS only) is a smart budgeting app that gives you a big picture view of your financial health, including spending and expense tracking, plus you can connect to a LearnVest Planning expert for a fee.
  • Let your phone help you organize your bills with Manilla, a digital filing cabinet that replaces the ‘ol accordion file. Stay on top of statements and due dates, whether it’s credit cards, household expenses, and subscription services.
  • Ideal for freelancers and small businesses, Receipts by Wave helps you track and categorize all your paper receipts, bills or invoices, and if desired, export them into free cloud-based accounting software.
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    Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. E-mail him at [email protected].