Want to save money? There's an App for that!

March 9, 2011 8:35:45 PM PST
Let's face it. For most of us, it's a lot easier to spend money than to save it.

And, if you're like me, you don't really like doing a lot of accounting. But now, you can use your Smartphone to do your personal budgeting and keep track of your spending AND saving. The apps are cool and easy. And best of all, you can watch your money grow.

"The forecast is for 400 million users," explains Rowan University Adjunct Marketing Professor Jennifer Regina, "By 2013 will be using mobile financial applications."

There are two basic kinds of financial apps.

The first are provided by banks. These apps allow you to keep track of your accounts and move money among those accounts using your phone.

"Over 80% of your financial institutions do use some kind of mobile app that they offer their customers," Regina says.

The other kind of financial apps don't allow bank fund transfers, but they do offer all sorts of tools to help you keep track of your money.

The two biggest are Mint.com and PageOnce.com.

To use them, you go online and enter all your financial information -- everything from your income and bank balances to credit cards and utility bill account numbers and due dates.

You can also set up saving goals.

"For example, you want to save such-and-such for a certain time frame," Regina explains. "It will send you emails and updates to let you know that you're achieving that goal."

The apps also remind you when bills are due and alert you to possible overdrafts. PageOnce can even help you keep track of your cell phone usage.

And another app, ProOnTheGo, which is designed for small business owners, allows you to scan receipts and business cards right into your phone as well. This app has a free trial, but you do have to pay for additional features.

And although having all that sensitive financial data on your phone sounds a bit scary from a security standpoint, Regina says there's no need to worry.

"A lot of them now are offering 100% fraud protedtion, so whatever happens to these accounts on your cell phone, you're not responsible for anything," she says. "And these are large credit card companies. As long as within 60 days you tell them that there's something wrong on your account, they'll fix it."

For some other ideas on budgeting apps, check out this blog from Fabulous and Frugal.