What did we do before smartphones? How did we manage the daily commute without flinging birds at pigs, or contend with waiting rooms without attacking flying fruit with ninja weapons? What did we read at the breakfast table, or (and let’s be honest here) on the toilet?
Total connectivity has enriched our lives in many ways, not least the control we now wield over our current accounts, credit cards and ISAs; there are literally thousands of apps on the market promising to ease financial woes. Behold:
A good app for: Keeping track of your money
Money Lover – Expense Manager is a solid, straightforward and intuitive app that allows you to manage your money on the go. Simply enter your salary and any other income, and then log your spending every time you make a purchase. The free app will remind you of transactions (you’ll be surprised at how much your morning coffee sets you back) and keep you up to date with your balance. No need to link your bank account; you just have to be honest with the app and yourself about how much you're spending every day. You might just get a shock. Available on Android and iPhone.
A good app for: Sending cash quickly
Barclays Pingit is a must for those who are perennially in the debt of their friends because they didn’t bring cash to the restaurant, or couldn’t make it to payday before popping out for a cheeky pint. The free-to-download app allows users to send up to £300 to friends and family via text, using just a phone number, whether they bank with Barclays or not. The whole process is totally secure and is done in seconds. Available on Android, iPhone and Blackberry.
A good app for: Hitting your savings targets
Savings advice is dull: we all know skipping our morning coffee could save us a pretty penny, we’ve heard it hundreds of times before. But when you know exactly how much you could save, things start looking a bit more interesting. Savings Calculator is a simple app that will calculate how much money you could save in a week/month/year by forsaking certain items, or putting a little aside every day. It’s basically a very flash calculator, but it’s quick and effective in driving the money message home. Available on Android and iPhone.
A good app for: Saving money on bills
We’re constantly being told to keep an eye on our energy consumption because it’s good for Mother Nature, but actually, a few minutes spent setting up Meter Readings could save you a small fortune, too. This useful app makes it easy to monitor gas and electricity meters, as well as compare usage and costs against other energy suppliers – you can even switch suppliers directly from the app. The app costs 69p but you’re likely to make that back (and the rest) in energy savings pretty quickly. Available on iPhone.
A good app for: Getting bills paid on timeBillMinder is a sleek and intuitive app which promises you’ll never pay another late fee again by bringing all your bills together in one manageable place. Create alerts and offline notifications, set up automatic payments, view bill histories and trends and, usefully, sync your BillMinder account with others so everyone in your house knows when bills are due – perfect for sharers. Available on iPhone.
A good app for: Managing debt
Loans, credit cards, overdrafts... They each have different terms and conditions and individual institutions will implement their own rates, so it can be tricky keeping on top of charges and interest. Debt Payoff Planner helps users understand their debt better by calculating which debts should be paid off first, how many payments each debt has left, days until debts are wiped, graphs, spreadsheets and payment plan suggestions. It’s not the prettiest app to look at, but hundreds of happy customers say it’s definitely worth the 61p charge. Available on Android.
A good app for: Finding the best price for products
Why spend hours scouring prices in stores and on websites when ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner can do it for you? Simply aim your phone’s camera at the barcode on the product and the app will work its magic, bringing you a list of online and local prices, with lots of helpful info like shipping charges and distances. The updated version also lets you link a credit card for instant purchasing. Available on Android and iPhone.
A good app for: Getting a good deal
MyVoucherCodes Vouchers is, admittedly, one of zillions of coupon apps promising great deals and money off everything from pizza to contact lenses, but we like this one because it gives users top results for vouchers within walking distance of their current location. Simply download and enjoy while you’re already out and about. Available on Android and iPhone.
A good app for: Converting currency
Almost universally known for providing the last word in currency conversion, XE.com will be familiar to most web users. Its free apps are just as simple and intuitive as the website, offering the latest rates, historical data and – usefully – an offline mode. Available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows.
A good app for: Following the market
Bloomberg’s mobile apps are a must-have for business types, with features including news, market data and portfolio tracking tools alongside easy-to-understand charts and graphs that illustrate the importance of global events and market shifts. Just don’t go losing your life-savings in your lunch hour. Available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia.
A good app for: Pretending to be rich
Bank balance looking a bit sad? Debts not shifting? Fear not, for if smartphones are good for anything it’s a spot of escapism. Download Millionaire City to become a powerhouse CEO, build a luxury empire and watch the money roll in. Pretend money, that is (sorry). Available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows.