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Five Personal Finance Apps to Try for 2012

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Everybody from the government (how ironic) to personal finance experts are telling us that we need to manage our money better and that’s good advice but managing money requires us to use something that we’re a little low on: Time. What we do have is a smartphone and making smart, data driven choices as well as keeping a more frequent eye on our accounts is easy on those devices but only if we can find an app that makes that task easy.

The problem is finding one. According to Apple, there are now more than 500,000 apps to choose from and although Google isn’t as forthcoming as Apple, estimates indicate that there are now more than 200,000 Android apps.

It’s great to have choices and as we know, only a fraction of those will be finance apps but still, who has time to try all of them or even read about them? Here are a few that should make your short list of personal finance apps to check out.


I know that the debate over the best apps can get as heated as a political debate but after trying a lot of apps, I can’t find a “financial snapshot” app that comes close to Mint. Mint allows you to set up one page that has all of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, and loan accounts all in one place. You can monitor your accounts and Mint even makes recommendations about how to lower payments and save money. Head to and sign up. Then, download the app.

CNBC Realtime

If you’re a financial news junkie, there are a lot must have apps including Bloomberg, Yahoo! Finance, and Stocktwits but at the top of the list is the CNBC Realtime app. Not only do you get breaking economic news, but their coverage of all markets is comprehensive and easy to see in one place.

Portfolio Live

If you need an app to track your stock portfolio, my favorite is Portfolio Live. This app isn’t free but of all of the stock apps I’ve tried, this has been my favorite. It’s organized the data very intuitively. They also have Futures Live, an equally impressive app that tracks futures of all types but for futures tracking, I recommend the new free app from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.


Twitter? Yes, twitter. You aren’t going to manage your finances using twitter but if you’re looking for one place to get financial news, personal budgeting tips, investment information, and just about any other financial information you can think of, twitter is the place to go. Nobody said that you have to tweet. Using it as a media aggregator is just as valuable.

iHandy Tip Calculator

First, don’t pay for a tip calculator. There are a lot of apps that cost up to $9.99 but unless you’re an international traveler and need to tip in foreign currency the basic free app will be fine. The iHandy Tip Calculator not only works well but it looks good too. You can calculate using different percentages of the bill as well as figure out how to split the bill between other people at the table.

I, like most people, have way too many apps on my phone and most of those are free. I’m not opposed to purchasing an app but in my experience, you can satisfy all of your personal finance needs with a free app. What are your favorites?

{ 5 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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5 Responses to “Five Personal Finance Apps to Try for 2012”

  1. Fabclimber says:

    This article offers some good advice, but put all your account information out in cyberspace in one place is just asking to have your identity stolen! Especially if you lose your phone or it is hacked (a more and more common occurance these days).

  2. timparker says:

    Certaintly a good argument for exercising some common sense. The only pushback I have for that is the fact that all of your informaiton already is in cyberspace. Apps like Mint are simply pulling information from online sources. Most high quality finance apps have passwords that can be set. Additionally, Apple has the “find my phone” app that allows you to remotely render your phone useless from a remote location. Don’t know if Android has the same thing.

  3. Strebkr says:

    I have no problem with using online services for banking, investing, credit, etc, but I just don’t like the idea of one service aggregating all of it in only place like mint. Its too much risk and not enough benefit for me to switch from my desktop based quicken to mint.

    I have heard great things about it.

  4. timparker says:

    Any argument for more safety is a good one. You may be safer than the rest of us. 🙂

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