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The Good Life For Less: Are Money Apps Right For You?

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(credit:  Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

(credit: Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

There’s a whole new financial world out there — one where your bank is in the palm of your hands and your financial info is floating in space. That can be both helpful and a security risk — if you’re not paying attention.

I told you earlier this week in a blog post about some of the best new apps chosen by Appitalism.com. But there are other really great, time-tested apps that have helped people keep their financial business in order and keep living “the good life.”

I got a chance to ask Appitalism.com CEO, Simon Buckingham, a few questions about mobile finance tools — the things to look out for when choosing them, security issues, and his personal favorites.

Alison: Since Appitalism.com is a social community, what have you found to be a “reader favorite” for those types of apps?

Simon: The fan favorite is definitely Mint. It’s one of the oldest financial-management programs in the cloud, and it’s got a powerful set of features along with integration with some of Intuit’s software.

A: Are there free apps you can think that may help people keep their finance in check?

S: Mint is the obvious one, but Pageonce is a strong contender. Most banks, such as Bank of America and Chase, offer their own dedicated money management apps as well. All of these are available on Appitalism.com for Android and iOS for no charge. (Note For ‘Good Lifers': These are also available for free at most other app stores – just pick your fav.)

A: What is your personal favorite money saving, money tracking app?

S: That honor goes to Pageonce. Not only does it tie into most banks and credit cards to show your balance, it also tracks your spending, alerts you to upcoming bills, and tracks frequent flyer miles and texts. It even takes your credit cards’ APR’s and investment returns into account. Everything is synchronized with their secure servers so you can use it on all your devices. It’s really a fantastic app.

A: What is the best way to find good financial apps?

S: We’d say to search Appitalism, but we’re biased! Finding a good financial app is similar to finding any other type of app. Search your favorite app store for ‘Money’, ‘Bills’, etc, or your bank or credit card name, or check your app store’s Finance section. Lifehacker, WalletPop, and other such blogs are always good for advice. Banks themselves often have fantastic dedicated apps, which give you a direct link to your account as well as the safety of knowing your information isn’t passing through a third party.

A: Anything else people should look for when getting financial apps?

S: Safety is first and foremost — read lots of reviews and do lots of searching to ensure an app won’t make off with your banking info. Be honest with yourself — if you’re a bit lazy, don’t use an app that requires you to enter every transaction manually. If you’re prone to overspending, find one that can alert you if your balance is getting low. And always remember, computers fail. The best financial advice is to be diligent, keep an eye on your finances, and stay in touch with a knowledgeable financial expert.

I completely agree with being aware of what you buy. Search sites for the best reviews and see what’s tested well over time. For some other great financial apps, click here to see (one of my favorite sites) Lifehacker’s pick for five best mobile finance tools.

And tune in  at 10 a.m. Sunday to ‘WCCO Sunday Morning’ when I’ll be a guest on Esme Murphy’s show — telling you some of the best ways to track down those apps and the potential pitfalls of online finances.

I want to know: what is your favorite financial app? If you have one or know of any other deals, share them with other ‘Good Lifers’ in the comment section. You can also read more money-saving blog posts here and text WCCODEALS to 84816 for a ‘deals of the week’ reminder.

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