Talking tech since 2003

Different types of technology — particularly, online services and applications — have helped make life easier in a number of different ways. One of those ways? How you manage your finances. There are many Web and smartphone apps we can use to make sure know exactly how much money we have and what we’re spending it on so that we live within our means.

I’m going to run through the services, apps and methods I use to stay on track with my finances. There are definitely alternatives available and you may find that you prefer these to the products I’ve listed. Whether or not you use these particular products, one thing is for certain: they can help you manage your finances better.

Your Bank’s Smartphone App

This one will depend on whether or not your bank has a smartphone app. If it doesn’t, it might be a good idea to move to a bank that does. Most bank apps will allow you to see the current balances of your checking and savings accounts, and some might even let you deposit checks using your smartphone camera. If you need to know the exact amount of money you have in your account, there’s no quicker way to do so than by using your bank’s smartphone app.

Checkbook Register App

Keeping a traditional checkbook register is so old-fashioned. Why do that when you can keep that data right on your smartphone, a device you likely carry with you everywhere? By utilizing a checkbook register, you can see the actual value of your accounts minus any outstanding checks or pending bill payments. I use an app called Pocket Expense for the iPhone, but there are many of these apps available for all smartphone platforms.

Ever wonder where all of your money goes? Mint is a great tool for keeping track of your spending. It can pull in all of your financial accounts, and allows you to create a budget using your monthly income and add sub-budgets for all of your spending categories; for instance, groceries or student loans. Over the course of the month, you can look in on your Mint account to see how much you’ve spent in each category to make sure you’re not going over your budget.

Mint also helps you create “Goals,” which are incentives to save for. You might create a Goal for a vacation you want to take or a new toy that you want to buy.

You may have to manually change spending categories for some of your transactions the first time around, but Mint is pretty smart about automatically categorizing any new transactions that appear from that point on.

Credit Karma

Like it or not, credit reports play a big part in our financial lives. They determine whether or not we’re approved for credit cards and car loans, and they also have an effect on the interest rate for our mortgages. Using Credit Karma can help you stay on top of your credit score and alert you to any new inquiries or derogatory marks that might hurt your score. You can check your score on Credit Karma daily and doing so won’t add any hard inquiries to your credit reports.

Google Drive

There are a number of ways you can use Google Drive to keep your financial house in order. For starters, you can utilize the spreadsheet app to handle any financial calculations you need to do. You can also use your Drive storage to store digital copies of financial documents like tax returns or credit reports. If you install the Google Drive app on your iPhone or Android device, you can keep these records with you wherever you go.

Do you use any other apps to help manage your finances? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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