Top Budget and Personal Finance Apps

Let’s face it, there are some extreme couponers, thrifters, and smart consumers out there always trying to save money and get the best deals. With budgets that much more tight in these tough economic times, it’s okay to get a little help from none other than our smartphone apps. I mean, why not, right? We have our smartphones with us nearly every minute of the day, so this kind of smart budgeting is accessible to anyone. Keep track of your monthly spending, set limits on each category of goodies you purchase, save money, and look up investment ideas and accounts has never been easier. Read on to see how you can always control and be on top of your personal finances. We’ll reveal the top budgeting and smart spending apps for you thrifty shoppers out there!

For one, there are so many budget tracking apps out there, but a really useful one would come with a budget tracker tool that will allow you to view your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily purchases. You can further categorize them and see visually and through charts and notifications how much you spend exactly in each category. There is also a rollover option for you to transfer leftover funds from previous months or weeks to roll over and won’t mess up your budgeting. Of course, you can always opt out of this option and have a set number of expenses every month.

Another useful app gives you control to add new transactions over your allotted sum of money and spending finances. Pre-setting an overall budget for the entire month, and thereby deducing every time you make a purchase gives you instant updates on the money you have and the money you are losing. These transactions are totally customizable. Currency converters may also be useful if you plan on spending your money in a foreign country. We all get carried away when we travel, but this app makes it easy to stay focused on the budget, even when you’re not familiar with the currency exchange.

Another great app gives you total control over importing your finances onto your phone from an external memory device – your laptop, desktop, or anything with wireless. You can also set a password to manage your personal finances with utmost privacy. Charts and graphs give you short and easy to read summaries of your account activity. You can share these things in the form of PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or import to Google Documents in order to share with your family, business collegiate, execs, or co-workers.

If you are comfortable, some apps may even connect directly to your bank account and give you automatic categorized notifications of your spending. It will constantly update your spending profile and read instant in depth overviews. Any suspicious activity will be announced. Budget tracking is that easy!

In fact, budget tracking has made it easier to keep track of your credit scores, and credit score reports. Why not try to improve your credit score while you are managing your personal finances? If you use the right app, your personal finances will be in a much better place.

Would You Like to Chase Credit

You can chase credit through the different credit services that are offered. The credit services depend on your need and situation. They range from buying a car to goods for home. The different credit services you can chase are home mortgage loan, auto loan, credit service, education loan, refinance, debt consolidation loan and others. Credit card companies offer other services as well. They include low rates, providing security to customers from fraud or theft and providing benefits and rewards on purchases.

You chase credit because you want to buy many things. Chasing low interest credit to finance your home or car is a very common practice. Bad credit disqualifies a person from many loans and also from securing low interest rates. It is important to chase low interest credit because it will reduce your liability. Low interest credit cards also help you in saving a lot of money in time. Most of the bankruptcies every year are a result of overwhelming debt by those who don’t chase their credit properly.

You probably see many advertisements offering low rates of credit on television and/or newspapers. Most of them stipulate that a person should have good credit Some of the advertisers show only the introductory rate and do not show the subsequent rates. This can create a lot of confusion. The introductory rate will be applicable for a stated period only and it will increase from then on. Therefore it is important to chase credit where the long term APR on a credit is very low. It is safe to find the long-term APR with low interest rates.

Chasing low interest credit is also beneficial in financing your home, automobile or any other items of your choice. In order to get low interest car loan, it is advisable to search online. If it is a home equity loan, it will decrease your monthly payments substantially.

Find your credit rating before you search for a loan on the net. When you see the average rate for people with similar ratings. This way you know where you are and you know the kind of deal you are likely to get.

If you find it difficult to manage your debt, you can seek debt reduction services that bring debt under control. Debt consolidation generally permits you to get loans against security. A secured loan is a low interest loan as it is backed by a collateral. Many large credit companies also offer financial and credit services to help the customers in managing their credit better – from household budget and savings plans to retirement accounts and finding auto insurance.

Improving Your Auto Loan Interest Rate

The auto-lending business is no different than any other form of lending. It is, and always has been about risk. Therefore the loan rate you earn for a major purchase, such as an automobile, is a moving target. The rate you earn partly aligns with your credit score, and partly aligns to other factors, such as income, percentage of other debt, money down, etc. The more you know about how loan-rates are assigned, the better you will be able to equip yourself to earn the best rate when you are ready to purchase a vehicle.

Here’s how you go about getting the best interest rate possible: Put the lender in a position of low risk and you will get a low APR.

Here’s a tale of two brothers who go to a local dealership, each looking to buy a used car. Tom, with a high 715 Beacon score has his eye on a five year-old sedan that will allow him to park the Hemi pickup that never met a gas station it didn’t like. Tom has never missed a payment in his life and has paid off most loans early. Brother Mark, armed with a 640 score crosses his fingers and hopes he doesn’t get his head knocked off with a high interest rate as he tries to buy a one year-old sedan. Mark had some slow pays back in the day, and a couple of medical charges that were paid off just before being turned to collection. Other than that he had a history of paying his current truck off with minor hitches. Tom, the 715, is looking to finance his third vehicle. Both he and his wife have new vehicles-Tom being on both loans. Brother Mark, the 640 score, will be trading in his ten year-old truck (paid for). They both have a similar home mortgages, but 640 Mark has no current auto loans and makes $2000 more per month than Brother 715′s modest salary. Finally, 715 Tom buys the five year-old sedan with a 120% carry (indicating that the loaned amount is 20% past the “book” value of the vehicle), while Brother 640 Mark puts $2500 cash down along with the $3500 trade-in value of his truck, giving him a total of $6000 down-which places his loan, 40% under book value.

Let’s compare: Tom has a high 715 Beacon score, but is asking for his 3rd auto loan. He brings nothing to the table in the way of cash down and needs to borrow 20% beyond the loan value of the vehicle. Finally, he is buying a 5 year old vehicle, which sends a red flag to lenders that there is a good chance he will be spending money on repairs. Brother Mark has a 640 score, but lays out $6000 on a one year-old, low mileage vehicle. His down payment places the loan request at 40 under what the banks deem his vehicle is worth at an auction. Who gets the better interest rate? Brother Mark…take it to the bank.

The lowest credit score I have personally seen, in all my car-selling years, was a deal we not only “got done”, it was a deal in which the buyer received a low interest rate. The main reason was that he purchased his used pickup with a very large down payment, so that the amount the lender loaned was considerably under book value. (He also made a decent wage and had a stable time of residence. If you’re a lender, where’s the risk? The buyer, in this case, could have skipped the next twenty payments while the repo guys chased him all over the country and the vehicle-when they found it-would still be worth more than what was owed.

Here’s some tips on keeping your interest rate low:

High Credit Scores: You think you are safe? Well, let’s suppose your grandpa to four of the sweetest college age kids you could imagine. You’re retired, so your income is fixed, and each kid, one-by-one comes to the well called Grandpa to get a co-signer for their auto loan. Grandpa never missed a payment in 40 years, but as the auto loans pile up, the rates get higher and higher because the exposure to the car loans, when compared to Grandpa’s income, make the loans more and more risky to the lender.

If your score is high, keep a balance to your loans versus income. If you co-sign too many times it may impact your ability to get a good loan.

Middle Credit Scores:

(1) Beware of the dreaded “negative equity” (the vehicle you are trading in is worth less than what you owe)…especially if you are putting no money down.
(2) Consider a loan that is fewer months than you might otherwise have taken. (The average auto loan is around 60 months. Lower that, to say 48 months-assuming the loan is manageable-and the loan becomes more attractive to the lender because the risk just went down.
(3) Consider paying more for a newer vehicle. As mentioned in the Tom and Mark story, most lenders raise interest rates as vehicles get older-due to the likelihood of car payment money being siphoned off to car repair bills.

Low Credit Scores:

(1) Have a large down payment.
(2) If you are on the brink of moving or changing jobs, consider buying your vehicle first, while your loan application shows longer job and residence time. Length of job and residence show stability to a lender, which lowers their risk-and your interest rate.
(3) If you were considering paying cash for a vehicle, consider using that money for a large down payment. Then
(4) pay the vehicle off earlier than the contracted length of the loan. This will place you in a position to lower your interest rate down the road.
(5) Consider paying a reputable company to “clean up” your credit report. Taking off bogus bad marks, and settling minor (negative) hits, could place you in a position to either get a loan that you otherwise might not have earned, or could place you in a bracket that lowers the interest rate you might otherwise have earned.
(6) Consider a co-signer (with good credit). (This won’t always lower your interest rate-especially if your credit is torched, but it may be the difference between getting a loan and not getting one.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Personal Finance

There are many applications for the iPhone that give users the ability to make personal financing easier than ever. While solving one pain-in-the-neck issue, it creates another – which app to buy? Because of the popularity of these headache-reducing apps, there is an overwhelming amount of options available in the App Store. Deciphering which app is the best available is almost impossible. Add in the fact that so many aren’t free, and choosing the right one the first time around could save time and money. Before downloading anything, it’s important to know if the functionality of the app (money transferring, budget tracking, etc.) fits your needs. Provided is a list of ten apps including the price and primary function that can make tracking personal finances much easier.

Mint – There are tons of finance apps available that focus on budget tracking. Few are as popular as Mint, which allows users to manage multiple financial accounts from one simple user interface. With user-friendly features and no price tag, there is little wonder why this app has so many users.

Loan Shark – Dealing with loans is never a pleasant experience. The Loan Shark app helps ease some of the pain endured while handling loans without having to pay anything. It simplifies the process of calculating loans by a great deal and also has many features including a full amortization table, a one-tap extra payment option, and a “favorites” feature.

MoneyStrands – This app is another free option for tracking your budget. With features like alerts, analysis, security, and support, it is one to compare to Mint.

PageOnce – Planning long-term investments can be easy to put off. This app also assists in budgeting your current finances like MoneyStrands and Mint, but really excels in planning for the future. It gives you the ability to look at your 401k, IRA, and stocks all at the same time, while not costing you a cent.

Toshl – Toshl incorporates cloud computing into every day financing with this free app. The cloud feature allows users to automatically sync their mobile movements online. Additionally, there is a premium upgrade ($19.95/year) that allows users to export to Excel, PDF, or Google Docs among other features.

MoneyBook – MoneyBook is another addition to the long line of apps for budgeting. This one, however, comes at a price. Promoted as “Finance with Flair,” the app costs $2.99 and is loaded with features to make financing easier.

SplashMoney – At $4.99, what differentiates this from the free apps is its ability to connect wirelessly to most online bank accounts.

Square – The price is right for this free app that makes credit card purchases simpler than ever. By signing up, Square, Inc. will provide a credit card reader that can be attached directly to the iPhone. Once connected, users have the ability to swipe all major credit cards with only a 2.75% charge per swipe.

PayPal – Ebay-owned PayPal provides users a secure, simple way to send or receive money wirelessly.

General Banking – The bulk of major banks have available apps for free. These provide easy-access to any and all bank accounts in a secure fashion.

This is only a small example of the many, many apps that can help make financing easier. With the continuous release of new applications and updates to old ones, banking from your iPhone will continue to simplify; finding the app for doing so may not. This list is a great place to start looking.

For more information about iPhone application development, visit Magenic Technologies who have been providing innovative custom software development to meet unique business challenges for some of the most recognized companies and organizations in the nation.

Top 5 iPad Finance Apps for Business

The past two years have been a whirlwind in mobile computing and people are embracing these new devices, like the iPad, at breakneck speeds. Apple’s Fourth Quarter revenues jumped 21 percent from a year ago, including the sale of over 11 million iPads. It’s clear that the huge advances in mobile devices are not only changing how we live our personal lives but also how we do business. For business, especially small business, some of the biggest advantages are coming from the app world. If you want to make your business finances a breeze, check out these apps:

1. Square: Credit card transactions have never been easier. The developers of this free app will send you an actual credit card reader that plugs into your iPad. It’s secure, easy, mobile, and even has built in analytics to track sales, collect tips and tax, and send electronic receipts via email or text. There is no need to delay the payment process anymore. Oh, and they only charge a 2.75% transaction fee: no contracts, fees, or merchant accounts necessary.

2. Expensify has the traveling business world in an uproar. The features of this app are impressive at the least: sync banking information to track purchases in real time, digitize receipts to reduce the chance of losing them (just snap a picture and the app will discern and note the necessary info), customize and email reports for approval, and be reimbursed to your checking account. You’ll be your accountant’s best friend with the organization and ease provided by this app.

3. Time Master + Billing: With a 4 star rating in the app store, this app sets the bar for time and expense tracking. The overall best feature is flexibility to be customized to fit how you work – rounding minutes, multiple running timers, billing rates, expenses, client project/tasks, and so many more options. There are even additional modules available to include invoicing, QuickBooks export, and wireless sync between mobile devices.

4. Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal: Similar to Square but a little bit more involved. It’s also a free app, but you have to jump through a few more hoops (AKA a 15 minute application process) to be approved to use this service. However, if you’re looking for a proven brand name, this may be for you.

5. QuickBooks Connect: This is a great supplement to your QuickBooks Online subscription (QuickBooks 2011 users you’ll have to get a paid subscription to use this app past 30 days). Manage customer information and balances; create invoices and sales receipts; convert estimates to invoices; email estimates, invoices, and sales receipts and more with this handy app.

Mobile computing can make all the difference in the efficiency of your business. Look for the bottlenecks in your financial administration and ask yourself, is there an app for that?

Kristi Daeda is an online marketing strategist that works with companies nationwide to define and execute powerful online marketing strategies. Read more about her thoughts on online marketing at her website [http://www.powerhousestrategy.com] or as featured on Mobile Apps Designers.