With tens of thousands of apps out there for iPhone users, surely there are a few to help the Dough Roller crowd organize, save and keep tabs on their money. In fact, there are more than a few. But only a handful prove to be downright irresistible downloads. Here is our short list.
This iPhone app is for the serious budgeter who wants to check in with his or her finances wherever, whenever. With Mint.com, you can watch checking and credit card balances throughout the day, in real-time and track expenses by category. Screenshots are especially user-friendly and special features include alerts when you go over budget in a certain category or when you are hit with a fee. A four-digit passcode on your account gives you added security and if you lose your phone, you can go to your Mint.com profile (from another computer or phone) and switch off iPhone access to your account. Most users love the concept behind this app but a few lament the slow speed of the newest version.
The Mint.com iPhone app is free.
The Bloomberg iPhone app lets you get out of the office a little more, knowing that you can watch and analyze the world’s markets from any taxi cab, restaurant or deck chair. You’ll have news, stock quotes, company info, and market trends at your fingertips. You can also create a custom list of stocks to follow; your iPhone will keep you posted with updates. Customers seem to love the life-changing properties of this app despite a few idiosyncratic glitches that are being worked out.
The Bloomberg iPhone app is free.
3. Save Benjis
The Save Benjis iPhone app lets you leave your house to go shopping with the ability to access the best internet prices on virtually any product. I really could have used this when buying a new printer last week. I went to two or three stores but didn’t want to buy until I got home and searched online prices.
The sales copy says Save Benjis is like “a worldwide price check,” which is an excellent description, especially for Save Benjis+, a separate app which turns your iPhone into a barcode scanner. Scan any barcode and get prices from hundreds of internet stores in seconds. If you find a better price, you can buy the item right from the app or send yourself a link to visit later. Save Benjis also gets rave reviews pretty consistently, but the version with the built-in scanner (Save Benjis +) appears to need some serious work.
Ironically, the Save Benjis app is not free. It costs 99 cents. Save Benjis+ costs $1.99.
4. Gas Buddy
If you have a long commute or just like/need to drive a lot, you probably spend a good amount of time ferreting out the cheapest pump price. The Gas Buddy iPhone app makes sure you don’t drive too far out of the way to get it.
Enter your ZIP code or City/State data to find gas prices as reported by actual travelers across the U.S. and Canada; people like you and me. The success of this app hinges on the reliability and timeliness of the information reported. Most users would prefer that the service was free for this reason, as it can be invaluable one month and not so hot the next. We’d have to agree about wanting it to be free. Nevertheless, it’s a money-saver more often than not, so it made our list.
The Gas Buddy iPhone app costs $2.99.
5. Home Finder Real Estate Tool
You drive by a house for sale in the neighborhood of your dreams. You pull out your iPhone and plug the address into your Home Finder Real Estate Tool. You learn that it just came on the market and it’s not as expensive as you thought. You then use your Home Finder mortgage loan calculator. You and your family live happily ever after in your new home.
It might seem like an exaggeration, but the iPhone Home Finder app is a great way stay ahead of the competition when a new house pops on the market. It also beats scribbling down an address on a scrap of paper that gets lost in your car. Powered by Trulia, Google Base and Zillow.com, you can find houses by price, size, or location. The only thing wrong with it is that the new version pales in comparison to the first. Despite adding more cities and improving the map view, Version 2.0.1 has many frustrated reviewers. Like the four iPhone apps that precede it, this app made our list because it’s a great idea made better by the ability to take it on the road with you.
The Home Finder Real Estate Tool app is free.