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Using Mobile Apps to Track Spending

Smartphone tabletBarbara started out writing down her expenses in a notebook, but then she found a phone app to help her manage her money. It took some time and effort to set up, but now that she’s done the hard part of entering all her information, Barbara likes the convenience of having all her spending and savings information on her smartphone. 

There are many mobile budgeting and spending apps available for free and for a fee. Some things to consider when selecting an app:

  • Privacy: If you are someone who doesn’t like to share your private financial information online, then apps might not be the best option for you. Mobile apps are widely used and have built-in security measures; however, any time you share your private information with a third party, you are increasing your risk. 
  • Password-protect your phone to protect your information if your phone is lost or stolen. 
  • Advertisements and sales pitches: Many apps are free, but feature advertisements for fee-based goods and services. Or some apps continuously will try to hook you into upgrades and add-ons.  
  • Set-up and maintenance take effort: Even after you’ve done the legwork to connect your various financial accounts to the app, you likely will need to continuously check and update information in the app to make it useful. Just as with a paper or spreadsheet budget, the app can only do so much for you. You get out of it what you put into it. 
  • Research customer reviews: Look up customer reviews and complaints about specific apps before committing to one.
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