It’s no secret that between gifts, decorations and food for lavish meals, holiday expenses can quickly begin to add up. Keeping up with exactly how much you’ve spent versus how much you have coming in is an integral part of managing your budget for the holiday season, and is a task that used to be completed with an ink pen and check register. These days, however, the technology brought to the very tips of your fingers by Apple’s iPhone mobile device allows you to track and manage your holiday spending easily, provided you have the right apps to do so. These 10 App Store offerings are among the most popular budgeting apps on the iPhone market, and can help you to keep up with all of that good-cheer spending before it gets out of control.
- iXpenseIt – Named one of the “Best iPhone apps” by CNN Money Magazine and awarded UK CNET’s Home Screen Awards for Best Finance App, iXpenseit is a great tool for managing not only your holiday spending, but your year-round budget as well. Store photo receipts for all of your purchases, manage your accounts, and balance your income against your expenditures with a few quick taps of the screen with this $4.99 app.
- PayPal – If you’re ordering a significant number of your holiday gifts online, the free PayPal app is a great tool for keeping track of not only how much you’ve spent, but also managing your existing balance and transferring funds quickly and easily anytime, no matter where you are.
- Checkbook√ Free – With this free app, you’ll never have to manually enter another figure in your paper check register again. Keep up with credit card charges, checks written and cash purchases while generating graphs and reports to serve as visual aids representing your holiday spending.
- Balance – Balancing all of your accounts and the expenses you’ve incurred as a result of holiday spending is a snap with this free app, which will automatically recalculate the balance of an account each time you enter a new transaction and also comes with a password-protect feature to keep your holiday purchases and gift items away from prying eyes.
- iSpending – Tracking your holiday spending in relation to the amount of money you have coming in can be a challenge, as the season is fraught with last-minute gift purchases and surprise expenses. This free app will allow you to keep up with exactly how much you’ve spent, and how much is available in your remaining balances for expenses of both the daily and unexpected varieties.
- Calculate Discount & Sales Tax – Shopping for holiday gifts requires you to not only factor in sales tax amounts in order to stay within your budget, but also to quickly calculate discounted amounts when taking advantage of holiday sales. This $0.99 app is designed specifically for that purpose, allowing you to manage your gift-shopping funds quickly and easily.
- Expenses and Income – CashTrails – This $4.99 app allows you to quickly and easily view budgeting information relating to specific expenses by separating purchases into groups. With a few taps of the screen, you can separate your holiday purchases from those of an everyday nature, giving you a more accurate picture of where your money is going during the holiday season.
- SplashMoney – Personal Finance Manager – Connect your iPhone directly to your bank’s online banking capabilities to download your transactions into this $4.99 app so that you can analyze your expenditures and create budgets for your holiday shopping. You can also sync to your computer in order to further manage your finances from the desktop client.
- Day Bank – Budget Expenses Checkbook – The $1.99 Day Bank app seeks to render your checkbook register obsolete by managing all of your bills, accounts and budgets within one application. Using Day Bank will allow you to determine how much room there is in your budget for holiday purchases, as well as how much those purchases set you back after they’re completed.
- Pennies – This $2.99 app has a simple and intuitive interface that makes tracking expenses quick and easy. The Overview option even allows you to determine what your top expenses are, record purchases, and view daily receipts from within the application.
Using these apps to manage your holiday spending is a great way to avoid going into debt or incurring larger bills than your budget can comfortably support, but only if you actually use them. To get the most out of your budgeting apps, it’s important to input every one of your holiday-related expenditures that you incur throughout the season, so that you aren’t greeted with a nasty surprise as a result of forgotten purchases.