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7 Money Apps to Simplify Your Financial Life

They'll help you pay bills, file expenses and track tax deductions

By Jeanette Pavini and MarketWatch

(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.)

Whether you’re paying off a little holiday debt or setting financial resolutions for 2015, you’ve probably got money on the mind in January.

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a fresh approach with your finances. One way to get your financial life in order is to take advantage of apps that can streamline the process.

From splitting the dinner bill to tracking down a lost receipt, here are seven apps that will simplify your financial life:

1. Shoeboxed
Expense reports can be time-consuming and, overall, just a big headache. Snap a picture of your receipt with Shoeboxed and the app will extract the information needed to generate an expense report.

This makes it easy to archive receipts as you spend. It also uses your phone’s built-in GPS to make mileage tracking simple as can be. You can export expenses to QuickBooks, Excel and other formats, so you're able to convert your expenses into your company’s preferred format.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: iOS and Android

2. OneReceipt
More stores are turning to online receipts, which is meant to simplify things but can actually make tracking down a receipt more complicated. Now you might have some receipts in your wallet, some in your work email and others in your personal email. It’s hard to remember where to look.

OneReceipt will keep them all in one place. Digital receipts from your Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook email accounts will be automatically added. Simply take a photo of paper receipts with your phone to add them. Other features include a monthly spending summary, return alerts and access to shipping status.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: iOS

3. SplitWise
SplitWise is a must-have for roommates or group travel. It keeps track of who paid what and how much each person owes and is owed. You choose when to settle up and they add and subtract all of the IOUs to come up with a final tally.

If roommate A pays for Internet and cable and roommate B covers electricity and the Costco run, SplitWise would eliminate the need to write four checks back and forth. Instead, you can wait until all the monthly expenses come in and then see who owes and who is owed. You can use PayPal or Venmo to settle up.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: IOS and Android

4. SplitWise: Plates
Doesn’t it feel like every time you go out to dinner with a group, you end up paying for way more than you actually ate? A new app from the makers of SplitWise, Plates lets you split a check with up to 10 people. Enter each individual’s dish, then include shared items like appetizers. The app will calculate tax and tip, then let each person know what they owe.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: iOS

5. Venmo

This app makes it possible to instantly pay people back. The idea is similar to SplitWise, but Venmo works great for one-time payments. Search for friends by phone number, email or Facebook to send payments. Send money fee-free when you use a major debit card.


Receiving money is always free. Bonus tip: If you have a rewards card, offer to put those baseball tickets or that hotel room on your card. Your friends can use Venmo to pay you back instantly, but you still get the rewards points for the purchase.

Cost: Free (3% fee for payments made with credit cards and non-major debit cards); Compatibility: iOS and Android

6. Mint Bills

This is the new name for the app formerly know as Check, which was acquired by Mint this past summer. (You may already be familiar with Mint’s Personal Finance app, which helps track spending and budget). Mint Bills is separate from that app and focuses on bill-paying.

Monitor your bills, bank accounts and credit cards from one place with this app. Alerts and the ability to see everything at a glance, can help you avoid missed payments, over drafting or exceeding credit limits.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone

7. TurboTax ItsDeductible

Start the new tax year off right with the TurboTax ItsDeductible app. Throughout the year, use the app to track any charitable donations. When it’s time to pay your taxes, you can easily import them to TurboTax.For donated items, the app will give you actual resale value based on the style and condition. It will also alert you to what the IRS is allowing as a deduction to help reduce your risk of an audit.

Cost: Free; Compatibility: iOS

Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, documentarian and author Jeanette Pavini covers consumer and investigative news for numerous publications, radio and television. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettepavini.


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