Tag Archives: Mint

7 Apps for Planning a Spring Break Trip

By Tracey Dowdy

Planning a Spring Break trip can be equal parts excitement and dread. The promise of relaxation and getting away from it all can be overshadowed by the reality of expenses and scheduling. Whether you’re traveling alone or with family and friends, these apps can help you plan, stay within your budget and make the most of those days away.

TripIt

TripIt is a godsend for planners and laid back travelers alike. By pulling all your reservation information from confirmation emails, TripIt takes all those flight details, rental car agreements, hotel addresses and so on and creates one streamlined itinerary. Best of all, TripIt is fully functional offline which is ideal if you’re travelling abroad and roaming isn’t available. (Free – iOS, Android)


App in the Air

App in the Air acts as your flight concierge. TripIt integration means you won’t miss your flight, as any delays, gate changes or updates are sent to you in real time. The app makes it easy to manage your time by breaking each trip into 4 stages – check-in, boarding, takeoff, and landing – and creating a countdown so you know how much time you have to grab a snack before boarding. If you’re traveling with a group, you can track their flights as well. Once you’re back on the ground, links to local cabs are available to get you to your final destination hassle free. (Free but with in-app purchases – iOS, Android)


Mint

Mint makes sure your vacation regrets are limited to bad karaoke and questionable sushi by helping you stick to a budget. Few things can ruin a trip faster than realizing you’re spending way more than you intended. Set a spending limit before you leave and Mint will track your expenses in real time and let you know when you’re getting close or surpassing your limit. (Free – iOS, Android)


Google Translate

Google Translate may seem like an odd suggestion but the most recent update lets you have conversations in real time via Conversation Mode. Open the app, select the two languages you’d like to converse in, tap the microphone and speak. You can also translate street signs, menus and other text by using your phone’s camera. Simply hold the camera over written text and Word Lens immediately translates the text into English. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)


XE Currency

XE Currency takes the guess work out of “How much is that in dollars?” You can convert over 180 currencies at up-to-the-minute exchange rates. The app works off line as well by storing the most recent rates. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)


WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a smartphone messenger that uses 3G or Wi-Fi when it’s available to exchange messages across platforms and is a great alternative if you’re only traveling for a week or less and don’t want to change your phone plan. Just switch from SMS to WhatsApp to exchange messages, pictures, videos or audio clips with family and friends. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)


Viator

Viator is ideal for making the most of your trip while sticking to a budget. Whether you like to explore or are just looking for an alternative to the beach on a rainy day, Viator helps you find and book the best deals on local attractions, museums, tours or even popular local hangouts.  (Free – iOS, Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Apps for Managing Your Finances

By Tracey Dowdy

Ah January – the month of new beginnings and sobering bank statements. If you find yourself staring at financial disaster, or even if you’re in good shape and want to stay there, these apps can help.

Mint

Mint tops just about every list of “Best Apps for Managing Finances.” This secure app allows you to track transactions using your checking accounts, savings accounts and credit cards all in one place. Simple, easy-to-read graphs help you understand information at a glance and keep records up-to-date. You can create a budget, set up automatic bill payments and reminders, check your credit score, and get alerts about any unusual charges.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free


Level Money

Level Money takes the “keep it simple” principle seriously by dividing your finances into four categories: Income, Bills, Save, and Spendable. Once you input your banking information (secured by Intuit), Level Money looks at your expenses and creates simple graphs showing what money you have and what you can spend each day. Level Money isn’t an intense money management app, but if you’re looking for something simple to help you stay on track, it’s ideal.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Expensify

Expensify is also divided into four primary categories – SmartScan, Add Expense, Track Time, and Track Distance – and is especially effective if you need to separate business and personal expenses. If you like to keep your receipts but don’t want to keep paper copies, use “SmartScan” to take a photo of the receipt, categorize it and then add to an expense report. If you prefer to track spending manually, “Add Expense” lets you input necessary information and again add to expense reports. “Track Distance” is great for freelancers or independent contractors, as you can track mileage via odometer or by clicking “location” and using GPS. “Track Time” does simply and exactly that – tracks the hours worked – again ideal for freelancers or independent contractors.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free


Money

More suitable for business or international travel, Money tracks and balances all your cash, debit, credit and savings accounts through manual or Open Financial Exchange (OFX) import. The App includes Balance, Transactions, Budget and Reports tabs for easy reference and management. Automatically converts currencies and enters recurring transactions. All data can be backed up and downloaded to a desktop. iCloud capability allows syncing across other iOS devices.

Platform: iOS
Cost: $2.99


Dollarbird

Dollarbird is a great app if you want to get a handle on just how much and on what you’re spending your money. Simply input daily expenses and they appear as a single total for that day. Dollarbird also includes the option to color code expenses in customizable categories. If you want to see how much that Starbucks habit is actually costing you or how much you spend eating out in general, add those expenses to the appropriate category then swipe though days and see how it adds up. You can add your income and overall budget, and Dollarbird will create a graph mapping your expenses or make them available for download to a CSV spreadsheet.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Apps to Help with Those New Year Resolutions

By Robyn Wright

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Often we fail to keep them past the first few weeks, but don’t worry, help is at hand! There are lots of apps to keep you on track and help you achieve your goals. Here are 6 examples:

calorie-counterWeight Loss Resolution
Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal

This is a popular app for those looking to lose weight and eat healthier. You can track your calories using the database of over 4 million different food types and get fit by following the 350+ exercises. If you have other fitness devices, many of them will work in conjunction with the MyFitnessPal suite of apps. Available for iOS and Android.


mintFinancial Wellness Resolution
Mint

If your resolution is to get a better handle on your money this year, then Mint is a great tool to use. It is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phones as well as through the web. Link all your accounts, investments, and loans to get the big picture of your finances. Be reminded of when bills are due, create a budget, and even keep track of and improve your credit.


udemyLearn To Resolution
Udemy

Are you trying to improve yourself in the new year by learning something new? Udemy offers thousands of courses on-demand. You can learn about business, health, hobbies, photography, programming, and so much more. Available for iOS and Android devices.


TEDBe Inspired Resolution
TED Talks

TED Talks can inspire us in both our personal and business lives. They are a series of short talks that cover all kinds of topics. Speakers give thoughtful and entertaining presentations on their chosen topic and often convey ideas in dynamic ways. The app is available for iOS and Android.


everbote-app-100Get Organized Resolution
Evernote

Chances are you have already heard someone mention Evernote. It is an incredibly popular and useful tool to keep anything and everything organized. Not only are there the original Evernote apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones, but there are a huge number of other apps that help with more specific tasks and work right alongside the main app. Think of it as your desk where you keep everything. It helps you work, write, collect, find and present, all in one easy-to-access place.


trip-advisorTravel More Resolution
TripAdvisor

If you are planning to see more of the world this year, then TripAdvisor is a great app to help you explore locations, get to your destination, and find the best places to stay. The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones.


Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!

 

Apps to Help You Through the Holiday Season

By Tracey Dowdy

The holiday season is upon us and to make sure that light up ahead is the light at the end of the tunnel and not the train coming at you, here are a few apps to help you enjoy and not endure the Holiday season.

Getting organized is essential to successfully navigating the holidays.

  • EasilyDo organizes everything from do-do lists to travel. Get weather and travel alerts, link to your bank accounts, email, Facebook, LinkedIn…it’s like having a personal assistant in the palm of your hand. You can track packages, pay bills, even get directions with estimated travel time for events in your calendar. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Slice not only tracks what you bought, when you bought it, and when it will be delivered, but it will also let you know if the item goes on sale and help you get your money back. You’ll even be notified if the item is recalled by the Consumer Safety Board. Slice organizes your receipts for easy returns and tracks spending to help you stay on budget. (Free – iOS, Android)

Speaking of budget, finances are one of the top stressors for the holidays. Whether it’s purchasing gifts, travel costs, or hosting family and friends, it’s easy to end up over budget without really knowing how you got there.

  • Mint offers a comprehensive, real-time look at all your account balances. It sends alerts if you’re about to go over budget, organizes transactions, and it can even send push notifications about your bills. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Snagajob is a great resource for finding seasonal work to supplement your budget. Create a profile and upload your resume to apply for jobs directly from your phone for work in retail, restaurants, and customer service. Search by location, industry, job title or company and you’ll receive daily alerts that match your specifications. You can even upload a 30 second introductory video to help you stand out from the crowd. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Black Friday sends you constant updates on Thanksgiving sales and lets you create a wish list to save all your favorite deals in one place. You can organize deals by store, compare prices, and sort items by keywords, store or price. (Free – iOS, Android)

There are more apps to help with food or recipes for the holidays than you can shake a spatula at, but two of my favorites are from Bon Appetit and Food.com.

  • Thanksgiving: A Bon Appetit Manual manages to be both gourmet and rookie cook friendly. The app offers step by step instructions paired with photos so you know exactly what you’re doing. If planning and preparing is overwhelming, switch to Menu View and choose from pre-selected menus. (Free – iOS, Android)
  • Food.com not only has a massive recipe base which is great for all year round, it can help you create a meal from whatever you have on hand – great for using up those holiday leftovers. (Free – iOS)

Time with family and friends during the holidays is priceless, which is a good thing because Holiday travel can cost a fortune. Luckily, there are ways to get around blowing your budget.

  • Gas Buddy lets you find the gas stations nearest to you offering the cheapest gas prices. Content is user-created and for every report you post you can earn points toward prizes. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry)
  • Waze uses your phone’s GPS feature to find the quickest, most efficient routes and avoid traffic due to congestion, construction or accidents. Users submit reports on traffic or road conditions so you always know what ahead. Waze also lets you know where to fill up for the best price. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • TripIt Travel Organizer lets you organize every aspect of your trip in one place. Forward confirmation emails (automatic if you use Gmail or Google Calendar) from airlines or hotels and TripIt will create an itinerary for you so you can be prepared each step of the way. You can get directions, check weather conditions, link to your calendar and share your trip plans via social media. (Free – iOS, Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.