The app market is flooded with great resources for people who want to cut down the time they spend on everyday tasks. There's also a fair share of lesser apps available to unwary consumers.
Last year was a great year for mobile apps. Statista found there were 127.7 billion free mobile apps downloaded worldwide in 2014 – around 18 downloads for every person on Earth.
By 2017, there will be 253.9 billion free apps available for download, Statista predicted. But why are apps so popular?
People are generally time poor, so a decent financial app can work wonders in finding new efficiencies in what can be an often complicated area. What's more, practically everyone can use them.
Any user of a financial app is unlikely to want to break the bank on the purchase of one – that would defeat the point, after all. A great app will therefore be cheap (or free) and effective, allowing people the chance to save both time and money.
So, with so much potential, how do you identify a good, time-saving app? Well, here are five free financial apps that have proven to excel:
Its full name may be 'Bills & Accounts Manager – documents, travel, money & household organizer – Manilla' but we'll simply call it Manilla for short. After all, simplicity is what this app essentially offers. A business will no doubt have bills to pay, although they may not immediately have the money to pay them. In this instance, keeping an eye on due dates is essential to avoid any late fees. Manilla is a clean and easy way to get a grip of your personalised budget, while also tracking upcoming bills through payment alerts.
4. One Touch Expenser
Similar to Manilla and other budget creation apps, One Touch Expenser comes with an added advantage of its speed of use. Particularly when using an app for business financing, there is not always a lot of time to organise payment of a bill or even set a reminder. One Touch Expenser aims to make everything as simple as possible through its eponymous moniker. The use of widgets make up much of the user interface, and photographs can be taken of invoices or receipts if there isn't enough time to manage them straight away.
Another free app is GnuCash, which critics have praised for its in-depth accounting potential. With a desktop program that links with a mobile device, users have both the flexibility and the resources to control their finances. This software requires a little more getting used to than others, though is ultimately more extensive than simpler offerings. PC & Tech Authority called it "well worth the effort", while adding: "This is not the easiest program to get started with, unless you already have some basic bookkeeping knowledge. But accounting was never meant to be fun, only effective, and GnuCash is certainly effective."
2. Level Money
Level Money succeeds by being one of the most attractive and easy to use apps of its kind on the market. It's actually 'almost' fun. Simply allocate your daily, weekly or monthly budget and then watch as the interactive water level reduces on your phone screen. This gives a user the ability to check their finances at a glance, while automatic linking to their bank account provides people with a simpler service than most competitors.
Through a beautifully minimalist user interface, Pocketbook not only offers budgeting and alerts for when you go over your limit, but advice on how to best manage your finances. Pocketbook is the solution to many people's wishes to have an Australian version of Mint – the widely used US app. One of the beauties of Pocketbook is its ability to synchronise with local banks, meaning information is automatically updated rather than manually entered. This is a great time-saving tool, while staying sleek, clean and stylish.