Keep track of your financials with these apps. Here you’ll find our reviews of the best Finance apps.

Tipity — Tip Calculator

Tipity Tip Calculator for iPhone and Apple Watch


You’ve seen one tip calculator you’ve seen them all. There really isn’t much to innovate in this category. Many will be quick to argue that with their superior math skills that they can just do the math in their heads and have no need for such apps. With all that said I’m always looking at the new entries in this market to see if there is one that I like better than the one that I’ve used for years. While I was checking out the newest apps for Apple Watch I noticed a tip calculator called Tipity and while my favorite calculator and conversion utility Calcbot offers one, there’s is lacking a couple of features such as excluding tax and rounding up/down. I decided to give Tipity a shot. The first thing I noticed on the iPhone was that the interface is very “text” based. Most of these apps have giant keypads to quickly allow you to enter the check total while Tipity concentrates more on showing you all the figures. Once you tap on a value then the numeric keyboard pops up and you can make changes. On this same keyboard you find the -1 and +1 to round up or down. In the settings you can choose to deduct tax (not tip on the tax) or not. If you enable it then you’ll be able to put in the tax rate on the main display. Lastly you can choose a star rating of 1 star (10% tip), 2 stars (15% tip) or 3 starts (20% tip) based the service you received. This way you can simply put the check total in and Tipity will do the math subtracting the tax and then calculating the tip plus giving you to the total with tax and tip included. I usually like to round up. This is something that I wish I could turn on in the settings instead of having to press the +1/-1 buttons each time.


The developer spent a lot of time making so you can customize the colors of your display to your liking.

A great app for Apple Watch


This is a perfect example of an app that fits perfectly on Apple Watch. There is no need to take out your phone. When the check arrives just fire up Tipity on your Apple Watch and enter the amount of the check.


Tipity will display the tip and total. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a rounding option on the Apple Watch version and this is even more of a reason why I’d want to turn it on in the settings.


Using Force Touch you can bring up the star rating display. Nice implementation and UI for Apple Watch.

The Bottom Line

Tipity is a good tip calculator for iPhone and iPad, but an even better app for Apple Watch. You can get Tipity here from the .


BudgetBook: Helping You Keep Track of Your Money


BudgetBook is an iPad-only app made by the same developers as my favorite iPhone finance application, MoneyBook (you could have guessed from the name right?). The app is very well designed and has a lovely user interface which is a joy to use. The goal of BudgetBook is to let you keep track of your transactions in relation to a monthly budget you set, for total spending as well as category-specific budgets. In my view, this is the best way to keep track of your transactions and the only real reason you need a separate app compared to your internet bank. What makes the app as good as it is, is that it is simply and easy to use. Adding a new transaction doesn’t take you long, nor does setting up your budget (if you know what budget you wish to give yourself that is). You are able to set up several different accounts, each with their own transactions, however an overall budget for all the accounts.

What I would like to see!

The budgets feature, although really good, has one major flaw in my eyes. When adding income as part of the category budget (salary) it will say “100%” when you haven’t added a salary transaction. While this is the desired effect on expenses, income should be the other way around. With zero transactions for income, you have reached 0% of the budget. This may seem small, but for an application called “BudgetBook” it should be a non-issue. Since the same developer also makes MoneyBook with a My.MoneyBook cloud service, I would like to see some integration between these two applications. Being able to enter transactions on one device is fine, but both with syncing would be the killer feature.


As with MoneyBook, what I like about BudgetBook is that it is indeed so simple. Aside from the fact that it has got a gorgeous user interface, the app is very fast to use. It does not take you long at all to get your transactions into the app which is a big deal if you are going to use this on a daily basis. As our internet banks get more sophisticated, I like that the app just helps me find out how I am doing in relation to my budget. For these reasons, I would definitely recommend you getting BudgetBook if you want a solid finance app for the iPad that helps you keep track of where your money is going. Download BudgetBook for iPad here for $2.99 iTunes


MarketDash for iPad

One of the Apps that's missing from the iPad that Apple never ported over from the iPhone is the Stocks App. On the iPhone it's built-in, but on the iPad it's not. While you could argue that many people on the iPhone don't use the Stocks App, it just seems odd not to build it for the iPad. Since I am a Stocks App user I went in search of the "Best" Stocks App for the iPad. I've used a few Apps and they all seem to suffer from the same problem. Too complex! The native iPhone Stocks App is EASY, SIMPLE and CLEAN. I wanted that same experience on my iPad. My search ultimately led me to the Yahoo! MarketDash App. It has a big beautiful display. It's Easy to use. You can either use the App in a stand alone-fashion where you manually enter the stock symbols you want to track or you can log into your existing Yahoo account. 

The only thing that I would like to see added to this App is a Push Notification feature for when a stock hits a certain price. Otherwise, there's nothing else to say! If you want a stock App to keep up on your favorite stocks that's simple to use and best of all FREE, this is it!

You can get MarketDash for Free here from the iTunes


Square Allows The Little Guy To Accept Credit Cards on iDevices


Any business owner will tell you that you that they have to provide multiple ways for their customers to pay. Accepting credit cards can be the key in many cases to getting the sale. Although we've seen a few credit card processing Apps for iOS devices, all the ones I've seen to date require you to setup a merchant account (no big deal) and/or pay monthly fees. It's the monthly fees that have kept me from doing this. I was already paying a monthly fee to Propay to accept credit cards individually and to Paypal (Virtual Terminal) for my non-profit organization. I didn't want to have to incur yet another monthly charge for my very low volume of transactions. Leave it to my non-techie sister to turn me on to this gem. Square allows just about any US based person to accept credit cards on their iOS devices WITHOUT having to pay monthly fees. You download the App, setup your account and you're in business.


How does it work?

First step is to download the App. You can't really do anything without it. Once you download the Square App you can setup your account right in the App itself. You will be asked for some identity verifying questions similar to those that are asked when verifying your credit that only you would know. At that point you're pretty much ready to accept credit cards. Although the App lets you setup an account on the spot, you will still need to log into the website to "finish" the setup process to take full advantage of the service. From the site you can order your Card Reader (FREE) that plugs into your iDevice. You'll also be able to setup which of your bank accounts you want your funds automatically deposited into. Although I was all set and ready to go, I waited for the Card Reader to arrive before testing my first transaction. The Card Swipe thingy arrived within 5 days. You can enter the card data manually, but I wanted the full experience first :) The App is pretty slick and is Universal for all iOS devices. Authorizations can take place over 3G or a WPA protected WiFi connection. It's fast and easy. Just enter the amount, an optional description and swipe the card. Once the transaction goes through the funds will be deposited into your bank account the next business day (or how ever many days it takes your bank to clear the electronic transfer). Although there are no limits on the number or amount of the transactions, your initial account will be limited to $1,001 per week of transfers. Say you charge $1,500 in a week. Square will deposit $1,001 into your account the next day and the remainder within 30 days. You can request a higher transfer amount if you need one, but you might have to pay a fee for that. 


The App Works Great

Although it's a Universal App, you get a few more features on the iPad than you do on the iPhone/iPod touch because of the larger screen real estate. While you can enter the amount, description and even take a photo on the iPhone of the item you're selling, on the iPad you can have predefined items to choose from. For example, I'll be using this for my computer users group. We have 7 levels of membership/renewals that each have a different price. I was able to set each one up and assign it a one-touch graphic on the iPad. This way if I'm processing a "New Member" app I can just tap the New Member Button to add that item to the transaction. That's another thing, on the iPad you can have multiple items on a single transaction and it will add them up for your single charge. Once the charge is authorized the person can sign right on the screen with their finger or a stylus. At this point you can sent an optional receipt via SMS or Email. 


A few things I'd like to see

I think it's great that you can email a receipt, but I can't believe that they don't give you the ability to choose an existing contact to email to. You have to manually key in the email address each time. Although the App allows you to enter the card information manually, you have to "sign" at the end of the process. This is fine if the person you're charging is standing there. This doesn't work well for processing mail or phone orders. For those I just wrote "on file" to get past the signature screen. Lastly, the receipts are nicely geotagged (see a sample above and at the end of the post). This is fine for doing business in a public location. However, if I'm processing mail/phone orders from home I don't want my "home" address on the receipts. Luckily you can skip the receipt in those cases. Other than these few things, this App and Service totally rock!

The Bottom Line

If you're an individual or small business and you've wanted to accept credit cards but you don't do enough volume to justify paying a monthly fee, this is your answer. Square will save me about $50/month in fees that I was paying to my other two services. Their transaction fees are reasonable and I love the fact that this turns my iDevice into a credit card terminal for FREE!

Thank you Square for providing this solution for the rest of us :)


You can download the Square App for Free here from the Square - Square, Inc.



DataMan Helps You Monitor & Geotag Your iPhone Data Usage

Most of us iPhone old-timers in the US were grandfathered in to AT&T's Unlimited Data Plans. However, for new subscribers those data plans are gone. You now have to choose between a 200MB/month ($15/month) or 2GB/month data plan ($25/month). Of course if you're on a limited data plan here in the states or abroad you're going to also want to know when you're reaching your limits. There are a few different ways of checking your data use if you're on AT&T. You can *3282# from your iPhone and you'll get back an SMS displaying your current month's data usage. AT&T also provides an App to check your account information and usage. While these methods work, they require you to actually remember to check manually. DataMan is a neat little App that provides you more real-time data usage information while running in the background under iOS 4. Best of all you can set your own usage monitors and alarms. You can set a daily, weekly and monthly threshold for how much data you want to use and then be alerted to the fact that you're about to go over or have gone over your own preset allowance. The App does something that the AT&T methods don't and that is it not only tracks both 3G AND WiFi usage, but it even geotags where you were using the data. This key for travelers that want to data roam. 

Do I need unlimited data?

If you're on an unlimited plan it's probably easy for you to dismiss this App. However, this app will help you answer the question "do I need unlimited data?" AT&T does offer a cheaper DataPlus plan that's limited to 200MB of data a month. I would dare say that there are a lot of people out there that could get by on this plan and save money. With DataMan you could track your usage on both 3G and WiFi for a couple of months to determine whether or not you really use more than 200MB or 2GB's of data each month?

A couple of Warnings! This App REQUIRES iOS 4! So if you're not running iOS 4 it may not even show up in the App Store as a download for you. Secondly, the App DOES need to run in the background in order to track your usage. You will notice that the Location indicator in the upper right corner is ALWAYS active. I asked the developer about battery life impact running Location Services all the time and he assured me that his App was using the new low power option in iOS 4 that only checks the location when you change cell towers. He claims to easily 30 hours of battery life between charges. I too have not seen any significant change in battery life on my iPhone 4 since running the App. YMMV!

You can get DataMan here from the DataMan



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