Manage your own personal debt crisis with these iPhone apps

Members of Congress spent months squabbling over spending cuts and the debt ceiling to no avail. Standard & Poor’s this month downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time in its history, sending the stock market tumbling and everyone looking for longer-term answers.

It was a harsh lesson in debt, and one you can avoid with the help of a few handy iPhone apps. So whether you are $60,000 in the hole to your alma mater, or simply trying to curb a bit of a minor shopping habit, take a look at the following recommendations. Trust us, you don’t want your bank account to resemble that of Uncle Sam.

The first thing you need to do when trying to wrangle your finances is figure out exactly how much you are spending, and on what. The Bill Tracker app ($1.99) is a good starting point. You add your bills into the app along with the dollar amount and due date. It is then synced with a calendar, and each time you sign-in, you will be notified about what bills are pending. Paying overdue fees is annoying and expensive – this app will make sure you never have to do so again.

Related iPhone App List: iPhone Apps for Managing Your Money

If you’re looking for something basic, try the $2.99 Pennies app. It takes just a minute or two to establish a monthly budget and begin tracking your spending. It’s an app that you can put to use even while standing at the cashier in the grocery store. And if you need to remind yourself about why you spent what, you can attach little notes to each line item.

Do you ever find yourself scratching your head at the end of the month asking ‘where did it all go?’ With the Envelopes app ($0.99), you can see an exact breakdown of your spending. Just log expenses in the various envelopes, and watch it add up. You might find that you are spending $312 a month at Starbucks, while contributing just $298 to your ROTH IRA, for example.

We imagine that you have long since abandoned paper statements for the world of Internet banking. But now you don’t even need to be sitting in front of a computer to crunch numbers. Many of the major financial institutions, such as Bank of America, CitiBank, Chase and Wells Fargo offer their own, free iPhone apps. You can check account balances, sign-up for automated alerts, make money transfers, and so on. You’ll never have to worry about an overdraft again.

And while we are all about reducing expenditures, a person has got to live a little. Your iPhone can help you do it on the cheap. Check out the free coupon apps such as Groupon and LivingSocial. They connect you with discount products and experiences, while also allowing you to share deals with friends and family. You can buy a deal yourself – like a $30 tennis lessons – then refer it to someone else. Or, you can buy it directly for someone else as a gift. When you refer an item to a friend, you earn Groupon dollars, saving yourself even more money. And when you go to use your coupons, you don’t have to print anything off. Just carry your iPhone with you.

Download the free Appolicious iPhone app

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