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10 smartphone apps that can help track your expenses

Isabel Eva Bohrer and JR Raphael | Sept. 28, 2012
Hate having to record your expenditures for the IRS or your company's accounting department? These iPhone and Android apps can make it easier to track your expenses.

Its only real weakness is design -- specifically, the fact that some basic commands are buried and difficult to find. To export data, for example, you have to first tap "View Account Activities" on the main menu and then go into an overflow menu in order to get to the function.

Expense Manager could do with a design refresh to unearth some of these hidden functions and better conform with Android 4.x design standards, but in terms of actual functionality, it's at the top of its game.

--JR Raphael


Free OS reviewed: iOS Other OSes: Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Palm

Expensify, the mobile app for the online service, allows you to track a variety of expenses.

ExpensifyClick to view larger image.

Cash expenses, such as services paid by the hour, can be entered manually or using the SmartScan feature, which uses optical character recognition (OCR) to read and input the merchant name, transaction date and amount. You are allowed ten free SmartScans per month; after that, each SmartScan costs 20 cents.

It's a great idea; unfortunately, I had a great deal of trouble trying to get SmartScan to work. Given that SmartScans can take up to ten minutes even if they do work, it's good that there's an alternative: you can instead email your receipts to to have them OCRed at no charge.

Mileage expenses can be recorded automatically via GPS (but remember that leaving your GPS on can significantly decrease your battery life). I really liked the fact that you can use the app offline, making it useful when you're away from a broadband connection.

You can also track purchases made using cash, a bank account or a credit card -- Expensify accepts credit cards from a variety of major banks as well as smaller, regional banks. To allow the app to add a card or bank account, you have to first register your card's online ID and password. The app will then automatically import your expenses paid via that account and generate eReceipts; according to Expensify, these are "full digital replacements of their paper equivalents for purchases under $75."

There are a number of features that can only be used with the online version of the service. For example, to delete a saved credit card/bank account, change the mileage rate or enable SmartScans, you will have to go to your settings at

All in all, if you want to track purchases made with cash, credit card and or bank account, Expensify is a good option.

--Isabel Eva Bohrer

FreshBooks Cloud Accounting

Free for up to 3 clients, uses branded emails; $19.95/month for up to 25 clients and unbranded email; $29.95/month adds unlimited clients; $39.95/month adds team features OS reviewed: iOS Other OSes: None


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