Australians lead the world in the use of mobile banking applications, interacting with our banks via apps more than any other method.

According to a recent Bain and Company survey, we use apps for 38% of bank interactions, and desktop online banking for another 35% (and hardly ever walk into a branch).

We use them to spend money, so perhaps we should use apps to help track our spending and manage our budgets too?

There are, of course, lots to choose from, but here are a few we think are particularly good at different things, so decide what’s most important to you, and give one a go.

Track My Spend (free, for iOS or Android)
Provided by ASIC’s Money Smart, Track My Spend records expenses by category against set spending limits or savings goals on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or yearly basis, and you can separate work or project related expenses from personal ones. A feature that sets Track My Spend apart, is that it invites you to classify expenditures as ‘needs’ or ‘wants’. Some people find this a great way to identify possible savings.

The downside with Track My Spend, is the need to manually enter expenses though, so…

Pocketbook (free, for iOS or Android)
Developed by Australians to work with the major Australian Banks, Pocketbook can synch with your bank accounts, credit cards and loans. It can detect (and then forecast) regular bill payments and automatically categorise three quarters of your transactions. It has a “safely spend” feature that lets you know how much discretionary income you have after your bills are covered, and includes a bank fee alert. Supported banks include: Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB, St George, Bankwest, and Citibank.

Depending on your precise needs though, other apps may be worth a look, too.

Expensify (free, for iOS or Android)
Designed for business users, Expensify lets you scan your paper receipts (tip: do it before they fade) and extracts the merchant, date, time, and amounts. You can then export to a CSV file, ready for your speadsheet or to hand to your accountant at tax time.

Splitwise (free, for iOS or Android)
Splitwise is aimed fair and square at flatmates sharing a house or apartment. It lists what each person has paid and works out who owes what to whom. It can even send reminder IOU emails.

Good Budget (free, for iOS or Android)
You’re in charge. Help us to know which articles are interesting and which aren't. 'Like' the articles you... well... like, and don't 'Like' the others. We'll get the hint!Keeping it simple, this app digitises the old fashioned idea of splitting cash income into separate envelopes for rent (or the mortgage), groceries, utilities etcetera. You can set up ‘regular’ envelopes which automatically allocate your salary to regular outgoings, and irregular envelopes to help you save for big ticket items, and you can synch envelopes with family members sharing the same budget.

These are all very well for iPhone or Android phone users, but what if you (or some family members) have Windows phones?…

HomeBudget (free limited versions, for iOS or Android, OR WINDOWS!)
HomeBudget logs and tracks expenses and bills by customisable categories and sub-catergories (rent, utilities, food, entertainment and so on). Its calendar will remind you when your next bills are due and if they’re paid, and ‘Family Sync’ works across various devices (and operating systems) so that everyone can work off the same budget.

What are your thoughts?

Are there other finance apps you’d like to know about? Is there anything else you’d like to know about budgeting or debt management?

Join the conversation — leave a comment below and let us know what you’re thoughts are.

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