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How iPhone apps can help save and manage your cash

From comparing retail prices to monitoring energy use, it seems the iPhone has an application for everything. Well, almost. Chiara Cavaglieri reports

It may have its critics, but there is no denying that the iPhone has revolutionised the way we use our phones, and never more so than with the host of applications (known as apps) that are springing up.

Understandably, the recession has triggered a surge of apps aimed at helping people manage their financial affairs, but, with thousands to choose from, finding truly useful apps can be difficult. To help out, we've spoken to three self-confessed iPhone addicts for their takes on the best apps to save and manage your money.

Cha Ching (£1.79) / Spend (59p) / Pennies (£1.79)

Several apps offer to help you budget, all with essentially the same features. One of the easiest budgeting apps to use is Spend. “The thoughtful design allows for speedy data entry, making it much less of a chore,” says Nick Collings, a web developer from digital production agency Sticky Moon. Both Pennies and Cha Ching are more complicated, highlighting the biggest expenses by category. But you have to remember to input all purchases: “The beautiful interface design makes Cha Ching intuitive and a complete pleasure to use but requires discipline, which might put some off,” says Mr Collings.

RedLaser (£1.19)

Simply swipe your iPhone camera over the product barcode and your phone searches Amazon and Google for instant access to a bunch of online prices. You may feel a bit silly constantly getting your phone out while you shop, but the savings should make up for any embarrassment. “This is another example of how smart phones can transform our spending power,” says Jasmine Birtles of Moneymagpie.com

0870 (free)

Save money on your phone bills with 0870, the iPhone application version of website SayNoTo0870.com. If you’re stuck with an expensive 0870, 0845 or 080 number for a company, this app finds alternative landline or even free numbers instead. For mobile users, this means that these calls can be taken from the inclusive call allowance rather than being charged a premium rate, which can quickly cause bills to shoot up

MoBank (free)

MoBank is a mobile banking app that allows you to view your current account, check your balance and see recent transactions securely on your phone. Its secondary function lets you make day-to-day transactions, such as booking cinema tickets, but there is a charge of 50p per retail transaction. “This is one for the future,” says Nick Collings. “The current reviews suggest there are creases to iron out, but I believe it to be the direction things are going in terms of payments on the go.”

Bloomberg (free)

Anyone with a portfolio of stocks and shares can keep an eye on their performance with the impressive Bloomberg app. It features graphs, tables and news updates – all for free. “I use this if out and about to scan any news headlines and use the stock-tracking facility. It is more in-depth than the pre-installed iPhone stock app, and lets you add the number of units held, purchase price etc,” says Chris Rowe from independent financial adviser Worldwide Financial Planning.

Meter Readings (59p)

This is the most popular paid-for financial application. It tracks your household energy usage, letting you know how much you’re spending on gas, water and electricity. The most useful feature is that you get to see your average usage per day, week or month so you can see at a glance when you need to improve your energy habits. Helpfully, you can enter multiple tariffs per meter, useful for electricity tariffs, where separate rates can be charged during the day and at night