(photo: Geoff Livingston)
With all of the enhanced mobile applications on the market today, it can be easy to overlook the basics. When you need to make a decision on important personal finance matters, you could easily check on your current account balances and spending patterns with Mint.com or its iPhone or Android app. But there are times when all you really need is a calculator to crunch the numbers.
It just so happens that those times are usually when you’re out and about: eating, traveling, looking at homes, or at the car dealership and trying to make a decision on financing your next vehicle. (There’s also shopping, of course, but that’s a whole different ball game.)
And then there’s all those other random one-off situations that require a special calculator.
We found the best FREE calculators for each of these scenarios for both Android and iPhone users. If your favorite didn’t make the list, feel free to share in the comments.
Looking for other great personal finance apps? Check out this list of the best iPad personal finance apps and the best Android personal finance apps.
Ever been at a restaurant, but weren’t quite sure how much you should tip? A simple mobile app is the perfect solution to help us come up with a quick calculation so that we don’t embarrass ourselves or the people we’re with (or end up with spit in our food on the next visit).
Android: Tip Calculator
With Tip Calculator, you can type in the number of people, the total bill, a pre-set tip % (or your own). Tip Calculator then calculates the tip amount, and how much each diner owes.
QuickTip offers a very simple interface with a slider to change the tip % so you can see the impact that would have on the total tip.
Exchange Rate Calculators
Frequent travelers need to quickly be able to calculate currency conversion to ensure that they are getting the correct amount and a competitive rate on their cash. These apps will help you do just that.
Android: Exchange Rates
Exchange Rates includes an integrated currency calculator, every world currency, multiple currency display, auto sync, and other great free features.
iPhone: Currency Converter
Currency converter updates 180 world currencies daily, and then offers you a simple calculator to do the conversion. Store your most frequently used currencies with this app.
Perhaps no other calculation will have as big of an impact on your life as this one. It’s important to get accurate numbers and see the big picture of what your mortgage might cost you. If you’re in the real estate or mortgage business, you can benefit from quick calculations to run by your clients while in your office or on the road.
Also, there is no reason that you can’t use these same apps as auto loan calculators. A loan is a loan, and there aren’t really any good ‘auto loan’ specific apps out there to speak of.
Android: Mortgage Calculator
This Android app displays a monthly payment total or the yearly amortization table. Compute your loan with the option of adding additional monthly payments, additional yearly payments, 1-time payments etc. Then chart the results of interest vs principal paid on the loan.
iPhone: CalcsFree Mortgage Calculator
From monthly payments to overall costs, amortization tables, and graphs, this app shows it all.
Random One-Off Situations
Calcmoolator: Available for both Android and iPhone
The number of financial calculators available through the Calcmoolator app is borderline ridiculous (over 50 at last check). Here is a sampling: Auto Lease vs. Buy, Auto Loan Early Payoff, Auto Loan Estimate, Auto Rebate vs Low Interest Financing, CD Calculator, Home Equity vs. Auto Loan, House Rent vs. Buy, Mortgage Affordability, Mortgage Length, Mortgage Payment Estimate, PMI vs 2nd Mortgage, Salary to Hourly Wage, Switch Jobs?, Tip Calculator, What is The Real APR, Work or Get Unemployment?
Calcmoolator started out with a limited selection of calculators available on a free version of the app and an expanded selection on a paid version. It looks as though the app creator has moved to ad supported model and offered all calculators for free in one version of the app now. Good news. Let’s hope they keep it this way.
G.E. Miller is the author of 20somethingfinance.com – recently voted as the best money blog for twenty-somethings by Kiplinger.
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