Category Archives: Apps & Gadgets

More Personal Finance Apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Personal Finance IOS apps

 

One of my goals this year is to continue to keep track of my expenses and manage my personal finances.  In 2012, I started using an awesome personal finance app called Expensify and so far, it’s been great at helping me keep track of my expenses and vastly encourages me to stay within my monthly budget.

But I can’t really say that Expensify is the ultimate mobile personal finance app.  Yes, I love its simplicity and how it lets me organize  my expenses into categories, take pictures of my receipts, and generate detailed expense reports.  However, I feel like it lacks a couple of features like tips, budget tracking, and financial calculator.

So I downloaded more mobile finance apps from the App Store.  There’s Mint.com, BudgetTracker, EEBA, Spending, and a few others.  I wanted to try using them one by one so I can find the app which will help me me me keep track of my spending (and where my money goes)  and aid in managing my monthly budget as well.  I want to accomplish so much as far as personal finance is concerned so if ever I come across a nifty application that’s packed with lots of useful features, I’d jump ship in a jiffy!

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Tracking My Spending with Finance Apps

As an adult, one of the tasks I have to accomplish on a daily basis is managing my finances. I’m still single and still live with my dad so I don’t worry about “grown-up” stuff like rent, mortgage, or clothing and tuition for the kids. I don’t have a car so I don’t worry about gas and repairs as well. But the thing is, I do take care of some of the bills at home and I have stopped asking my father for allowance (LOL!) so there’s still a need for me to work within a budget and keep track of my spending.

A few years back, I kept a small notebook for keeping track of my expenses. I wanted to know where every peso went so I would religiously record each and every expense and read my entries before I sleep at night. It was quite tedious because I had to bring my notebook everywhere I went lest I forget my expenditures for the day.

Luckily for me, I now own a couple of iOS devices so managing my finances is way easier than it was a couple of years ago. There are a lot of finance apps available for the iPad and the iPhone that allows users to manage their budget and keep track of their spending efficiently.

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The Case of the Slowing PC

My 17-year-old nephew, Paolo, has been bugging me a lot lately.  He’s asking me about RAM upgrades and laptop processors — stuff I really don’t know much about.  So I asked him what really ails him.  And he told me that their Acer laptop, one he’s sharing with his brother,  is showing major signs of slowing down.  He says he has reformatted the hard drive and all but still, the computer doesn’t function as it normally does.  And I know he’s frustrated because he knows he can’t ask his mom for money to have the laptop upgraded due to more pressing financial concerns.

But the thing is, when he says he has done everything to improve the laptop’s speed and performance, I don’t quite buy it.  That guy can be sloppy when it comes to taking care of  gadgets at home.  There are mindless things that a person does on a regular basis that effectively slows down a PC.  I should know because I’m also guilty of doing those things  like keeping the desktop cluttered or habitually forgetting to upgrade the anti-virus software.

Whenever I think of a slow, inefficient laptop I always remember my experience  with my netbook, the HP 2140.  Don’t get me wrong, my relationship with the netbook wasn’t that bad. I had a wonderful relationship with it for a few months before things turned sour.  At first I noticed that it takes longer for the netbook to boot up and shut down than it normally does.  And then it became excruciatingly slow at opening files and starting programs.  And finally, I could no longer multi-task because the system crashes.

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Girl Friday Files: Better Late Than Never

My father retired in in 2008.  Immediately after his retirement, he applied for his Social Security System retirement benefits and in a few months started enjoying his monthly pension.  But in late 2009, we were advised by some of his friends from his old company to have his SSS contributions manually verified.  There were posting errors in the monthly contributions, they said.

And so we filed a request for manual verification of my father’s SSS contributions.  He was required to fill up a form and then submit it to the person in charge.  And then what? We were instructed to wait and visit SSS from time to time for updates.  And so we waited and regularly checked for updates.  I must’ve made more than 2 dozen visits.

By May 2012, I was really tired of the regular SSS visits I’ve been making.  The person in charge (I forgot her name) couldn’t  even give me a timetable.  The manual verification of contributions is done in their Manila head office and there is no way for her to track their progress.  Sometimes she made calls to ask, I don’t know if it was long distance or through PBX but from what I figured out, she was always told that our request was still being processed. Continue reading

MyPhone B88 Duo

One of the mobile phones I’m currently using is the MyPhone B88 Duo.  I bought it last April because I needed a new dual-sim phone.  Why?  I accidentally dropped my Nokia handset in the sink while I was washing my face.  Really klutzy but so typical of me.

A drenched, non-working dual-sim phone is the perfect excuse for me  to buy a new one.  Honestly, I remember I was really low on funds that time but a dual-sim phone is an absolute  must-have for me.  Yeah, I’m unabashedly one of those who think  that  humans can’t survive on one network alone. 😀

So I went to Abreeza Mall and bought the cheapest MyPhone dual-sim handset I can find.   Why MyPhone? Well, the brand’s been getting a lot of good reviews for its dual-sim phones so I just decided to purchase the most affordable of them all.  And that’s the MyPhone B88 Duo.

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Easy Ways to Protect Your Files

I was browsing through the files in my external hard drive earlier and I realized that I already have 113 titles in my collection of Korean movies.  I used to have more in my old laptop’s archives but sadly, a good number of them were wiped out last year.

I’m not even sure how it happened.  I just woke up one day and found out that folders containing my movie files were missing. And no, I did not accidentally drag 80GB worth of videos into the trash bin.  I’m no expert when it comes to computers but I wouldn’t do something that stupid.

In an attempt to recover the missing files, I enlisted the help of somebody who knew his way around computers.  The first thing he asked me was if I was able to back up my files. I said no.  And then he asked if I updated my anti-virus regularly.  Emabarassed, I  sheepishly shook my head no.  He said having an anti-virus software that’s not updated regularly provides very little protection from malware.

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BlackBerry Curve 9360

Late last month, I was given the opportunity to review the BlackBerry Curve 9360.  Honestly, I was hesitant  because I already have 3 phones and I haven’t even reviewed any of them yet. Yeah, not a single one of them.  But when I saw the BlackBerry Curve 9360, the lover of physical keyboards that I am had to say yes.

And so last June 26, I went home with a BlackBerry Curve 9360 review unit.  I did  stuff I’d normally do on a smartphone — send text messages and emails, listen to music, take pics, watch videos, surf, and access my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  And after more than two weeks, here’s what I can say about the BlackBerry Curve 9360:

Overall Design

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is a slim and stylish smartphone with excellent build quality.  Although the phone is mostly made of plastic, you won’t find unsightly seams or flimsy parts.  Believe me, I held the phone  countless times over the two-week review period and I can say  that it feels solid, luxurious and compact in my hands. Another plus is the phone’s precise edges.  I am cursed with butter fingers so it helps that the BlackBerry Curve 9360’s shape makes it easier to hold on to.

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Tips to Shopping Safely Online

 

Shopping online has not completely taken over the world, but it has come very close. There are millions of computer and internet users in the United States and all of these people use the internet as resource or a veritable market place to purchase myriad items. With bigger chain stores moving their operations online, the internet has become a much more powerful entity for consumers to source both products and services with ease. There is a lot of money being exchanged in the online shopping industry and as a result there have also been numerous incidences of malpractice on the part of some vendors.

Even when you don’t shop with chain stores, there are peer to peer shopping networks that link individual sellers and resellers with consumers. These transactions can be very favorable but sometimes when not monitored or handled with a healthy caution, people can be swindled. What you need to do to protect yourself online while shopping is to follow some simple common sense rules. Shopping online doesn’t have to be scary but if you value your money and want value for money, you’ll pay attention. Continue reading

My iBooks Library

I love to read books. So it’s pretty understandable why one of the most-used apps in my iPad 2 is iBooks.

iBooks is a free ebook application for iOS devices. It’s a wonderful app for reading ebooks, organizing your ebook collection, and building your own ebook library. A lot like Stanza, only crisper and prettier but with fewer customization options.  It’s so visually appealing that I sometimes forget that I’m reading an ebook and not a book.

I’ve been growing my iBooks library since late last year.   Currently, I have more or less 250 books in my bookshelf  (yes, that’s what they call it) and mostly got them for free from the iBookstore.  The grand plan is to add more books to my iBooks library since I still have 44.1 GB available on my iPad 2.

Expanding my ebook collection via iBookstore is no-sweat since I’m not particularly picky with book titles and authors. I just check out the ratings and if I feel like it’s an easy read, I tap on a chosen book to download it. Or I can look for books elsewhere (wink!), email them to myself, and then open the books directly from my email using iBooks.  I can also sync it via iTunes but the process takes longer.

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Globe Prepaid SuperLahat20 Launch

Globe Telecom recently announced their most exciting prepaid package at a press launch attended by the Davao Bloggers and other personalities in the city.

Dubbed Globe Prepaid: Superlahat20, Globe’s Davao-exclusive offer gives Davaoeńos the best value-for-money prepaid package.  For P20, Globe prepaid subscribers can now  enjoy  texting, calling, and mobile internet surfing everyday without having to worry about sky-high prepaid charges or the incovenience of switching SIM cards.

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