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APPSNAP: Level Money app helps users track spending

FARGO--Most of my life, I've lived by the Carrie Bradshaw financial philosophy: I like my money right where I can see it--hanging in my closet. The protagonist of HBO's "Sex and the City" eventually finds herself unable to purchase her apartment ...

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FARGO--Most of my life, I've lived by the Carrie Bradshaw financial philosophy: I like my money right where I can see it--hanging in my closet.

The protagonist of HBO's "Sex and the City" eventually finds herself unable to purchase her apartment because she's spent $40,000 on shoes over the years. I haven't spent that much on clothing and shoes, but the UPS delivery person knows my address.

In the new year, I resolved to monitor my spending so I can save money. I've scoffed at the B-word--budget--for too long. I've been using financial tracking app Level Money (free in the App Store) for about two months.

Level links with checking and savings accounts and credit cards--any financial accounts you choose. Once the accounts are linked in the PIN-protected app, users can personalize how spending is tracked.

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For instance, I have the app gather Target purchases in a category so I know how much I spend (it's way more than I imagined). I also have rent, electricity, car insurance and Internet in one category, too. The app recognizes the purchases by merchant.

Under "Transactions," users can see which purchases the app tracked and adjust accordingly. Level's "Spendable" feature is the most useful to me. Based on my financial information, it lists how much I can spend each day, week and month to meet my goals.

Since I'm paying off credit cards, I rarely have much spendable income but it helps put into perspective how all my little purchases add up. I think twice before frivolous purchases and multiple daily coffees.

Sometimes the app is glitchy and takes a while to catch up with spending. I opened it the other day to an available balance of negative $187, which was inaccurate, thank goodness. And it can miss purchases in categories, too. But other than that, it seems to work well and I was able to link all of my accounts.

While Level takes time to set up and personalize, it's worth it if you want to get a grip on spending.

4 out of 5 stars

Related Topics: TECHNOLOGY
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