The Best Apps For Small Business Owners On A Tight Budget

The Best Apps For Small Business Owners On A Tight Budget

by Christine Maxwell, Guest Contributor

As a military spouse small business owner, you know that you often have to wear many hats for your business.

It doesn’t matter if you are a one-person team, you still need to handle accounting, payments, operations, communications and even social media for your business. Below are 15 budget-friendly apps to help you handle it all.

The Best Apps For Small Business Owners On A Tight Budget
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

The Best Apps For Small Business Owners On A Budget

Best Apps for Accounting

QuickBooks Online

Tried and tested, QuickBooks has been around for a while. It’s easy to set-up and link your bank accounts and its interface is easy to navigate.

At the lowest level of pricing (created especially for independent contractors), it tracks reimbursable miles, income and expenses, invoicing, accepts payments, runs reports and easily maximizes tax deductions. If you need a few more robust features, it’s easy to upgrade your account with this cloud based accounting software.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: The Self-Employed package starts at $10/month, but there is currently a 50% off special for 6 months. Preview QuickBooks Online with a free 30-day trial.


Perfect for freelancers and start-ups, SlickPie has many of the same accounting features that the monthly fee products perform, but for free. SlickPie runs double-entry accounting and offers premium features such as invoicing with customizable logos, unlimited users, seamless bank account importing and transaction processing.

Platforms: Web based only

Price: Free


Wave is one of the most widely used free accounting software platforms for freelancers and small business owners. It provides invoicing, accounting and receipt scanning services, all for free.

Wave prides itself on being easy to use and straightforward. Although its software is free, Wave users can also perform credit card processing and bank payments for an additional but competitive price per transaction.

Price: Free

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Best Apps for Payment


Not just for millennials that want to split their bar tabs anymore, you can pay contractors on the go with Venmo. Link your debit card, bank account or Venmo cash balance and make transactions or split payments as needed.

Venmo has a $299 weekly transaction limit unless you verify your account and then you can up your limit to $2,999.99.

Platforms: Android, Apple

Price: Free


One of the original peer-to-peer payment apps, it’s a trusted source for assisting you with transactions or invoicing customers.

If you’d like to use PayPal for mobile, in-store or online payment processing for your customers, additional per transaction fees apply. You will find that PayPal has some of the most competitive processing fee rates in the peer-to-peer market.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free for peer-to-peer. Point of Sale transactions have competitive processing fees


Square Point of Sale lets you accept payments from your customers, issue digital and printed receipts. It even allows you to add discounts or an option to tip for your customers.

Square is stylish, intuitive and the leader in point of sale payments for small business owners.

Platforms: Android, Apple

Price: 2.75% per swipe or 3.5% + 15 cents per keyed-in transaction

Best Apps for Productivity

Google Drive

Share and store your files, up to 15mb of them, for free with Google Drive. You can access your files at home or on the go via Google Drive on smartphones, tablets or computers.

Collaboration is easy with Google Drive too. You and your team, or customers can make edits on the fly, all without using attachments.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free


Collect your thoughts, set reminders, and clip your favorite articles from the web at home or on the go. Evernote will definitely up your organization game.

Tag your favorite posts and tweets, manage to-do lists and easily clip your favorite articles with Web Clipper, all in one spot.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free


If you are a road warrior, TripIt will be your new best friend when you travel. You book your hotel, airfare, car, whatever you need, and TripIt organizes all your travel plans in one place with a master itinerary.

You can sync your plans to your calendar, set up reminders and selectively share your travel plans with family members or team members.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free

Best Apps for Communications


Grow your small business with email and marketing automation from MailChimp. Trigger welcome e-mails to new subscribers or automate emails after a sale is made.

In addition, you can easily customize beautiful campaigns, create sign-up forms and review your data with free reports and data insight.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Prices: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers per month


Communications is everything, especially if you are a remote worker.

Stay in touch with your entire team or one on one with co-workers via Slack. It’s a messaging app on steroids that lets you send messages, make 1:1 phone calls, and share and save documents. Hold private conversations or use public channels to communicate with everyone on your team at once.

Conversations can be categorized by product, topic or group for easy organization.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free


Organize your team’s conversations by “rooms” for easy organization, archive conversations and drag and drop files you’d like to share and store.

HipChat Basic gives you free and unlimited group messaging and 1:1 calls. If you need video conferencing or screen sharing capability, upgrade to HipChat Plus for $2 per month per user.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free for HipChat Basic

Best Apps for Social Media


Create customized and professional looking designs for a variety of social media platforms for your small business. Even if you aren’t artistically inclined, Canva helps you look like a graphic design genius. Make your own designs or choose from thousands of free templates.

Platforms: Web-based

Price: Free


Don’t waste time on each of your social media platforms, tediously scheduling new posts. Instead, use Buffer to get a bird’s-eye view of all your social media posts.

Buffer’s best feature is that it allows you to plan and schedule your posts, so you can optimize the perfect time to post to your followers without having to be present.

Buffer also allows you to attach customized images to your social media posts, because we know people like to see pretty pictures, not just words.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free


Don’t try to handle your social media all on your own, let Crowdfire help you.

Link your social media accounts to Crowdfire and it will manage and market your social media, with the goal of boosting followers. Through daily prompts, Crowdfire helps you curate a list of followers, find inspiration for new posts and engage with your existing fans.

Platforms: Web-based, Android, Apple

Price: Free

Don’t let financial pressure or the feeling of not enough minutes in the day get to you or your small business. The above apps will save you time, sanity and with free or small price tags, they won’t break the bank on your new small business.

What are your favorite apps for managing your small business? 

Christine MaxwellChristine Maxwell is an Army wife and toddler mom. She works as a Budget Manager in Higher Education and also manages HerMoneyMoves, a blog about personal finances, career and military family life geared toward military spouses and their families.



  1. Asana is another amazing free tool! I use it to stay on track with deadlines and communicate with my team of remote workers.

  2. Who would have thought that there will be applications that really do not cost much, but will help the business to develop. Software has become very important for small businesses because everything needs to be controlled and this is where applications help.


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