Top 10 iPad apps to save you money

After investing at least $500 in your new Apple iPad, you're going to need a few apps to complete the experience. And while there are still relatively few iPad apps compared to iPhone apps, we went looking for the top 10 iPad apps to save you money. Since the device is still new, this list will include apps that literally save you money on purchases as well as apps that help you avoid spending money on another iPad accessory or piece of tech gear.

All iPad apps are free unless otherwise noted.

Kayak Flights: This app from brings the useful Kayak flight search tool to the iPad with a new layout designed to take advantage of the large screen and make it easier for you to find a cheap flight fast.

iBooks: Apple's new iBook App for the iPad offers you access to thousands of books at prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99, for the most part, which means you can save money on the current cost of a hardcover, and it offers a finely tuned and beautiful reading interface. One of the best things about the iBooks store is that every book offers a sample to let you decide whether you'll actually read the book before you buy.

Kindle: If you prefer to sync your books to other devices, such as your computer, iPhone or Kindle, you should check out the Kindle iPad app, which will not only offer you savings over the hardcover prices on most books, but also keep your place in sync across multiple devices. For a detailed rundown of which app offers the best reading experience, check out this Kindle v. iBooks head to head.

E*TRADE Mobile Pro for iPad:When you are buying and selling stocks, time counts, and making your way to a computer or trying to get a trade done on the iPhone's smaller screen could mean the difference between profit and loss. That's why the E*TRADE app is so nice. This iPad specific app lets you make trades and track stocks with a user interface that makes good use of the iPad's larger screen for showing important information about a company.

ABC Player: Forget plunking down $2.99 for the latest episode of Lost, thanks to the new ABC Player iPad app. This app is essentially an iPad friendly version of the ABC Web site, which gives you access to the latest episodes of your favorite shows for free.
Netflix: This app from Netflix is another great way to avoid buying TV shows and movies from iTunes, by using a subscription you are already paying for. Thanks to the recent addition of Starz and plenty of new TV shows, you should be entertained for a while.

Craigsphone: Craigslist, the bastion of free stuff, can be viewed on any Web-connected device, but Craigsphone -- Craigslist's app for the iPad -- makes searching for free bikes, old couches, and help wanted listings not only easy, but beautiful. The housing search screenshot shown below is but one example of how this free app is better than the standard Craigslist app. The ways this can save you money are as broad as the creativity and needs of Craigslist users.

Dragon Dictation
: So far, typing on the iPad is a mixed experience for many users, especially those with large hands. Even though the keyboard is much larger than the iPhone's, the recommendation for heavy typers has been to purchase an external keyboard like Apple's $69.99 Bluetooth Keyboard. But there's a cheaper way to improve the typing experience on the iPad -- stop. That's right, with Dragon Dictation, you can dictate your thoughts to the iPad and share them with built-in apps or email them to yourself. Full Dragon Dictation for the iPad review.

iDisplay ($4.99): Typically, adding an extra monitor to your Mac would cost at least $100 for a decent sized LCD, but for $4.99, you can connect to your iPad and use it as an additional monitor with a 1024x768 resolution, on which you can display any OSX app you want. There is also a Windows version of the software in the works. This app offers one of the best value adds for purchasing an iPad I have seen -- giving it a place on your desk even when you are working on your main computer.
Desktop Connect ($11.99): This $12 app is a blessing for anyone who needs access to their desktop running OSX or Windows 7 to accomplish more than the iPad allows on its own. With the low cost, you might be able to actually make the iPad a laptop replacement, at least on some short trips.

As we said, it's still early and there aren't a whole lot of personal finance and budgeting type applications out there specifically for the iPad. Hopefully, we'll soon see some apps from Rudder, Mint and Wesabe that can really make use of the iPad's large screen to show us what our finances look like. For now, you can always access these sites from the Web or use the iPhone app.
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