I’ve owned my iPhone for about a year and a half, so I’ve had quite a bit of time to download and experiment with many different apps. I’ve finally settled on a core few that I use regularly, and I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts about them with you. So, without further ado, I present to you my new series: Apps I Use.
Budgt: A Simple, Well-Designed Spending Tracker
I spent a lot of time looking for a decent money tracking app. I wanted something that would allow me to track my income and expenses on a monthly basis, and I wanted it to be simple and user-friendly. I’m not big into apps that are busting at the seams with features. I just want an app to do what I need it to do as simply and efficiently as possible—preferably in a visually pleasing manner. Because I currently live with my parents who generously don’t charge me rent (yeah, yeah, cue jokes here), I don’t have a lot of monthly expenses, but I wanted to be able to see a breakdown of where I was spending my money.
I did some googling and read a bunch of reviews, and all signs pointed toward Mint. So I downloaded it, but soon discovered that because I bank at a small local credit union, I couldn’t set up my banking information. So that was a bust. Next, I tried using Lemon for a while but never quite got into it. It seemed unfocused, overly-complicated, and poorly designed. Then I found Toshl, which I used quite happily for a while before it started crashing every time I opened it.
Finally, I found Budgt. I don’t remember the sequence of events that led me to this lovely little app, probably some suggestion on Twitter or recommendation by the App Store, but I’m glad I found it. It’s lightweight, simple, extraordinarily user-friendly, and beautiful. Let’s take a look.
You start off by setting up your monthly budget, which is organized into income and expenses. You can set items to either be recurring or one-time-only. As you can see, I’ve entered my monthly bills as recurring (indicated by the circular arrow). Because I am paid on an hourly basis and my paychecks vary from week to week, entering a recurring item for my income wouldn’t make sense, so I enter my income as one-time-only items when I receive my paycheck (which I have not yet done for the month of May).
Once your budget is set up, all you have to do is enter your daily expenses and Budgt will do the rest. It divides your budget by the number of days in the month and shows you how much money you can spend that day. When you enter an expense, you have the option to tag it in predetermined categories such as ‘Food’ or ‘Clothes,’ or you can also make your own categories. If you forget to add an expense on the day you incur it, you can simply use the calender to go to the correct day and enter the expense.*
Budgt also has a handy month view that allows you to see how much you’ve spent so far this month, how much you have left, and also what you’ve spent it on.
And that’s it really. There are more options in the settings menu that allow you to export CSV files or set reminders. And Budgt also had a travel mode that converts currencies and a month overflow option that adds or subtracts your leftover money from the previous month into the next month’s budget, but I have not used either of these options, so I cannot really speak to them.
Overall, Budgt is a great little spending tracker app. I would recommend it to anyone who has relatively uncomplicated finances (few monthly expenses) but wants to keep track of where she’s spending her money.
*My one qualm with Budgt is that you cannot go back to the previous month to add forgotten expenses. Your editing capabilities end at midnight on the last night of the month. When I figured this out, I was mildly annoyed, so I actually sent in some feedback requesting that they change it to allow previous months to be editable. A couple of hours later, I received a lengthy note from one of the app developers explaining exactly why they don’t allow this (it has something to do with the way the app calculates the budget; the math would get screwed up if they made previous months editable). I was amazed that he’d taken the time to respond to me. It made me love the app just a little bit more.