Best mobile personal finance app

On my quest to finding the best personal finance mobile application.

What I expect from a personal finance management application is:

  1. To be personal. I want to define my own small pool of tags for describing my expenses, maybe even in my native language or use my notations. I want to use my locale’s currency.
  2. To be fast and intuitive. I don’t want to read instructions or learn new shortcuts/gestures. I don’t want to allocate more time to this; I want to earn time.
  3. To be smart, but not too smart. I want to break down my income in fixed budgets and see how the funds decrease as the days go by. I want to be able to set budgets that move the remaining funds to the next period, and others that have a fixed starting value at the beginning of the financial period. I want to easily add expenses to one of the budgets, see my balance and some projections.

Best app that does all of these is Toshl Finance. It’s smooth, fast, uses my currency by default, stores data in the cloud and lets me describe my own tags. Unfortunately, I can’t describe more than one budget without buying a subscription. Yes, this is not a free-payed version app. They ask for a $20 annual subscription. Limited to one budget, this makes the app useless to me. $20/year is way too much for me; that’s more than my bank account’s annual fee! I would happily pay for an iOS app 4-5 eur one time. But Toshl is too expensive!

      

Moving on, I decided to look for cheaper alternatives. Like Pocket ExpenseFree. Neither the developers’ website, nor the iTunes description mentions the difference between the payed version and the free version. You need to download the free app, go to Settings and About full version and there find out about “recurring budget and rollover”, “create and manage your own categories”.

You need to manually set your currency (Toshl figured it out by itself). You will need to create an account first, and there is where I went into trouble – I didn’t know what to do. What do you mean account? As in how many bank accounts i have? Or am I allowed to input more than one account – e.g. a spouse’s account? I don’t know what “checking”, “reconcile” or “Auto-clear” means. I finally used this feature to model my budgets – because I didn’t see any other way. The categories are fine, but I would have preferred a tagging system, not scroll up and down 3 screens to find my best match. And it’s a hassle to specify a budget and a category for each expense – it’s double work! Too slow and not too intuitive.

Next on my list is Spending Tracker. Unfortunately, although it looks easy to use, doesn’t allow more than one master budget. I want to have separate budgets for clothing, house hold, holidays (rollover) etc. If I overspend one budget then I now that in that period I should save the same amount from the other budgets, if I want to end my month with a projected balance.

Personal Finance – MyAccounts has a lot of features for a free version, but although I set up some budgets and connected them to categories, I don’t know why adding expenses to top categories, in the same period, doesn’t consume my budgets. You need to always break down to specific 2nd level categories, which is difficult. And the budgets are very basic, no rollover, no recurring.

I would also give it a try to DollarBird and MoneyWiz – Personal Finance (payed apps). I am still investigating if one is right for me. I somehow doubt that I am able to set budgets that move their remainder to the next period, but MoneyWiz seems to get closer to the way I want to project and manage my expenses. Later edit: DollarBird answered they are preparing the budgets feature and MoneyWiz support them, with excess rollover only, but deficit is planned for later this year.

Later edit – also worth mentioning BUDGT that looks extremely simple and easy to use and might be a good fit to me and Spendee that has more complicated and original graphs to display your financial data in.