Mobile money managers

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02.Budgeting and computer apps

Budgeting apps

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_iCompta3_Logo  iCompta 3

  Price: $4.99
  Platform: iOS

iCompta 3 crams an entire budgeting program, with features you’d expect to find in computer software, into an app. On top of standard budgeting tools are options to add securities and a currency converter for foreign investments. But having so many features under the hood is iCompta 3’s drawback, as it’s extremely complex for a smartphone app. The level of detail adds too many steps to expense recording, the long list of options can appear daunting to new users, and small text can make navigation difficult. It also requires a recent-model smartphone to run smoothly.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_BudgetTouch_Logo  Budget Touch

  •   Price: $6.49
  •   Platform: iOS
Budget Touch uses the envelope budgeting system. The interface is relatively clear, but entering transactions requires more steps than most of the apps we reviewed, and general navigation feels less intuitive. If you want to connect to the desktop version (not required) you can only sync via a local Wi-Fi connection. This is restrictive compared with other apps that use web portals, which can be accessed anywhere. Some additional features are locked behind a second paywall.

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MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_MoneyWisePro_Logo MoneyWise Pro

  Price: $7.99
  Platform: Android

If you’re budgeting for a single income and are an Android user, consider MoneyWise Pro. It can’t sync between devices, but it does include a spending tracker, a separate income tracker, budgeting features, an option for multiple accounts (for a single user) and comparative graphs and pie charts. The filter tool can clearly compare categorised transactions, so you can quickly examine your transaction history. Multiple currencies are integrated, which is handy for travel budgeting, but exchange rates need to be entered manually. In addition to standard export options, MoneyWise Pro offers HTML conversion with a layout that’s suitable for printing. A free version with ads is also available.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_EEBA_Logo Goodbudget (formerly EEBA)

  Price: Free
  Platform: iOS, Android

Once an Android exclusive, Goodbudget is now available on iOS. Although the layout isn't as clean as that of the Android version, it still offers a straightforward approach to envelope budgeting, with easy-to-interpret summaries represented by an expense meter. Multiple-income households will benefit from its live sync feature, which instantly updates envelope transactions across all registered devices. You can only sync to two devices and the web portal in the free version, which will suit most people. Additional features require a monthly fee. Note: at the time of writing, Goodbudget was operating under the brand Easy Envelope Budgeting Aid (EEBA).

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_PocketMoney_Logo PocketMoney

  Price: $5.49 (iOS), $4.74 (Android)
  Platform: iOS, Android

PocketMoney’s functions are similar to other budgeting apps, but its step-by-step instructions and integrated links to tutorials set it apart. However, if you try to sync to the desktop version, you may find the default tools complicated and access to the web portal incurs an additional cost. In fact, many features (e.g. pie charts) are locked behind paywalls, and while the “lite” version is suitable for simple budgeting, complex accounts may require these extra functions. The iOS version offers more features, including the option to reconcile your accounts (which is absent from the Android release), as well as an improved interface. For its level of depth, PocketMoney is easy to use, but the microtransactions for extra features can increase the cost of the app.

Computer software extensions

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Moneydance_Logo Moneydance

  Price: Free (iOS), $US49.99 (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, desktop

If you use Moneydance, the bulk of your budgeting will take place on the desktop version. The mobile app is a simple, on-the-go expense tracker to be used alongside the desktop tool, but syncing to the software can be tricky. You have the option to connect over a mobile network via the Dropbox app, available separately or directly through a local Wi-Fi network. We had trouble connecting Moneydance to Dropbox, but syncing via a local Wi-Fi network is straightforward. Note that you can download this app free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the paid desktop version.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_Pocketbook_Logo Pocketbook

  Price: Free (iOS), Free (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, desktop

Pocketbook is a home-grown app that can sync with most local banks, so you can transfer your account information for accurate on-the-go budgeting. It’s a huge time-saver, but accessing this feature requires you to use your online banking details, which you may not be comfortable with for security reasons. If you pay your bills via your online bank account, Pocketbook can alert you to overdue expenses, and it sends you weekly budget summaries. You can use it without the desktop companion, but its functions as a solo app are limited to expense tracking.

MobileMoneyManagers_FILLER_YNAB_Logo You Need a Budget (YNAB)

  Price: Free (iOS, Android), $US60 (desktop)
  Platform: iOS, Android, desktop

As with the other desktop companions, YNAB for mobile is a simple expense tracker that won’t work until you sync it with the paid desktop version. The app is well designed, and much easier to use than other desktop companions, and can sync across multiple devices with multiple budgets via Dropbox or local Wi-Fi. But rather than leave you in the dark, YNAB guides you through the steps required to connect to Dropbox. Most of the customisation options are limited to the desktop version, so on-the-go tweaking isn’t really an option. Note that you can download this app for free, but it won’t activate until you sync to the desktop version.

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