I am a man of simple tastes, which is precisely why I love my Mac and the apps on it. I don’t want to have to read through lengthy tutorials and spend an hour of my time learning how to use an app before I can start playing around with it — to me, it should just be install the app, open it up and start using it. And it’s precisely this that drew me to Moneywiz.
I find that money management apps tend to overwhelm the user with their interface and countless features and aren’t really designed with the customer in mind. Moneywiz, however, defines simplicity, yet it does this without compromising on functionality and features. It is, in my mind, the slickest and most usable money management app on the App Store. Here’s why.
At $24.99, Moneywiz certainly isn’t the cheapest offering on the App Store (I managed to grab a code from the developer for this review), so you may be inclined to toss it aside for cheaper options. But I believe you shouldn’t dismiss an app solely on price – sure, there are free options out there, but they simply don’t match up to Moneywiz’s power and functionality – and I believe that this alone is worth parting with 25 bucks for.
Opening up the app was a breath of fresh air to me, as setting up an account is really nice and simple. Moneywiz features a sync service called Sync Everywhere!, so if you’ve got the iPhone or iPad versions of the app you can sign in and start straight away. Otherwise, you can set up a new account quickly and easily.
For this review, I’ve created a sample current account with a starting balance of £10,000. The main screen lists all your transactions (which we’ll come onto in a minute) and gives you easy access to your budgets, scheduled transactions and reporting features.
Working with Transactions
Transactions are handled really nicely in Moneywiz and the entire app makes it easy to keep track of your finances. When you add a new transaction, you can set its category, payee, amount, date and time and also attach an image (say, of a receipt or invoice). I really like this approach as it means you can add all of your transactions quickly and easily, without having to worry about filling out a load of fields.
Once you’ve added a transaction, it’ll pop up in the main transaction screen. Any income is colour-coded green and expenses are coloured red. This gives you a quick overview of all your transactions and allows you to distinguish easily between them – something that was very appealing to me. Moneywiz also presents you with a few options for each transaction: you can turn each one into a scheduled transaction (e.g. a regular payment, such as a utility bill or regular income, such as your salary or wage) and with version 1.4 (the latest version available), any scheduled transactions will be paid automatically – a real bonus.
One of the most notable features about the new release is the Refund button as you can see in the screenshot above. Although it’s a fairly simple transaction, refunding something actually presents you as the user with a bit of a problem if the option isn’t available. You could, of course, delete the transaction but then it would still show up on your account statement. You could also create a separate minus transaction (so, for my sample £20 iTunes transaction, I could create a corresponding -£20 transaction to offset it) but this approach is a little longwinded. In Moneywiz, you simply click on Refund, set the amount (you can set partial amounts, for example) and hey presto, the money flies back into your account.
This approach, to me anyway, simply emphasises the developer’s commitment to ease-of-use and shows how focused they are towards customers, rather than to small businesses (which I find most money management apps are geared towards), and it really impressed me.
Working with Budgets
Budgets are a great way to manage your money as they allow you to define exactly how much you spend each week on a certain thing. As a student, I know how important budgeting is and I regularly allocate funds for grocery shopping and going out (the latter tends to be much bigger than the former and often the allocation tends to drift, again in the direction of the latter…) so I can clearly see how much money is being spent.
Moneywiz lets you set budgets for almost every single transaction category. In the screenshot above, I’ve set a monthly limit of £200 for fuel for my car and I’ve chosen to not have any unused money transferred to the next month (so, say I spend £100 this month, then I’d have £300 next month to spend). My budget resets itself on the 12th of every month (though you can define this – budgets can run daily, monthly and yearly).
As you can see, when I add a transaction (in this case, £50) it keeps it within the Budget screen and takes the amount off from my budget. A little green indicator bar gives me a quick overview of how much of my budget I’ve already spent. Out of all the money management apps I’ve looked at, I think Moneywiz is the easiest to use when it comes to working with transactions and budgets and I highly favour the developer’s simplicity approach.
Of course, it’s always nice to know exactly where your hard-earned cash is going each month, and this is where the reporting features of Moneywiz come into play. You can create reports for virtually anything, including spending by category, your forecast income (if you’ve entered any scheduled transactions) and spending by payee (this is the category that tends to shock me the most!).
Of course, you can customise your reports by time period and they can be exported as either PDF files or CSV files. One thing I really admired whilst looking at the Reports section was the sheer ease of displaying all my transaction information in one, easy-to-read image. Anyone who has tried to draw a chart in a spreadsheet program will know what I mean — there are tonnes of variables to define and your data is never displayed in precisely the way you want it. With Moneywiz it’s a case of click on the report type, select the timeframe and it appears on your screen…like magic, really.
Should I Buy It?
Without a shadow of doubt: yes. I can appreciate that 25 bucks is a lot for a Mac app and it certainly makes you think twice before clicking that Buy button but with Moneywiz I am confident that you will get your money’s worth. I’ve used both the iPhone and iPad apps quite extensively and both of them are absolute joys to use. With the built-in (and free) sync service I know that my data is always check across all my devices, so this means I can add purchases on the move and they’ll be ready and waiting for me on my Mac when I get home.
What impressed me with Moneywiz, however, was not just its ease-of-use and fluidity but also how customer-orientated and non-technical it was. Some money management apps like to bombard you with complicated definitions and blocky, unimaginative interfaces but this one really is a rare exception: a beautiful, appealing app that doesn’t skimp on features – something which annoys me greatly. I’d certainly have no problems in spending $24.99 on an app which I would get daily use out of and I’m sure you wouldn’t, either.
So, despite the fact there are cheaper money management apps out there on the App Store, go ahead and treat yourself to Moneywiz and start using it straight away. You’ll soon discover that both you and your bank account will thank you in the long run!