Moneywiz: Simple Yet Powerful Mac Money Management

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.

Introduction

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.

Moneywiz Splash

Setting up a new account in Moneywiz takes a matter of seconds.

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.

Moneywiz Main

The main screen of Moneywiz.

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.

Moneywiz Transactions

Adding a new transaction in Moneywiz.

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.

Moneywiz Options

The options available with each transaction.

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 Budget

Setting up a new budget in Moneywiz.

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).

Moneywiz Budget Status

You can easily keep track of how much you’ve spent by the green indicator bar.

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.

Reporting

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!).

Moneywiz Reporting

Reporting in Moneywiz is a really powerful feature.

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!


Summary

A simple yet powerful money management app for OS X which supports multiple accounts, budgeting and reporting.

9
  • Gavin

    How about this vs YNAB (or others)?

  • Iain

    I was a fan of Moneywiz when it was first released. However after issues with syncing and encountering a few bugs, limitations (eg refunds) and performance issues I looked elsewhere – YNAB is now my finance app of choice.

    I was also concerned with having to rely on the developers sync service, I have been burned in the past with apps stopping working because the developer shuts down – YNAB uses Dropbox so the use of the app is independent of the developer’s status.

    • Chris

      Huge YNAB fan here too. My personal finances are better understood and better managed now since using YNAB and the 4 YNAB rules of money.

      And the flawless sync from YNAB on my iPhone to Dropbox and YNAB on desktop means I can record all my expenditures on-the-fly when I make my purchases, and check my budget amounts when feeling spontaneous; and all this means my monthly “bookkeeping” takes just 5 minutes and then the rest of my “monthly” money-mgmt is spent on simply allocating(budgeting) my spending for the coming month.

  • David

    As far as personal finance applications go, $25 isn’t that much. Looking at Appstorm’s old roundup of 15 financial applications (http://mac.appstorm.net/roundups/finance-roundups/15-personal-finance-apps-for-the-mac/), most of the “serious” applications are $40 and up.

    I’ve been eying Moneywell over the years, but it’s the priciest of the bunch. You get what you pay for and all, but an application like this isn’t critical for me. One thing that wasn’t clear to me from this review (nor from the Moneywiz website) is how it synchronizes with your bank. You can import bank statements from a variety of formats, but I take it this needs to be done manually? There’s no automatic updating of deposits and expenditures? I was under the impression that some (but not all) money management programs are capable of this. Can Moneywiz do it? Can other programs do it, or have I misunderstood their features?

  • Junaid Ahmed

    Great review!! It’s awesome that there are ton of application for money management, budgeting and other great features but the review or comparison that’s always lacking is how it compares to Mint.com which is a free service that let’s you do all of this and more for free and on all platforms. I’ve been using mint.com since its inception in 2007 and I live it everybit and more. They’ve surely evolved overtime and much stable in automatically importing transactions from your current accounts makes it very easy to manage and track your money.

    Thanks again!

  • http://www.budgetdad.com Dennis C

    My wife and I use Moneywiz to keep track of our somewhat non-traditional budget.

    Forget the budget features. They’re great if you do that kind of stuff, but quite honestly categorizing every dollar you spend into several or even dozens of categories ($17 this month on clothes?!) makes absolutely no sense and you end up spending too much time and effort on the details of your budget and all it does is create stress about the money.

    Instead, we use a Daily Budget system. Basically, after paying every single one of our bills and saving a percentage of our money, we end up with approximately $2,500 a month. We break this down to $600 for groceries, $400 for gas, and $1,500 for what we call “daily” money. Anything that’s not gas or groceries has to come out of the daily budget. So, if there are 30 days in the month we divide $1,500 by 30 to get $50 a day.

    Here’s how the magic works. We pay ourselves that $50 every day. On the 1st, we have $50. If we spend $9 on a couple coffees and $22 on lunch out together we’ll have $19 left in our daily budget. On the 2nd, we pay ourselves another $50 and now we have $69 for that day. Dinner out for $42 and we have $27 left. On the 3rd, we pay ourselves $50 again and we have $77 for the day. And so on.. if we can string a few days in a row together were we spend well below $50 the daily account will build up and we can afford more expensive things and/or entertainment. If we buy groceries or gas we take the money out of those budgets instead of the daily. The $600 and $400 came from experience on how much we spend on those monthly. The budget is great, and can be adjusted to anyone (just take your amount after bills, gas, groceries and divide by how many days there are in the month to see what your daily allowance would be..we’re a family of three and thankfully $50/day is pretty comfortable).

    We actually only have one physical checking account we use for this (that gets the $2,500 at the beginning of the month), but we set up three separate accounts in Moneywiz to keep track daily. Everytime we spend money, we enter it into the app on our phones. It’s great because Moneywiz syncs in the background and is pretty easy for us to use. We just schedule daily transactions for “income” to the daily account in Moneywiz, and monthly ones for the other two accounts. The new upgrade on the iphone that allows these transactions to autopay has made it even easier (we don’t need to physically do it every morning anymore).

    We love Moneywiz. I wish there was another app out there that I could use the same way that made the transaction entering process a little easier. But, in truth, the slightly cumbersome process makes us slightly less likely to spend money on stupid things. The small barriers matter.

  • zhangxw9394

    I am using it on Mac and iPhone. Great apps!
    iCloud feature is my favorite. UI is also gorgeous.

    • LuZa

      Are you using iCloud with moneywiz?

      I thought only their own cloud service Sync Everywhere! is supported?

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