Keep A Beautifully Balanced Budget with Moni

Isn’t it funny how money, while being such an important part of our lives, often goes overlooked when it comes to digital solutions to managing it or tracking it? Sure there are options out there, but I know I never really took any of them seriously. In a lot of ways, I was prone to simply flying by the seat of my pants, hoping and praying that the numbers all balance out at the end of the month and that I didn’t owe anyone money I didn’t have.

Wouldn’t it be nicer though if you had a comprehensive record of incoming funds and outgoing expenses? Something that could give you an at-a-glance understanding of where your money was, where it came from and where it went?

Enter Moni.

A Feature Set Driven by User Interaction

Moni is designed to make you think. In the interconnected world that we live in today, the fact that it doesn’t use banking APIs or plug into every payment system known to man may sound odd. It may even sound like a negative point; a detractor from using the service. But in fact, it’s at the heart why Moni is a successful budgeting app. Because like I said before, it makes you think.

Everything about entering data into Moni is a manual process. Usually a sentence like that is meant in a negative connotation was discussing an app. That’s not how I mean it. That’s a feature of Moni. Every purchase you make you enter in and your new balances calculate themselves, showing you how much cash you have left after buying that third latte today, or how much is left in that nest egg of yours after booking that trip to Bermuda. You’re in control. Isn’t that how it should be with your money?

Moni's main UI

Moni's main UI

Perhaps that whole process sounds tedious, like an added stress or more friction. And increased friction is what stops an app from becoming a daily part of your life, and from becoming a useful tool.

So while Moni is without question a manual tool requiring user interaction, it’s a feature of the system, and separates Moni from every other automatic expense tracker. Built into the core of the app is the idea that you are in control of your money, tracking where it goes and where it’s from.

An Elegant and Intuitive Interface

Now that I’ve prepared you for the way Moni works as well as the amount of user interaction required to work the app, let me highlight Moni’s greatest strength: its user interface. Everything about it is designed to be smooth, sleek and as efficient as possible. Moni’s UI tries as much as it possibly can to decrease the inherent friction found in the app.

Slide-up navigation

Slide-up navigation

Moni uses the card metaphor for navigating different views. Screens slide up or down revealing different amounts of information depending on different configurations. Spatially, the bottommost layer is the app’s settings. Above that is the main view, showing the overview of your accounts and your most recent transactions. From the bottom there’s a dark tab flanked by “+” and “-” buttons used to add or subtract from the account listed in the dark bar. Again, swiping is the main interaction method. Swiping up reveals a more detailed listing of transactions for the individual account, and swiping left and right cycles through your accounts.

Moni's settings view

Moni's settings view

A key part in alleviating the friction found in manually entering information is that those two buttons in the bottom left and right hand corners of the screen are always present. A simple tap and up slides the topmost card in Moni, a keypad used to enter in numbers, along with an optional notes field in the bottom left of the screen.

Entering an expense

Entering an expense

Without question, Moni is a product of the gesture-based UI mindset. Custom designed for a touchscreen device as responsive as the iPhone, Moni makes generous but intuitive use of slides and swipes to the betterment of the user experience.

Room to Grow and Improve

As much as I’ve raved about Moni and it’s skill in creating an app that leaves the user in control and removes as much friction as it could, I do have some small points of criticism to lay down.

Like most iPhone apps, Moni is a black box. Data goes in and gets presented to you through Moni’s UI, but data doesn’t come back out again. You can’t “round-trip” your financial transactions and data into an Excel spreadsheet or a SQL database. When it comes to something as personal as one’s day-to-day financial data, I want some kind of reassurance that if Moni disappears off the face of the earth for any reason, the weeks, months or years worth of data that I’ve been putting into it can come back out in an open, standards-compliant way so I can be free to migrate to another software solution.

Along similar lines, I’d love to see Moni expand the ways it presents your financial data to you. Simple lists of incoming funds and outgoing expenses are nice, but there’s so much room for potential. Reports, graphs, analytics, trends. Show me how the raw data I’ve been entering in, the facts and figures, can become interesting stories. Like how my subscriptions to services like Netflix and Spotify add up to a higher percentage of my yearly expenses than I’d anticipated. Or that the espresso machine I purchased helped save me hundreds of dollars I would have spent of daily trips to the local coffeeshop.

In Conclusion

All in all, Moni is a fantastic app. It has a style to it that makes it a joy to use, but it’s a bit of an opinionated app, believing that you, the user, should be accounting for every transaction in your financial life. The app’s UI does all it can to cut down on the native friction to an app with such a manner, but at the end of the day, it still needs to become a habit to truly become a useful tool in your daily life.

If Moni has piqued your curiosity, give it a try today.


Summary

A personal financial tracker.

8
  • http://www.jessevirgil.com Jesse Virgil

    Nice review. It seems every few months I peruse the App Store in hopes of finding a killer money tracking app and I’m always left disappointed. When I came across Moni, I was really excited, thinking I may have found what I was looking for. After giving it a test run, it simply paled in comparison to Checkbook (http://bit.ly/70mrgD).

    I liked Moni’s interface and navigation, but found it was lacking in two areas. First, you can’t edit the date of purchase; so, if you forgot to input a purchase you made a few days ago, you can’t manually change the date. Second, Moni doesn’t remember previous memo entires. When I go to enter a transaction in Checkbook, I only have to type a few letters and a list of previous entries will populate, which I can then tap. It’s a really nice time saver.

  • http://moni.whitewaterlabs.com Jake

    Hey Jesse,

    We’ll have an edit screen soon in our next update…

  • Elad Peleg

    Without a doubt my personal favorite is CashBase (http://www.cashbasehq.com). It has a web as well as mobile version and it is completely free. I find the simple and clean interface just perfect for my needs.

    I think you should really review this tool, it’s awesome :)

  • Nexscience

    Nexscience announces the new application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for the management of documents.

    Santa Clara, California

    July 18th, 2012 — Mobile smart phones are changing the way we live, socialize and do our businesses. Our phones have replaced many other once-common tools, from GPS devices to handheld gaming consoles, notebooks, calendars, point-and-shoot cameras, newspapers and portable audio players.
    At a local technology event in San Jose, Nexscience, a California based startup, announced the release of a new mobile application ‘Document Manager’ for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app is the latest in a series of innovative ideas introduced to the Apple users by the developer community.

    Nexscience now introduces Document Manager, a new application available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Document Manager allows users to transfer files from their PC or Mac via a USB cable, through Wi-Fi and external systems like Google Docs and Dropbox. Users can view MS Office Documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), PDF files, unzip .rar and .zip files.

    You can also print documents through Air Print printer, save documents from the internet or save a whole webpage in your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. With TXT, RTF and HTML formats available, you can also read variety of books anytime you want. Document Manager also allows users to download Email attachments with the ‘Open In’ feature and share documents through emails directly from the application.

    Application Download:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/document-manager-download/id491630154?ls=1&mt=8

  • Pingback: 4 Apps That Help You to Save Money [iOS] | Electrobusiness

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