Moneywiz: Simple and Fluid iPhone Money Management

I’m a man of simple tastes, which is precisely why I’m pretty much married to my iPhone. I love its simplistic design, its fantastic range of apps and the fact that whatever I want to access is only a couple of taps away. And it’s precisely this love of simplicity why I fell in love with Moneywiz. There’s a whole range of money management apps out there on the App Store, all with a huge variety of features, but sometimes I don’t want to spend a couple of hours learning about an app before I actually start using it. My ideal app is one where I can just pick up my iPhone, launch it and immerse myself in it.

Moneywiz, from the developers Silverwiz is a personal finance app available for iOS devices and OS X. It’s not a universal app (boo!), unfortunately, however the different versions do keep in sync with one another thanks to their Sync Everything! service (which is free) and for personal finance apps, it’s well worth checking out.

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Getting Started

Moneywiz is available on the App Store for $4.99 (and, as mentioned previously, there’s also an iPad version available, which I reviewed over at iPad.AppStorm). Unlike on the iPad (which has an interface based very much on the desktop version), the iPhone version of Moneywiz uses its own interface, however, don’t fret as it’s incredibly simple to use.

Upon launching the app for the first time, Moneywiz allows you to add all your accounts to the app.

Upon launching the app for the first time, Moneywiz allows you to add all your accounts to the app.

Upon launching the app for the first time, you’re presented with five different options as you can see in the left screenshot above. For starters, you’ll have to create a new account and Moneywiz allows you to add a current (checking) account, a cash account (for any cash in your wallet or purse, for example), a credit account (for credit cards or overdrafts) and a savings account.

Setting up an account is really easy within Moneywiz.

Setting up an account is really easy within Moneywiz.

You’ll be asked to give each account a name and to set its starting balance. The default currency is US dollars however you can choose any currency you want in the Settings section of the app. Once everything has been set up, Moneywiz will flick back to the main accounts screen, which lists all your accounts you’ve added to the app and a little coloured bar that turns green when you’re in credit and red when you’re in debt.

The main screen of Moneywiz.

The main screen of Moneywiz.

Now that we’ve taken an overall look at Moneywiz, let’s dive into its specifics to see where this app really excels.

Working with Transactions

In my opinion, one of Moneywiz’s most impressive features is the way it handles transactions. To enter one, simply tap on the account you’d like to assign that particular transaction to then click on the little upwards arrow in the bottom-right hand corner. Transactions are sorted into expenses, incomes, transfers and balance adjustments. For this, I’m going to add an expense (say, $100 on grocery shopping).

Setting up an expense in Moneywiz ($100 on grocery shopping) which then appears in your account's statement (on the right).

Setting up an expense in Moneywiz ($100 on grocery shopping) which then appears in your account’s statement (on the right).

As you can see in the screenshot above, I’ve added all the necessary info about my shop at Costco — including a relevant category. Moneywiz allows you to track your spending and income via categories, which comes in really useful when it comes to reporting and you can also add an image to each transaction (for example, a picture of the receipt), making it really easy to stay on track with everything.

The sheer ease of adding a new income or expense in Moneywiz is what captivated me the most. I know how hard it is to stay on top of your finances and having to add every single transaction to the app can get a bit tedious after a while (unlike other financial services, such as Mint.com, Moneywiz does not integrate with your financial institution) but it took me a mere 10 seconds to add all the information you can see in the screenshot above. This ease-of-use makes Moneywiz, in my opinion, an incredibly simple app to work with.

You can also add scheduled transactions, which is very useful if you have a regular expense (say, a utility bill) or income (your wage or salary, for example) going out of or coming into your account each month. To add a scheduled transaction, all you need to do is simply tap Scheduled on the main screen, then select its type. I’m going to add a regular income of $2,000 each month.

Setting up a scheduled transaction (either income or expense).

Setting up a scheduled transaction (either income or expense).

You can choose a custom frequency (e.g. every 3 months, every 6 months, every day and so on) and Moneywiz can also “auto-pay” any transactions — meaning that they’ll automatically appear in your account (if not, all scheduled transactions will have to be “approved” before they appear in your statements).

Budgeting

As a former student, I know how important budgeting is and there’s nothing worse when you’re hunting through the bargain bins at supermarkets and having to eat all the dodgy items in your cupboards to tie you over until payday. Moneywiz attempts to help you avoid this by allowing you to set a budget. In the screenshot below, I’ve set a weekly budget of $50 on food.

Budgeting within Moneywiz. Note that because of the transaction I added earlier ($100 on grocery shopping), this has exceeded my weekly food budget of $50.

Budgeting within Moneywiz. Note that because of the transaction I added earlier ($100 on grocery shopping), this has exceeded my weekly food budget of $50.

Moneywiz asks which accounts you’d like it to monitor (in this case, I’ve got both accounts that I added, my checking account and my credit card) and which categories as well. So, you could create a budget for gas, going out, utilities and so on — if there’s a category in Moneywiz then you can set a budget on it. The app can also automatically transfer any unused money — say I spent $35 in one week on groceries, the next week I would have $50 + $15 remaining from last week = $65.

Reporting

Knowing where all your hard-earned cash has been spent is extremely important (and sometimes shocking) for me and Moneywiz lets you keep track of almost every aspect of your spending, from net worth to trends (if you’ve added scheduled transactions) and spending by category. Each report can be customised to a particular date range and, if you prefer, to an individual account that you’ve added.

Moneywiz can report on virtually every aspect of your spending.

Moneywiz can report on virtually every aspect of your spending.

Reports can either be saved locally within Moneywiz (so you can refer to them in the future) or exported as either PDF or CSV. When you export a report, you’ll be given the chance to email it to someone — unfortunately there’s no option to open it up and save it within Dropbox, Google Drive or any other compatible app on your iPhone.

Conclusion

I’ve said it before in my review of the iPad version and I’ll say it again: Moneywiz is absolutely brilliant. For sheer simplicity, the app excels over all of the competition out there on the App Store and yet it does this without compromising on features. For the average Joe like you and me who just wants to keep track of their spending, Moneywiz is the perfect option. The Sync Everything! service also allows you to keep all your financial data in sync across all your devices (Moneywiz also has an iPad and Mac version), meaning that any changes you make on the move are ready and waiting for you when you get home.

My only slight criticism with the iPhone version is that it does feel a little cramped here and there and flicking back and forth between screens can get a little tedious after a while. I would like to see a sidebar introduced with easy access to your accounts, budgets, reports and so on which eliminates the need (for me, anyway) to have to go back to the main menu to access a different part of the app.

Otherwise, I would not hesitate in recommending this app to anyone who wants to keep their finances in order. Sure, it’s a little more than some of the offerings out there on the App Store, but I still think Moneywiz is an absolute steal at $4.99, and you and your finances certainly won’t regret it in the slightest!


Summary

A money management tool for both the iPhone and iPad with a great interface and a wide range of features.

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