Desire: Manage Your Financial Goals

It’s Productivity Week here at iPhone.AppStorm, and all week we’re going to have app reviews and how-tos, all based on getting things done. Plus, we’ll even pull some classic reviews out of the archives. Stay tuned all week!

A key practice that can lead to better productivity is getting the things in your head out into the physical — or digital — world. While there’s no shortage of task managers out there to help you with those little nagging things that you need to get done, there’s a large market for other things that can be distracting as well. Desire aims to help you stop worrying about how much money you’ve saved up for a specific item, whether or not you can afford something, or how much longer you need to wait before you can get going on another project.

So does it work? Read on past the break and find out!

Getting Started

Desire starts out with a blank slate. Whereas most apps of this type (or, most types, really) would provide a little tutorial showing you how to get started, Desire just sits there waiting for your first tap. While this can be a bit jarring at first glance, I welcome the lack of hand-holding.

Adding your first Desire is easy enough; one press of the “+” in the top-right corner brings you to a screen where you can name your Desire and list how much it costs. This couldn’t get any simpler, and makes tracking your first item or goal incredibly easy.

Desire's main view

Desire's main view

Once you’ve listed an item, tracking is a cinch. The app allows you to deposit and withdraw money from your savings pool, which is handy for those times that you need to pull that money out and buy something important — like, you know, food. That feature has been one of the most important in my use of the app, as I’ll often put a large amount of my paycheck into savings, record it, and then if something comes up that I need (or want) to buy, I can withdraw the money without a problem. I can’t stress how much this has helped not only with a strictly financial aspect, but also by just helping me get all of those numbers out of my head and into something real.

View Your Desires

Desire sports a large amount of non-standard UI elements. Everything on the page is custom, from the typefaces used to the colors and styles of the graph and meters. I feel that Desire does a good job of balancing visual weight with functionality, presenting information in a refreshingly crisp, friendly way.

The item view in particular is very customized.

The item view in particular is very customized.

The main page will show you each of the items you’re currently tracking, with a small percentage-complete indicator on the right-hand side. Where the app really shines is with showing you detailed information after you tap on an item.

The view changes slightly when you tap on the Saved row.

The view changes slightly when you tap on the Saved row.

Within the item-view screen, Desire pulls out all the stops to help you manage your goals. Not only are you provided with a detailed metric outlining how much money you’ve saved compared to how much money you need to save, but you can also view a detailed history showing all past actions with a certain item. This is handy for when you’re trying to pinpoint exactly how much money you’ve set aside during a certain week or month.

Revisions

As it stands, Desire is useful for when you’re trying to simply track information, but it isn’t particularly helpful in any other regard. There are a few things that I definitely missed while I was using the app, making it so that I had to jump between a few different applications to perform relatively simple tasks.

Desire's History page could provide some more detailed information, and looks odd compared to the usual item interface.

Desire's History page could provide some more detailed information, and looks odd compared to the usual item interface.

For example, trying to figure out how much money you need to set aside for taxes on an object can be as important as the actual cost itself. I recently purchased a MacBook Air, and when you’re working with around $1200, knowing how high those taxes are going to get (especially in New York state) can make the difference between buying something that week or the week after. While I’m not saying that Desire should do this kind of thing automatically (though it would be nice) I am saying that the functionality required to do so–a basic calculator–should absolutely be bundled in this number-crunching app.

I would also like to know how much money I need to set aside each week or month in order to meet my goal. It’s easier to save when you have an exact figure in mind, instead of trying to ballpark or save what you can. A calculator would be handy for this as well, but I really wish that the app would just provide this information automatically.

Conclusion

It’s no mistake that my two main complaints with the app have to deal with the lack of a built-in calculator. Practically every time I launched Desire, I had to make sure that I also had Calcbot (my calculator of choice) launched as well, and I would switch between the two constantly. While they both fill their niches very well, it’s disappointing that Desire practically requires another app if you’re serious about saving some money.

For people with simple needs, though, Desire will fit the bill perfectly. It has a nice user-interface and provides a nice history of your actions within an item. For someone that wants to save up for a smaller item, Desire has the right amount of features; past that threshold, though, and using it starts to feel cumbersome and frustrating.

Is it worth a download? That depends. I would say yes, if you know what it is that you want from an app like this and you’re okay with working in a few different apps to get something done. Beyond its core functionality, Desire offers piece of mind and a place to store those tiny little dollar signs that can distract you from the important things. While it isn’t a complete solution, what Desire does do, it does well. With a few changes — or a little patience — Desire can really help you with your day-to-day life.


Summary

Desire aims to help you track how much money you've set aside for those items that you really want.

6