Spend: The Easy Way to Manage Your Budgets

Managing personal finances is far from the most exciting part of one’s day-to-day life. It’s generally time consuming, requires you to always remember when you spend any amount of money, when you have bills due, when you receive income and the actual result of all the work is often not even worth the hassle. It’s no wonder most people don’t bother.

One thing that a lot of people try to do, is stick to a budget. It’s a lot easier than trying to manage your entire life’s finances, and can be very beneficial if you stick to it. Even so, keeping track of your spending, and having an effective and easy way to get an overview of it, can still be a pain. Enter Spend for iPhone.

Getting Started

Spend is an app that lets you easily manage your own personal budgets. Whether you want to cut down on how much money you spend on eating out, start saving up for a holiday, or just want help being better with your money in general, Spend can lend you a helping hand.

After launching the app for the first time, you are prompted to begin adding your budgets. What’s great about the app is that you can organize your overall spending limit into separate budgets. For example, I created four different budgets when I began using the app: food, petrol, nights out and other.

You set a budget amount for each one, how often the budget should start over (weekly, for example) and whether any remaining balances should rollover to the next cycle when it begins. There is also the option to group budgets into categories, set start dates and add an end date as well if applicable.

The app has a very familiar iOS feel.

The app has a very familiar iOS feel.

Ease of Use

Once you’ve set up your initial budgets, it’s all about just logging each purchase (or deposit) you make. This is where the advantages start to show. Most people, always have their iPhone with them at all times. This already solves a huge flaw that’s apparent when trying to budget via other means: you’ll never have to try and remember what you’ve spent. You can just pop out your iPhone once you’ve made a transaction, and in a few taps, it’s all logged.

Spend couldn’t make it easier to enter transactions. All you need to do is open the app after you’ve spent some money, tap on the name of the relevant budget, give the transaction a name (such as “McDonald’s”), enter in how much you spent using the big, numeric onscreen keypad, hit save, then close the app. That’s it — your transaction is logged, and your remaining balance has updated.

Unlike some other finance apps, Spend keeps it simple.

Unlike some other finance apps, Spend keeps it simple.

Going Further

Although using the app just as I’ve explained is already a great way to budget, the app makes use of some other nifty features to take things even further, all while maintaining its focus on your budgets, and always keeping things super simple and easy to understand.

Entering More Information in Transactions

As well as giving each transaction a name and amount, you can also change the date and time of the transaction (useful if you can’t enter the transaction in right away), and change its type, whether its an expense or a deposit. You can even add a note to a transaction, so you can remember exactly what movie it was you saw, or remember exactly why you spent $50 on a shirt — it’s all right here.

Of course you can also go in and later edit any transaction; change the date and time, edit the amount or delete it all together. A small gripe when deleting transactions though, is that you can’t swipe to delete. You have to tap the transaction, then on the next screen hit the delete button at the bottom. Not a huge deal, but I can’t see a real reason why that functionality wasn’t implemented.

Transfers

Run out of “nights out” money this month? Have a guy’s night out coming up this weekend? Not a problem. In Spend, you’re able to transfer balances from one budget to another. So if you’ve found yourself with a little more spare petrol money than you thought this month, you can transfer a bit of that cash over to your “nights out” budget. Easy.

Getting an Overview

Besides being able to go into each budget and view your individual entries, each budget in your list sits on a coloured block, which changes its colour depending on the remaining balance of the budget, and how far it has depleted. You can also view your spending in graphs — weekly, monthly, or yearly. The app will also tell you your average daily, weekly and monthly spending.

The features in Spend all work brilliantly.

The features in Spend all work brilliantly.

User Interface and Performance

It has to be said — I’m pretty picky when it comes to user interfaces, and often I’ll find myself deleting perfectly functional apps, even if there’s just a single graphical element slightly out of line. OCD, I know, but I’m far from the only person who appreciates a nice piece of visual app candy.

Luckily, the look and feel of Spend is overall, very good. It makes large use of the default iOS layout and menu systems, which are Apple designed and are very pleasing to use. Not only that, but the advantage to using the default layout is that it maintains uniformity with lots of other iOS apps. The app specific parts of the interface, such as the coloured arrows that your balances sit on, are clean and fit well with the overall look and feel of the app. There’s nothing distracting about it at all, everything’s very focused.

If I had to make a niggle, it would be that some options are found in places where you may not expect to see them. However, a small amount of exploration within the app counters this.

Is It Too Simple, Though?

If you take a quick look at other financing apps available on the App Store, you probably won’t be hard pushed to find an app that does more than Spend does.

The thing is, Spend doesn’t try to be anything that it isn’t. All the developer claims it to be is a great app for managing your personal budgets — and it does that exceptionally. It doesn’t track your bills, or your mortgage, it doesn’t link up to your bank account, it doesn’t do invoicing, it doesn’t do any of that – it’s just there to help you be a little more sensible with your money.

Conclusion

Spend is simply a brilliant app, that shows off just how you can use your iPhone to enrich your life. Never has keeping track of your budgets been this easy.

The app is zippy, has a clean interface, and maintains perfect simplicity whilst still packing in features. Apart from a couple of teeny niggles mentioned earlier, it’s hard to criticise Spend. It does exactly what it says it does, and in an incredibly intuitive manner.


Summary

Spend avoids the clutter and unnecessary features of other apps, that many users don't need, and delivers an incredibly easy-to-use app that can really help you in the real world.

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