Need for a Good Personal Expenses Management App
3 min read

Need for a Good Personal Expenses Management App

Dated: March 17, 2013

Dated: March 17, 2013

I recently bought my first smart phone — Nexus 4. Until before that, the only mobile device that I used to use was my Apple iPad 2. In fact, I still use it. Besides various things that I do on my phone, I also want to easily keep a track of my spending. Being a college student, that is important for me. However during the little time I have spent with my mobile devices, I have only realized that there isn’t a free app good enough that has been able to catch my attention and fulfill my basic needs.

Please note: I am not talking about an app for wealth management. I don’t have much knowledge about it and I don’t know what goes in it.

The basic needs of an app like this, IMHO, are:

  • allow adding of expenditure with date, type, and other basic info.
  • allow tracking of the money you owe to somebody.
  • allow adding of your incoming pocket money (this is not money in your long term savings account, just the money you withdraw or the budget you set out of your income).
  • cross platform with tight security and web access.

Apart from the above basic needs, everything else is just icing on the cake. But even the icing can or rather will be instrumental in actually making the usable. For example, I think that the following features can be extremely useful and can draw attention:

  • Allow adding of recurring expenses. For example, rent, medical expenses, phone bills, subscriptions, etc.
  • Allow importing of receipts from various sources like email, scanning of receipts, etc.
  • Provide some basic statistics like daily, monthly, yearly expenditure. And trends in your expenses. And perhaps a few simple statistical tools for personal analysis.
  • And of course, a great User Experience!

The above list is definitely not an exhaustive list as this is a list I have built based on my experiences and the experiences of some friends who I talk to everyday. One thing that I really miss out of the above mentioned requirements is none of the apps allow you to track how much money you another person. IMHO, that is very important to track as that is the money that you have not spent but you have spent it i.e. the balance money today you have out of your monthly (or whatever cycle you use) budget includes the money you have spent. And that can be misleading if you tend to forget the amount of money you owe in totality to people. And then you overspend. This comes out of my personal experience. I am sure there are services for keeping track of the money that you owe. I have heard of I Owe You, but its really not usable.

There are some apps that have some of these, but definitely not all of these. I have not tried paid apps yet in Apple AppStore. I have tried just about every app in PlayStore. And I am yet to come across even a single one that does all of the above mentioned.

The only app that I feel comes a little close to a few points I have highlighted above is Toshl. Toshl is simple to use as far as adding expenses is concerned. Its UI is more pleasing than that of any of its competitors that I have used.

Currently, I use Toshl to manage my daily expenses. And I use Asana (yes, that awesome project management application) to track the money I owe different people. What I do with Asana is that I have created a separate project where every task is the name of the person and I add the money I owe in the notes of that person’s task. Its a dirty way but it still looks more organized to me. Besides, Asana is a lot more easy to use than any of these apps.

What we need is a functional and usable personal expenses management app. This app should be that to personal expenses management what is Asana to project management, Any.Do to To-Do Lists, Dropbox to File Sharing and Backup.

Is there an app hidden somewhere that I have not been able to find out or heard of? Is there some app that you think is better than Toshl and fulfills some of these requirements? Or do you have some inputs to add to the requirements? Please let me know. Perhaps some day we will make an app like that together and open-source it. :)

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