Money

App Directory: The Best Budget-Tracking App For Android

Most of the budget-tracking apps for Android fall into two categories: apps that let you manage your finances on your phone with some good features, or apps that are really designed as portals to more richly featured web apps or services where you’re really supposed to do the heavy lifting. We choose MoneyWise as the best Android app for budget tracking and on-the-go money management because it’s fast, free and gives you total control, right on your Android phone.

MoneyWise

Platform: Android
Price: Free/$6.50 (Pro Version)
Download Page

  • Features an easy-to-use and intuitive interface, perfect for experienced money managers and beginners
  • Supports multiple accounts, including cash, credit cards, investments and more
  • Supports multiple budgets and budget types with varying start and end dates
  • Allows you to quickly add or automate income additions and expense deductions from your accounts
  • Allows you to tag income and expenses with the budgets they belong to, types of transactions, and filter based on those tags for quick reference
  • Offers quick, at-a-glance views of your financial health, budgets, current spend and more by day, week and month
  • Builds detailed graphs based on your income/expenses over time or by category, specific budgets, and all accounts
  • Works offline and does not require data access
  • Allows you to export graphs, transactions and financial history as HTML or CSV
  • Can back up your financial data to your SD card or to Dropbox
  • Can be locked down with an app-specific password
  • Supports multiple currencies, and can convert transactions into different currencies while you travel
  • European users can snag “MoneyWise EU”, intended for international users who switch currencies often.

MoneyWise falls into the “allows you to manage your money completely on your Android device” camp, and it has no web app or desktop component to go along with it. Some people may see this as a drawback, but ultimately whether you want an app that lets you manage your budget and transactions on your phone versus an app that serves as a gateway to a more robust and feature-rich webapp, desktop app or other service is a matter of taste. If you want to manage your budgets, income and expenses on your Android phone, MoneyWise offers a powerful combination of features and ease-of-use that doesn’t get in your way when you want to log transactions and see how well you’ve been doing sticking to your budget.

MoneyWise also makes it incredibly easy to modify and manage your budgets on the fly. If you just earned a raise and want to devote a little money money to your entertainment budget, or direct more money to your savings budget, you can do so with a few taps. You can even toggle when your budget terms begin and end, so if you’re paid in the middle of the month or on an odd schedule that doesn’t begin at the start of a month, MoneyWise can accommodate you. The app is highly configurable, lets you switch currencies, modify tags and expense categories, reorganise transactions on the fly and will immediately update your budgets accordingly.

Finally, when you want to review your transactions, expense history and overall financial health, MoneyWise delivers with graphs and tables that you can tweak to see the whole picture or a specific subset of information. When you’re finished, back up your data to your Dropbox account for safe keeping, or export your purchase history to a CSV file to import to a desktop app or web app for more analysis.

The free version of MoneyWise is likely enough for most people, even though it has limits on the number of accounts, transactions, exports, tags and budgets you can have. The free version is also ad-supported, which is a bit of a bummer, and to unlock the app’s real potential, you’ll need to drop the $6.50 on the Pro version, which removes the limitations and ads. Still, we can’t dispute that MoneyWise has the features of other apps more than twice its price and blows some free apps away.

MoneyWise’s UI is pretty customisable and easy to use and understand, but it falls short of actually being “attractive”. It’s probably the app’s only significant drawback — it’s feature rich, but the look and feel of the app doesn’t really draw you in or make you want to use it. That said, if function matters more than form, you probably won’t care about this.

Also, MoneyWise is an independent developer’s project, so while you get a feature-rich app for no cost, don’t expect the resources of an entire company behind the tool to fix any issues you may come across or add new features that would make the app more useful for you specifically.

There are so many budgeting and finance apps for Android that clearly we can’t test them all, but here are some of the best apps strictly for budgeting and managing money from your Android device without the help of a web app or desktop app, and then some of the leaders whose names you know, but all connect to other applications or services off of your Android device to do the real work.

EasyMoney (Free/$9.95 Pro Version) is a great option if you’re looking for an pretty robust personal finance app that also has some budgeting features. You can track your overall financial health, add transactions and expenses, see upcoming bills and payments due, run reports on your expenses by category or type, and of course, see your monthly budgets, tweak them and see how much you have left to spend on a specific category. You can protect the app with a passcode and manage everything on your Android phone. The trick with EasyMoney is that it’s pricer than MoneyWise, and the budgeting features are just one subset of a broader app, so it’s not quite as robust as a budget tracking tool. If you’re looking for a holistic money manager for Android though, it’s worth a look.

Toshl Finance (Free/$19.95 per year for Pro Version) features fun, quirky characters to encourage you to manage your money wisely and help you achieve your savings goals. The app also is focused on budgeting, and lets you add expenses, tag them and organise them, and see how well you’re doing towards your budget. The trouble is that the free version of the app is functional but really serves as an advertisement for the pro version, which isn’t just a one-time payment, it’s a subscription — which is a huge bummer. Still, the app is great and fun to use, so it’s worth checking out the free version, especially if you’re just getting started with a budget and want it to be more fun.

iWallet (free) doesn’t have the bells and whistles that many of the other apps do, but what it loses in advanced features it makes up for in simplicity and attention to the basics. It’s completely free, allows you add your income and expenses, keep up with your transactions and make and manage budgets on the go. You can even examine your spending and saving habits on graphs and charts, rendered by the app. It’s a great option if you don’t want to spend money to manage your money, and you don’t need a lot of the fancy export or filtering and tagging tools that other apps offer.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) (Free app, requires $US59.95 desktop suite) was pretty close to taking the top spot, but even though you can add transactions on the go and see all of your budgets and their current health at a glance, YNAB’s real power is with the desktop app. Again, great for monitoring your money and adding a transaction here or there, but your budgets and other transactions are read-only, and in fact, you can’t use the mobile app unless you have its desktop component, which is highly functional, but pricey. Sadly the Android app has a ways to go before it’s really useful.

Lifehacker’s App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.


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