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Review: Moneybook for iPhone – Finance with flair! [iPhone App Reviews]

jaib reviews moneybook

version 1.0

MoneyBook is the app I’ve been quietly waiting for, although I didn’t know which developer would make it or what it would ultimately be called. It’s a great little tool for tracking daily expenses and measuring what’s left of your monthly budget, and it does these things with a flair that we’ve come to expect from top design apps like Tweetie 2 and Convertbot. It’s a good idea to track your daily expenses, but MoneyBook makes the whole process into something really, really cool.

You’ll track your budget and various expenditures through four tabs: overview, expenses, recurring, and history. The tabs are pretty self-explanatory, but it’s the presentation and the sticky-note simple user interface that make this setup really shine. It’s a pretty program, but the visuals aren’t as overwhelming as the ones in Awesome Note (a popular note-taking app).

Overview

The first tab in MoneyBook provides you with an overview of your top categories, your average daily spending for the month, and a quick glance at how much of your monthly budget is left (if you set one up – you don’t need one for the app to function). Each of the sections within the Overview tab can be turned into an animated graph, and it’s a great way to see where all of your money is going. This month shows that I’ve spent most of my money on “Home” items, but if there was a separate category for chicken nuggets, that one would be up top.

The graphs and scales are great eye candy, but I don’t visit them all that often. What I really want the app for is a simple monthly budget counter and some sort of way to track daily expenses. To this end, I’m extremely happy with MoneyBook. The app always opens up to the ‘overview’ tab, and there’s a big old “New Expense” button near the bottom of the screen for quick entry. The quick entry screen shows you a generously sized num-pad, a date picker and title box (tucked away at the top of the screen), and a great icon-based category system. There are two pages of categories to slide through, and choosing one is as simple as tapping on the right icon.

This means that you can load MoneyBook up after a meal, record and categorize the expenditure, and then put your iPhone away — all in under 10 seconds or so on my 3GS. You can make this entry process automatic if you have a particular monthly expenditure you’d like to track, and these recurring costs are added to the app on the first of every month. What isn’t included in the “new expense” creation process is the ability to include deposits. Sometimes I don’t spend money, but actually earn some instead, and it would be nice to be able to record that (as proof to my parents that I’m actually doing something with my life). Simpler programs, like the excellent Sums notepad, already include this feature. However, it seems like MoneyBook users have spoken up, and the devs are listening: deposits or non-expenses are coming in version 1.3. Actually, I recommend reading the noidentity blog in general: it’s a great way to find cool little MoneyBook tips.

Expenditures and History

You can dig down into the nitty gritty of your monthly spending in the Expenditures or History tab. Expenditures will only show the current month, but the history should fit a couple of months at the very least (the app has only just come out, so I’m not sure how deep this rabbit hole goes). Regardless of which of those two tabs you’re viewing, individual expenses show up as items on a paper that looks like it’s taped to the screen. Each strip of paper represents a day, and each item shows the cost, category, title, and a tally of the total spending for that day.

The only thing I’m really missing here is some sort of smart counter to show me how much money I had spent in the month based on what I’m viewing on-screen. That is to say: if I’m viewing my spending on December 5th, I’d love a little tally at the bottom of the screen that showed how much money I had spent in the month until that date. That’s not a criticism, though – just wishful thinking after having seen so many gorgeous, contextual graphs on the first tab.

No Sync or Backup

I’m not overly concerned by this, but it’s worth noting that MoneyBook is currently lacking any solutions in the backup and syncing department. You’ve got MoneyBook, and that’s it.

Conclusion

Like I said in the first paragraph: I’ve been waiting for an app like this for a while, and now that it’s out, it’s even better than I had imagined. The app’s tagline is “finance with flair”, and I think it fits MoneyBook to a tee. MoneyBook features a great tabbed system, a great quick-entry system, and a really stylish way of visualizing your monthly spending. Just beware: those cool animated graphs you’re watching, that’s your money going bye bye. I’m just saying.

MoneyBook is available on the App Store for $2.99.

MoneyBook was provided by noidentity (seriously, that’s the company name) for review on Just Another iPhone Blog. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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