Budget, in general terms, helps you plan expenses by making you more aware of your saving and spending patterns. iXpenseIt does that and more with its latest version 2.4.1 available in the App Store.
Well, the world economy isn’t still back on its feet, and it’s less likely that it will be, by the time I finish my review.
I am going to cover the paid version of the iPhone app in this article. The idea behind creating iXpenseIt is fairly simple. It is supposed to help you track your expenses as you go.
I have been using some budgeting tools but the trouble with these tools had been:
- I had to go to my computer to enter and update the expenses.
- If I forgot to enter a few values than the whole exercise seemed futile.
So I was looking for an iPhone app which would make it easier to maintain and update my budget while I am on the move. And among all the other iPhone apps under this category, I found iXpenseIt most appealing.
The biggest advantage I found was that it offered me complete mobility. Now, I can spend my money and at the same time enter those expenses with just a few taps.
It is also one of the more popular iPhone apps, listed on top of all the other ‘Finance’ Applications (a category in the App Store) and has been in that position for months.
My objectives were pretty clear with what I wanted in an expense tracking applications.
- I wanted to be able to add a daily expense as it happens – I have a habit of forgetting anything that doesn't look attractive or sexy. Hence, it was difficult to recall expenses and note them.
- I wanted to be able to add expenses quickly – I have been using this app for over four months and by now I have a comprehensive list of options that I have been adding under ‘category’ and ‘subcategory’
- I wanted to be able to export the data – this is especially for my business expenses wherein I can attach receipts and stuff.
This application does more than that, and with their constant upgrades, they do seem to add useful features.
Objective of the App:
The objective is to make it easier for us to record our expenses and make us more aware of our expense-trend. Well, the iPhone app is fairly popular, and the current credit crunch might have a hand in that.
When you start, you could choose a ‘simple budget’ (an umbrella amount for monthly expenses) or ‘detail budget’ (setting specific amount to each category) or even add a ‘custom budget’ option, which allows you to set up multiple budgets with the ability to rollover.
Setting a budget amount is optional, I use a simple monthly budget of $10,000. (just kidding). I put 15% of my salary as the budget and then always end up extending it.
The usage is simple, as and when you incur cost, you open this app, select and enter required values, and it gives you the average expense, the balance etc
The application allows the user to select Personal or Business expenses. On a day-to-day basis, I put my expenses under 'Personal'. And in the next months while I am traveling, I will be putting the expenses under the 'Business' expenses category.
Selection of expenses
The idea is to be able to store, manage and track your personal expenses. With each expense, the user is asked to select or fill a basic form.
- Select Date – the default date is set to 'Today'. But you can change the dates by clicking on the same option.
- Enter the Amount spent (has currency conversion option)
- Select the expense type – Personal or Business (can be set as default)
- Select Category – there are many categories such as Food, Auto, Electronics, Household, Transportation etc to choose from. You can also add more categories.
- Select Subcategory – based on the category selected, you get more options.
Example: If you have selected the Category as Food, then for the Sub category, you will get the following options: Beverages, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. You can also add more sub-categories.
- Select the Mode of Payment – cash, cards etc. I have set it to cash for personal and credit card for business expenses.
- Select Vendor – it is the name of the shop, restraunt etc where you incurred the expense.
Example: I have added close to 10 vendors such as Mac, KFC, my super market, Star Bucks etc
- Enter 'Note' – this is just so you can add any optional comment.
Example: When I select ‘Beverages’ under the Subcategory, I add a ‘note’ that states if it was coffee, beer, vodka etc.
Most of the above options can be defaulted, thus, making it much quicker to enter certain repetitive expenses.
The application has a better UI in comparison to most of the other apps in this category. For starters, I like the color combination used in this application, which is not too hard on my eyes. I also found that this app has more user friendly features (calendar, graphs etc) and nice little icons.
I really liked the battery look-a-like indicator that shows me my current standing, based on my budget value, it goes from green to red.
- Simple to understand graphical indicators of your budget vs expenses. It allows you to view the graph based on amount, category, vendors etc.
- The main screen displays a comprehensive and very easy to understand summary.
- Displays the expense Summary of total, the average expense per day and the top expense of the month.
- Allows recurring expenses such as monthly rent, mortgage, utility bills, etc to be added.
- Stores digital photo receipts – although a zoom facility would be nice.
- Supports VAT/GST.
- Allows the user to customize icons for categories and subcategories.
- Allows the user to customize Expense Type, Payment and Vendor.
- Allows CSV and HTML data export via Email or via Wi-Fi, I loved this feature. This has made reporting my business expenses very simple as I just need to add the amount and upload the receipt.
- It has Complete world currency list with build-in currency conversion utility.
- It is available in 12 Languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), French, Italian, Russian, Korean, Finnish, Dutch, Danish.
- Provides simple mileage / kilometer tracking with customizable reimbursement rate.
- It has Password Protection – well, I have a password for my iPhone, which is the only protection I use. I am sure it’s a nice feature just that I haven’t felt the need to use it.
- Ability to easily delete the added options, by sliding your finger across the screen and clicking ‘delete’.
- Ability to set repetitive expenses such as rent, mortgage etc
- An option to ‘backup’ all your expenses (under ‘Settings’). I found this quite useful as I prefer backing up all my data for rainy day.
It would be nice to have the following features:
- Let's say that I enter my budget and based on my daily expense, the app tells me my average spending and the remaining balance. It would have been nice to actually have an alert that tells me if I will go beyond my budgeted amount at the rate at which I am going.
- After uploading my travel tickets on to the app – I should be able to expand the image for a better look.
TIP: There is an option using which you can see the amount of money spent on particular Vendor. This can be done by simply clicking on the ‘Report’ icon at the bottom tray and by selecting the option ‘Vendors’ under ‘Display by’. If you know that you’ve spent a good amount eating or shopping there, then you could ask for a 'loyalty discount'. (lol, I am yet to try it though).
Issues with the app:
I have been reading a lot of users complaining about crashes, and I am no exception. For example, it crashed while I was trying to use the Wi-Fi option to export my expense sheet to my computer or running any music in the background while trying to send the file using the email option or even when trying to back up my expenses.
Although, with the latest upgrade to version 2.4.1, the application has not crashed on me yet. I will keep you posted, if it crashes at all.
A practical and useful iPhone app if you either want to just track your expenses on-the-go or want to practice constraint. With the developers coming up with regular upgrades and listening to customer feedback, I think it’s worth its price of $4.99.
You can download iXpenseIt app from the App Store using this direct iTunes link. As always, don't forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments section.