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Updated on Friday, May 6, 2016
Disclaimer: This app is no longer available.
Ever felt like an analog kid in a digital world? Believe it or not, there are budgeting apps out there for people like you that may just be better than pen and paper. Spendbook is one of them.
What is Spendbook?
Spendbook is a budgeting app on iOS that allows you to manually enter all of your income and expenses. Because all information is kept only within the app and only on with which phone you have downloaded the app, it carries none of the capability or perceived risk of integrating your financial accounts in real time like other budgeting apps.
How does Spendbook work?
Using Spendbook’s calendar, you can either log income and expenses as they happen, or you can enter them predictively, which essentially allows you to create a budget. With each logged event, you can add notes in case the wide array of predetermined categories isn’t specific enough for you. Its interface is repeatedly cited as making it one of the most user-friendly budgeting apps around.
Spendbook isn’t just practical, though. It’s also pretty. Users can upload pictures of their purchases to help them remember what exactly it was that they purchased. They can also view charts that show spending habits over a period of time in order to evaluate any behaviors that need to change.
What security features does Spendbook offer?
Because it doesn’t integrate outside financial accounts or allow you to access your data from more than one device, Spendbook is a bit safer than some of its counterparts. You will be prompted to log in every time you go to use the app. This log in process and the password to get into your iOS device are meant to keep the hackers out.
Who is Spendbook best for?
Spendbook is best for people who use iOS devices and don’t want to give an app their banking information. If you have a habit of manually keeping track of your income and expenses, Spendbook is a great way to do it without wondering where that piece of paper you were scribbling numbers on went.
Because of its photo features, Spendbook may also be a good match for visual learners. On top of viewing a log of numbers, you’ll be able to go back and see all of those meals and drinks you dropped mad cash on when you’re struggling to pay a bill. They can serve as both a reminder and motivation to do better in coming months.
What does Spendbook cost?
Spendbook is $1.99. There are no monthly subscription fees, and you will see no ads. You pay the one-time flat rate on iTunes, and you’ll have access to it for the life of your phone.
Pros and Cons
While there are some definite pros for those who don’t trust third parties with their banking information, Spendbook’s set up also has some drawbacks. Consider both sides before downloading.
- Incredibly easy to use.
- Charts are available to track your spending habits.
- Can budget for the future by entering expected income and expenses ahead of time.
- No need to provide your banking information.
- No ads.
- Because you can’t link outside accounts, you also miss out on real time analysis. You will have to reconcile your Spendbook records against your checking account or credit card statement.
- Security features could be stronger, but perceived risk is also much lower than other budgeting apps on the market.
- Cannot link to other devices. Once you download, Spendbook is on that specific device and cannot be accessed elsewhere.
- Only available on iOS.
- Cost is $1.99.
How does Spendbook stack up against the competition?
Spendbook may be the prettiest app on the market, but it’s not the only one. Here are some other options:
WallyLike the idea of Spendbook, but don’t have an iPhone? Wally is essentially the same thing, though not as user-friendly or pretty. Wally does allow you to upload pictures of your receipts, though, which is a feature Spendbook lacks. For the moment, Wally is absolutely free. No costs. No ads. No pressure to upgrade.
BUDGT is very similar to Spendbook, as well. You manually enter expenses and can’t link external bank accounts, but you can log spending through the Apple Watch extension and export your data as a CSV file so you can access it in Excel. BUDGT is also only available on iOS and costs $1.99.
LevelMoneyLevelMoney is another basic budgeting app that helps you keep your day-to-day spending on track. This one is free, and does allow you to link your bank accounts if you don’t want to mess with manual entry and the potential for human error.
Should you use Spendbook?
If you like the idea of manual entry over linking your bank account information and have an iPhone, Spendbook may just be the app for you. It’s a lot easier to keep track of than paper and pen, but doesn’t require you to share sensitive information. Plus, that photo gallery of your latest shopping spree may just motivate you to trim down the spending.