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Updated on Friday, April 29, 2016
Since most of our transactions happen electronically with a credit card swipe or click of the mouse, it’s easy to lose sight of where your money is actually going each month.
Budgeting apps, like Wally, are a convenient way to keep track of expenses so you can meet savings targets and other financial goals.
How to Use Wally
Wally is available for iPhone and Android. After you download and subscribe for Wally on your device, you will see three main tabs on the left side of the screen: home, income and review.
The home tab is the opening screen and it’s where you enter expenses. You can choose from expense categories including transportation, clothes, entertainment and more. There are also subcategories within each major category where you can get really specific.
For example, under the home category there are additional line items including mortgage, rent, furniture and more. If a subcategory isn’t on the list, you can create your own.
Every time you go to enter an expense Wally will try to guess where you are on a map and connect your expense to that location. You can also scan receipts.
In the income tab, you add up each of your income sources for the month and set your savings goal. At first glance, I could not figure out how to set a goal for this review.
Tinkering around I found out you have to hold down and drag the orange scroll bar in the income section for savings target to pop up.
Here’s what the income section looks like before and after holding down the orange circle:
This is just one example of how the Wally interface is not so straightforward.
The third and final tab on the app is for budget review. This area shows a very basic analysis of your spending by category each week, month and year.
Who is Wally best for?
Wally is for someone looking to just track money coming in and going out to cut down on excess spending. The budget history section of Wally is a breakdown of your spending with minimal detail. It’s just a pie chart with color-coded expense categories. If you’re looking for an app that has more to offer in the analytics section, this isn’t the one for you.
What does Wally cost?
The best thing about Wally is it’s free. In the future, the creators of Wally may add premium plans with extra features like currency conversion and money management for families. But, there will always be the basic free version of the app that includes the expense tracking tools.
What are the pros and cons of using Wally?
If you’re on the hunt for a budget app, here are a few pros and cons of choosing Wally:
- It’s free.
- It’s available on iPhone and Android.
- It saves the locations where you shop often so you can enter them quickly in the future.
- You can assign recurring income and expenses.
- You can take photos of receipts to store them.
- There’s a review section where you get a very basic overview of your spending habits.
- You can export data via CSV and store your data on iCloud.
- Wally isn’t as user-friendly as it could be. It took some digging through the user tips manual to figure out the app.
- The review section for expense analysis is limited.
- Wally doesn’t link to your actual financial accounts. What your app says and the money you physically have in the bank may not match up if you forget to put an expense in.
How does Wally Stack Up Against the Competition?
SpendBook has a leg up on Wally when it comes to analytics and how user-friendly it is. The basics of the app are relatively similar though. You manually enter your income and expenses.
But, in addition to that, SpendBook has a calendar where you can review budget history down to each day. There’s also a section to manually enter balances from your financial accounts to see how income and expenses impact your bottom line. SpendBook costs $1.99 for iPhone.
LevelMoneyis another similar system to track spending except you have the option to connect your financial accounts to the dashboard. Level Money uses your income, expenses, and savings goal to calculate your “spendable” amount, which is like an allowance.
This app is free and available for iPhone and Android. It uses 128-Bit SSL and AES encryption to keep your data safe. It’s also security verified by Intuit and McAfee.
Toshl Finance is a budget system with more options. You can manually enter data. Or you can connect up to two financial accounts for free. Toshl Finance uses your spending habits from the past to create a spending plan for the future.
You can export data to PDF, Google Docs, Evernote, Excel and CSV. You can also sync your Toshl Finance account with other devices. The service has bill reminders and spending analytics. It’s available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. The basic service is free, but the advanced version where you can set-up unlimited financial accounts and budgets costs $1.99 per month.
Should You Use Wally?
The biggest negative of Wally is it’s not particularly easy to navigate at first. Still, it’s free. So, if you’re looking for a way to take control of your everyday spending, this app is worth a try.