I suggested the team do the experiment, because I am, like Laura, OCD by nature and it already gives me great pleasure to make many useless lists, so why not be productive with useful ones?
I wanted to be proactive about my financial health this year and figured that tracking expenses with an app isn’t a huge task. That’s part of why so many New Years’ resolutions fail, because people are vague about their goals and there are so few specific action items. Using an app to jot down some expenses isn’t a huge commitment and my phone is with me all the time anyway, so it’s a constant reminder that I have to be aware of my purchases.
When I started by feverish hunt to for an expense tracking app, I was determined not to use Mint. I use Mint already to manage my bank accounts and loans because it’s convenient to view all my accounts together in one portal, but Mint is awful with categorizing. It’s always so wildly wrong (Paypal always gets categorized as shopping, always) that I might as well enter all purchases myself.
Mint also can’t track cash purchases and while this payment method may be falling by the wayside for some people, not for me! So really, all my financial habits tell me that I’m better off divorcing myself from Mint when it came to looking for an expense tracker.
I stumbled upon Saver first in my hunt for an app. It’s not free, which I wasn’t too thrilled about, but pie charts! Colors, slick designs! I was sold.
Saver is my favorite app out of the handful I played around with, and after MBT’s two-week challenge, it’s the one I’ll continue using. The app is $4.99 in the iTunes store, and it allows me to catalogue all my expenses as easily as possible. Once I started diligently tracking my expenses, I realized that bookkeeping is hard and while not a huge commitment like I mentioned, it does take some time. But anything worth doing takes time, right?
Adding expenses on Saver is easy. This shouldn’t be considered a pro, but you would be surprised at how counterintuitive it is to find a simple “add expense” button on other apps, often buried under various pages. On Saver, just enter the amount of a purchase, select from 15 choices to categorize your purchase, and if you so please, enter a tag for it and some notes about the purchase.
My favorite thing about Saver is how it takes your expenses and compiles it into interactive pie charts by time period, and then by category. You can look at how much you spent on groceries for the month of January, for last week, or for 2013 thus far. I personally prefer pie charts over other kinds of graphs, so this app has been extremely helpful in allowing me to visualize my expenditures.
If there were an additional feature I would like to add to Saver, it would be the ability to log recurring expenses so that I didn’t have to do it manually every month. I have automatic debit set up for my loan repayments and recreational expenses (gym, newspaper subscriptions) that I get charged for monthly, so it would be nice to not have to remember to enter those manually.