BudgetBook: Making Finances Sexy

With our increased use of powerful mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets, we have the opportunity to keep a lot of our life stored digitally. The finance category of the App Store has always been a popular one, since the promise of an all-in-one solution to monitoring your finances – right in your pocket – is an attractive one.

BudgetBook developer, noidentity, originally released MoneyBook on the iPhone, but that always lacked an iPad app. BudgetBook is a separate app with a separate binary, but clearly draws inspiration from its iPhone brother.

Money Costs Too Much

A lot of people like to budget since it offers them a little in the way of planning and forecasting their financial affairs. BudgetBook focuses on day-to-day budgeting and wants you to record everything you spend or receive.

BudgetBook is very, very simplistic. When you first launch the application, you are asked to create your first account by naming it and setting a figure for your budget. That’s all – simple for some, but too simple for others.

From there, each budget has three sub-sections: transactions, recurring, and statistics. Adding a new transaction lowers in a modal window, which encourages you to set a figure, choose a category for it, as well as a date. Although it took me a while to find out, tapping on the minus button will swap out the expense for an income, and vice versa.

Adding a transaction in BudgetBook is pretty simple.

Similarly, recurring transactions can be added through the latter option in the sidebar menu. A recurring transaction is entered in the same way as the value and type is entered in a standalone one. However, a new option to recur the transaction is presented with a variety of time-scales from yearly to weekly. BudgetBook will convieniently describe the schedule, such as Weekly on Friday or Yearly every 24 July, so you’re making sure that the choice is correct.

I do love the potential of iOS with apps that remind you to pay bills, so using those kind of apps in conjunction with BudgetBook seems like an awesome collaboration.

When you’re finished adding in transactions, you can always tap on the “Budgets” item in the sidebar to see a percentage of the remaining budget, as well as the figure left in your account.

Recurring transactions in BudgetBook.

But I Don’t Spend Money That Way

BudgetBook is highly flexible and offers a nice degree of customisability, allowing it to be applied to multiple scenarios. By tapping on the gear icon on the lower-left corner, and selecting categories, the types of spending can be removed or resorted. That way, your more frequent types of purchases can be on the first page and therefore easier to access.

Additionally, you can add your own categories by tapping on the plus icon. From here, you simply name your category and choose an icon. This allows you to create anything, from your spendings at Starbucks in your food account, to web hosting in your business’s.

Creating new categories in BudgetBook is simple.

Plus, in that same settings window, you can enter a four-digit passcode to protect your information from intruders. But, more importantly, to stop your 7-year old from entering in random transactions in his attempt to return to Angry Birds.

Statistics

BudgetBook also offers a simple set of visual statistics through the menu item of the same name. These are pretty simple but offer a way of viewing spending differences month-to-month on each account, and a total for each category. With these views, you can easily see how much you spent at Starbucks versus that of your groceries.

Design and Interface

BudgetBook is one of the better looking iPad apps, that slightly deviates from the standard set of iOS controls. I really appreciate the effort that noidentity have put into this application, making it feel like a joy to use. The book-style design makes everything look a lot nicer than if it were the plain old blue/grey combination of SDK elements.

Viewing transactions in BudgetBook is beautiful.

BudgetBook’s design and interface is very similar to its iPhone sister app, MoneyBook, as it is in functionality. Obvious ties – such as the icons on the types of transactions – are evident, although I don’t understand why these two apps aren’t a universal binary.

Conclusion

Having instant access to your financial history is fantastic on mobile devices. We’re now investing a lot of responsibility into our devices to handle our money, more so with the rise in NFC and contactless payments. Immediate reports of your transactions can be great, by making sure you’re staying within a budget while also planning spending on what’s left.

BudgetBook is a nicely designed app with significant ties to its iPhone sister app (although I still wonder why they aren’t a universal binary, or even titled the same), but it might be too simple for some. I, personally, found its level of simplicity ideal for my situation. Sure, it’s not a fully-fledged financing app, but that’s not what it’s aiming at.

Personally, I can’t see myself using this app any further since I don’t carry around my iPad everywhere (although, wouldn’t it be great to have a linkup with services like Square – or even your bank – to auto-import transactions?), but I’ll certainly be looking into no identity’s MoneyBook for iPhone. Have you used MoneyBook? Share your thoughts on the app below!


Summary

A beautiful, simple budgeting experience that unfortunately lacks any kind of companion iPhone or Web app.

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  • Sebastiaan

    Imho the problem with applications like these is that you HAVE to record every single transaction you make. While that may be feasible for some of the single person households it is a lot harder for 2 or more people drawing from same checkingaccount.

    However, i did recently get my wife to use GroceryIQ. The only reason it works is because it instantly pushes changes between websites and devices around. It too has the option to set prices for your favorites but after doing that for 3 or 4 receipts i stopped because i had to change most of the items in my favorites list because prices change faster than most of us realize.

    The only way an app like this would work is if it were able to work with the same info on multiple devices, just like GroceryIQ.

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