I have expenses. A lot of them. I need to keep track of them in a way that makes sense. I’ve tried the wallet full of receipts, but that hasn’t worked out for me. I need more than good intentions and lots of tiny slips of paper to stay on a budget.
Income.io has a place I can stick all those receipts and finally get on track. With profiles for everyone in my family and categories for just about anything, it seems to have everything I need to track expenses and watch where my money goes.
On a Budget
I started off by entering my income, because it can be really depressing to see all of your expenses rack up and push you into the red without a little something to nudge your finances back into the black. There are two people in my family bringing home the vegan bacon, so I entered each of us and how much we earn for the month. There are lots of categories to cover just about any income, including incidental, unplanned income, like lottery winnings or cash gifts. Income.io lets you set a date, so if you don’t get paid until the middle of the month, your balance sheet can reflect that.
You’ll enter all of you expenses manually, and this should be pretty easy for the big stuff. Just keep Income.io next to you while you pay your bills, and you can log your rent or mortgage payment, utilities, insurance, or any other payments. Bills or regular purchases that fluctuate, like groceries and gasoline may be a little harder to pin down, and you’ll need to start hanging onto receipts. Actually, for Income.io to accurately reflect your spending, you’ll need to log all of your transactions, even quick cups of coffee or trips to the corner store.
Track your spending habits in History. Sort all of your payments and purchases by category or by comments you’ve added to see where your money is heading. If a lot of extra cash is being spent on nonessentials, you should be able to identify that here. You can sort your money history by household member, too, so if an individual is overspending, you’ll know where to place the blame.
The Stats screen will break down your spending into a few different charts, great if you work better with information presented visually. Again, you can see how your money is spent, sorted out by either household member or category. There’s a handy calendar to let you know when you spend the most; it probably spikes when you pay your bills, but if you see a sudden uptick on the weekends, you’ll have clues about how you’re using your expendable cash. Take a peek at you balance to see how much money you have left for the month or the year, after expenses.
Keep It Safe
Income.io is free, but there are a couple of in-app purchases you can get to upgrade your experience. If you find you’re lacking categories, open up the ability to create your own. You’ll also be able to add custom icons, including using your own images. The second in-app purchase seems like less of a luxury, though. Income.io doesn’t come with any way to lock the app; it doesn’t require a PIN or a password to get into it. PIN protection is an upgrade.
That’s a bummer, because I’ve got a lot of private information in Income.io. I don’t want anyone with sticky fingers being able to take a peek at my salary or how much I spend on apps or video games. Income.io doesn’t link up with your bank account or any other financial institution, so there’s no worry of a thief getting his grubby hands on truly sensitive information, but I’d still like to know that what I put into the app is for my eyes only.
What Works for You
I’m of two minds about Income.io. It doesn’t connect to your bank account or credit cards. I can think of plenty of reasons that’s a good thing. There aren’t really any security risks with Income.io, beyond prying eyes looking into what you manually enter. No one is going to get your account numbers, at least, and there’s no system for a hacker to infiltrate. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are put off by financial apps that constantly monitor all of your accounts, some because of security reasons and some because those apps have a lot going on. They’re complicated. Income.io is simple, straightforward, and it only knows what you tell it.
The problem is, Income.io only knows what you tell it. A financial app is only as good as the information it has, and if you’re not on top of entering transactions, you’ll find your budget is lacking. Because you probably only get paid once or twice a month, your income will be well-represented, but you may forget to add payments and purchases here and there, causing Income.io to indicate that you have more money that you really do.
At the end of the day, I’m not sure Income.io is for me. I’m too busy, too forgetful, and I procrastinate way too much. I have the best of intentions, and I always start off well, but I’ll never keep my end of the bargain with Income.io. The big stuff will make it in, sure, but I’ll convince myself the small transactions don’t matter. Plus, I’m terrible with receipts.
That doesn’t mean Income.io isn’t a useful app. Anyone who has been turned off by more invasive financial apps and has instead found themselves relying on bits of paper and spreadsheets to manage a budget could do well with Income.io. It allows you to set the pace of your budget, and if you have the willpower to do it on your own, Income.io has the help to take you the rest of the way.