Nathan Jordan examines the latest iPhone apps in depth. Because someone has to.
by Nathan Jordan
By Nathan Jordan
Most of us don’t really want to know how much money we’re spending. Sometimes it’s just better to be in denial. Besides, keeping track of your expenses can be monotonous and time consuming. However, with the economy in shambles, it’s a great time to learn to be more conscientious about spending habits.
Luckily the iXpenseIt (3.0.1, full version) application for the iPhone makes life a bit easier for those of us responsibly inclined. Designed with an easy-to-use interface and a ton of options, iXpenseIt makes it fairly easy to keep track of purchases. You simply touch the “new” icon on your phone and enter your expenses on a calculator. Then you are given the option label each transaction by category, which includes everything from “food” to “auto” to “household.” You can further label by subcategory. For example, under “auto” you have “gas,” “insurance,” “repair,” etc. You can also label with the date, how you paid for the purchase, and vendor. The app also saves all of your previous entries so you don’t have to keep typing in “Pizza Hut” every time you go on a date. The categories and subcategories are customizable as well, so if you spend a lot of money on prostitutes, let’s say, you can create a “prostitutes” category. Just be careful they don’t steal your iPhone.
iXpenseIt breaks everything down into categories. Nifty, eh?
While extensive labeling of each and every purchase may sound tedious, I find that I only really use the category and subcategory sections. (Also, when you go to Target and buy a bunch of different items, it’s a pain to go through and figure out individual totals so you can enter them in the right categories.) However, the categories and subcategories are important because the coolest thing about the app is that it breaks down your monthly expenditures by both amount of money spent on specific categories and the percentage of your spending on each category. For instance, last month 6.6% of the money I spent was for gambling losses, and I’m never betting on the Cubs again. You can look at your reports in bar graphs, pie charts, or just a simple list, as seen below.
Who doesn’t love a good bar chart?
IXpenseIt lets you set your own budget and gives you a running tally of your monthly expenses, letting you know exactly how much you have left to spend that month. There’s even a graphic that turns red when you’re almost over you allotted amount.
The app also updates frequently, so the developers are really on top of it. Recently, they finally added the capability to record and categorize income as well, so you can look at some good news as you lament the $40 you spent on Furry Vengeance tickets.
Ultimately, the iXpenseIt app is a great tool that, if used consistently, gives you perspective on where your money is going and exactly how much you are spending. The catch is that you have to be the kind of person who obsessively enters your spending info, even on little purchases (which seem to have a way of adding up). This app isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to commit, it’s extremely helpful and is a solid buy for five bucks.