iPhone expense/ledger/spend tracker apps minus budget features?
January 3, 2017 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Suggest expense apps or spend trackers for my iPhone that do not require having a budget? I do a good job at tracking my expenses using Dropbox and a Numbers document but I'd like to do more stuff more easily from my phone, maybe get some reports. I'd like to get more of a handle on where my money is going and, if possible, sort out expenses by trip. I've tried a lot of apps and I'm coming up short. Maybe there is one you like? Specifics follow.

Closest thing I've found that I like is Trail Wallet but the cutesy characters and budgeting aspect are a deal breaker for me. Also tried: Spendmo, Fudget & Dollarbird. Also looked at Piikki, iSpending and Trip Wallet. Intrigued by Spendings but apparently it no longer exists. Spending Tracker is the closest to what I want but it's super ugly and a little tough to use. It is what I will use if I don't find a better app. I want to start today, from zero, and go from there. I want an app with no personality at all if possible.

Features I am looking for

- customizeable categories (I only use like five categories, I want to delete all the other ones)
- very very simple, not because I can't handle complexity but because I don't need it. If it says it's "fun" I'm probably not interested.
- reports on how I am doing w/r/t categories
- no budgeting, do not want to have to make a fake budget. I do not need a budget, I do not want a budget. Seriously, no budget.
- if I can do per-trip stuff (which is what I loved about Trail Wallet) that is great. If not, not a huge deal.

Features I don't care about

- subcategories
- printing out reports or any sort of syncing
- exporting data
- scanning/photographing receipts
- tracking income
- app does not have to be free

I have read every other iPhone/app/$$question. Anything you'd suggest? Thank you.
posted by jessamyn to Work & Money (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For my business, I use and like XpenseTracker. It is geared toward business use but you can customize all categories easily. It also has preferences for what shows up on the expense recording screen so you can turn on "projects" for example and maybe earmark things for a certain project. So, if you're tracking a remodeling project or a gardening project, you could just give it a little name right there. It also has options for saving descriptions so you can easily find project names and use them again and again. You can also create as many logs as you like, so you could make separate expense logs (like for a trip) or keep a running tally all year long, however you like.

It is not good at tracking income! However, it does have a photo storage capacity which you could use however you like -- for receipts or not. It's inexpensive but not free.
posted by amanda at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2017

My job uses Concur Travel to manage this. All corporate card activity is autouploaded and needs to be categorized into trips. No need to attach receipts.

It's probably way overkill for a single entrepreneur, but they might have a competitor that's more in your budget.
posted by politikitty at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2017

As for reports with XpenseTracker and "how am I doing?" it does not do that. It's a log, not a report. I email the log to myself and do sub-totaling in Google sheets if I need to see how my expenses are running. And, of course, since I'm doing this for my business, I keep track regularly on where things are at and what needs to be reimbursed.
posted by amanda at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2017

I really enjoy MoneyWiz on OS X. It allows for customizable categories, has reports based on categories, and doesn't require you to set up a budget. It is available for iPhone. I have not tried the iOS app but if it functions like the desktop version I think it'll be a good fit.
posted by komara at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2017

I'm going to give a shoutout to You Need a Budget (YNAB).

I know, I know, it says budget in the name, but give it a look.

If you ignore the budgetary aspects of the app*, it's actually a really good expense tracker, with categories and automatic transaction import from your accounts. You can look at your spending at a glance by category and the iPhone app is pretty slick. They've also recently introduced very simple reports. It has a pretty loyal community and it's $5 a month.

Basically, it meets all your requirements, with the exception of per-trip reports.

* Though I still recommend the budgetary aspects. Their budget philosophy is fairly different from most, if you're ever become interested in it.
posted by amohield at 3:09 PM on January 3, 2017

I really like DailyBudget and I think it would work for you. It's very clean, easy to use, and you could do the trip thing going through customising a category or by adjusting the calendar cycle. You have to enter *something*, but there's no need at all to set up a whole "budget" at all. I've tried a bunch of apps and it's the only one I don't mind using.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:25 PM on January 3, 2017

Maybe Level.

It pulls transactions from your credit cards / banks. You can assign transactions from different sources to one or more categories, or just as one-offs and it provides reports on a month by month or yearly comparison basis by each category.
posted by stratastar at 9:08 PM on January 3, 2017

Toshl. I have three categories.
posted by moiraine at 11:28 PM on January 3, 2017

n'thing Toshl. It comes with catagories but you can completely delete and start fresh with your choices. You can tag within the categories. It has budget options but you ca ignore them entirely - I have been using it since about 2010 and really like it. With the current version, I basically just leave it on the 'river flow' view so I can see what's coming in/going out/ total spend at a glance.
posted by halcyonday at 1:47 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

iReconcile is my personal favorite. It hasn't been updated in years (2013) but works fine. It is made for checkbook, budgeting and reporting. I don't use the budgeting feature, though. I've mainly used it as a checkbook register, because I suck at math and made too many mistakes keeping one on paper. You can export to CSV or QIF, but I don't think you can import. From a quick look at the App Store, there's a subscription version, and a "Lite" version. I don't pay anything, even though I use the full version. The fee might just be if you use their backup/sync services.
posted by jhope71 at 10:22 AM on January 4, 2017

Thanks much for everyone who gave me suggestions either ones that were exactly what I was looking for or something a little off from that. I wound up using Toshi and am really happy with it. I can turn off "fun mode" which made me immediately like it. It has categories and tags, is more powerful than I need and is dead simple to enter expenses and income with. It also has a nice web interface in case I want to move a bunch of stuff around. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read and consider my nerdy list of requirements.
posted by jessamyn at 5:41 PM on January 15, 2017

Just another tip for Toshl.

"if I can do per-trip stuff (which is what I loved about Trail Wallet) that is great"

I place all my holidays expenses into 'Holidays' category.

And I tag each expense with the trip, for example:
'2016 denverski'
'2016 vancouver'
'2016 barbados'

That way I know exactly how much each trip costs.
posted by moiraine at 6:40 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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