Best ultra-light weight budget/expense-tracking app for iOS
February 5, 2018 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Sadly, with the most recent iOS update, I can no longer use the minimalist expense-tracking app I used to use. It was just called Budget. It was based on the envelopes system, and was little more than a series of line items showing your spending against a fixed allocation over a recurring period (weekly, monthly, whatever), with optional rollover. Transaction entry was similarly simple, just a little pop-up screen for the amount and date and payee. I used it for casual expense-tracking only, not anything more complicated. I handle my macro budget issues separately.

I loathe excessively elaborate financial apps. I don't want overly complicated graphic interfaces (I use an iPad mini so my screen real estate is limited). I don't want ANY ads being pushed at me. I don't want to sync with my bank account (I guess it would be okay if that were an entirely optional feature). I don't want predictions or scoldings or nudges. I just want to be able to open an app quickly and see that I have $30 left to spend this week on entertainment expenses, and then do a quick entry to note that I just blew half of it on a movie ticket. Anything more elaborate and I won't keep up with it.

I've done some searching here (though there's a lot of noise in the results, obviously) and haven't seen a discussion of anything quite like this. Mefi, what is the equivalent of this app that will run on iOS 11.2.5?

(Please don't say You Need A Budget. Just don't. I was a user so far back it was still a spreadsheet. I assure you, it is not what I want for this use.)
posted by praemunire to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I used Toshl when I was looking for something like this. It's far from perfect but did most of what I wanted. Here's a thread where I asked for expense trackers and even though I said "Don't want budgeting" many of the suggestions did have budgeting as a feature. maybe you'll find something that works for you?
posted by jessamyn at 2:34 PM on February 5, 2018

There's an app called Envelopes, that might be what you're looking for. One problem is that it's an iPhone app, not an iPad app. It'll still run on your iPad, but it won't be optimized for the display.
posted by SansPoint at 2:37 PM on February 5, 2018

I use and love Expense, mostly because I tried most of them and this is the one that lowers the friction of typing in a purchase enough that I actually use it for every purchase.
Might not meet your needs for the "envelopes" style, but certainly ticks the minimalist box.
posted by OlivesAndTurkishCoffee at 3:14 PM on February 5, 2018

I am quite happy with AceBudget 3 for a similar use case. No great reporting features, but you can export your data to a spreadsheet if you’re into that kind of thing. I use it on my phone, so an even smaller screen.
posted by froghopper at 6:34 PM on February 5, 2018

Oh, my God, froghopper, looking at the layout, I think AceBudget 3 may actually be the direct descendant of Budget. They are practically identical (there's even a note about how the new one won't work with iOS 11). Who knew???
posted by praemunire at 7:35 PM on February 5, 2018

I've used Fudget for lightweight expense tracking while on holiday.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:54 AM on February 8, 2018

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