As a penniless writer, budget management is essential to my life; it’s not quite as bad as my student days, when I had to choose between a tin of beans, a tin of spaghetti or a tin of tuna (to last me the week), but it’s still useful when I have a little extra cash at the end of the month to treat myself. So, in order to reward myself with luxuries such as heating, water and electricity I need to manage my budget; when an iPhone app promises to help me do just this, I consider this a sage investment.
Coming off the back of a bunch of terrific recommendations from various app websites and magazines, Back In Black arrived on my screen with a tough standard to meet; it did not disappoint. Essentially, what you have to do is work out what your monthly budget is, set some goals to achieve and keep track of your expenses
What I really like about the app is the fact that it is totally intuitive to the level of detail that you want to go into; if you simply want to manage your monthly wage, pay the bills and do the grocery shopping, then its simple and easy to use format allows for this. However, if you want to go into more financial intricacies, such as planning to pay off a mortgage, saving up to buy a car or tracking where your expenditure goes, Back In Black can help you do this. For example, the ‘setting goals feature’ actually allows you to add a picture of your goal from your phone so that you have a visual incentive to work towards. There are set reminders as to when you have to pay off certain bills and there are 140 categories to allocate your spending to, such as clothing, restaurants and entertainment (a lot of mine went into restaurants; oh well, who needs clothes? If I eat enough they won’t fit me anyway…).
To keep in line with monthly paid jobs, your budget will roll over each month; so, if you have a little extra at the end of the month, you can have more to spend during the next month. This is a really great feature for incentivising you to save your pennies and treat yourself to a flush month; if you integrate this concept with your iCal or other calendar app, you can start planning special dates on future months and save up for them.
The password protection feature means that no one can have a sneaky peek at your finances, perfect if you have nosy housemates or family members who want to know where your money goes.
If you have any troubles with managing your finance (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), then I recommend that you get this app. The small investment could save you a lot more in the long run.
- Very easy to use and manage.
- The goal function really does work, especially if you have a visual reminder of what you are aiming for.
- The ‘open-ended’ saving function allows you to decide on how much you want to save each month, which is great for those who need a little discipline when controlling their expenditure.
Room For Improvement
- I can’t stop air-guitaring every time I see the app’s title. A small price to pay…