The first screen you see is your balances, exactly what you want to see
The first screen you see is your balances, exactly what you want to see

In this day and age you really can’t afford to live week to week, pay check to pay check, in fact living this way sucks. Smart people know where the money is going, and budget for the future. There is a plethora of apps and approaches out there to help you manage your money. From the simplest method you can use spreadsheets and well, Google Drive would definitely be the way to go if you want something that you can use on your hand-held device, but oh, so cumbersome. There’s also plenty of really good apps that let you manage your money on your phone if that’s all you want. I want more, and I expect more. In fact, in true FisherP fashion, I expect any significant app to be able to synced to the cloud. I expect my wife and I to know exactly how much money we can spend, and in real-time.

What does the App claim it can do?

You are able to see the list of transactions that were assigned to each envelope
You are able to see the list of transactions that were assigned to each envelope

Well, the authors claim that this app will help you spend, save and give towards the things that are important in your life and that it will help you do this by using the “envelope budgeting method”. It’s feature list for the free version include such things as 10 envelopes, tracking of your bank balances and the ability to sync up to 2 devices. This app should be able to split transactions, grab location-based suggestions for your payee and allows you to easily record transactions where ever you are. There’s a quick transaction widget that you can add to your home screen for those often used transactions and all your entries are backed up on the Goodbudget servers in the cloud on the.

Apart from the app there’s a web-based client which gives you more functionality such as reports and the ability to schedule payments. From the web interface you can import bank transactions into Goodbudget so that you can track your bank accounts.

If you want more functionality then there’s a monthly or yearly fee. You can get a discount for buying a yearly subscription so I suggest you try the app out and if you like it buy the yearly subscription. What you get for your money is unlimited envelopes, syncing to 5 devices, 5 years of history (compared with one year) and customer support via email.

Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?

Entering a transaction is quick and easy
Entering a transaction is quick and easy

I can answer this question quite simply, while this app doesn’t tell me what to spend my money, it certainly helps me to know if I have money to spend. If you understand the method of envelope budgeting then the user interface is simple and easy to understand. You set aside a certain amount of money into an “envelope” and you can only spend money if there’s some in that envelope. Of course this only works if you are diligent and force yourself to live by the “virtual” envelope, but if you can do that then you’re on your way with this app.

I have to say right off the top that I like this app. It doesn’t make me coffee, but with my wife and I both using it we can see just how our finances are going for the most part. I say the most part because the 10 envelopes is about 10 too few for my household budgeting. It’s a good thing that the other 10 are expenditure categories which are either automatic or sporadic like the mortgage repayments and Insurances. For most of the day-to-day costs it’s pretty good.

I haven’t seen any pre-filled payee information based on my location however when I enter a payee I’ve often found that the app will pre-fill the envelope and sometimes even the account, all that’s left is for me to enter the amount.

I’ve used the widget and to be honest, it worked but it didn’t really do it for me. Sure I can set up favorite transactions and have them show up on the widget, but I think I prefer to open up the app first to see if I have money to spend.

There haven’t been any crashes or hangups while using this app and I haven’t really seen anything that is uncomfortable or grating on me. The web interface is clean and uncluttered and doesn’t have any of the advertisements that you see on a lot of other sites.

The real power of this app lies in the web interface, the importing of bank transactions and the reporting is quite good. It can be a real eye opener at times to see just how much of your money goes into groceries and petrol for the car.

What do I like most about the App?

A context sensitive calculator pops up to help you easily work out how much to set for the transaction
A context sensitive calculator pops up to help you easily work out how much to set for the transaction

This is a tough question. To nail down one thing I like about the app itself isn’t going to do it justice because in my mind this app is a part of a system. This system includes the app, the web interface and the PC money management software that I use to really do the full picture work of my budgeting. On the PC software I get into the nitty-gritty, instead of just spending on food I’m going dining, or spending on groceries, I’m paying for fuel or maintenance on the car. With the app my wife and I enter into the system our day-to-day spending and then I make sure that what we’ve put into Goodbudget matches up with what my bank tells me I’ve spent, and where and why. I used to use another app called ClearCheckbook MoneyManagement for the device side of my system, but moved over to Goodbudget when things got slow and cumbersome.

OK this is suppose to be an app review, and so I’m going to try to list all the things I like about the app, and the app alone.

  1. The interface is clean
  2. I can enter transactions fast
  3. When I enter a cost a context sensitive keypad is shown
  4. I can distribute funds easily from the app
  5. The syncing to the cloud is real-time and I can see transactions on the web soon after I enter them in the app
  6. It’s got a funky icon.
  7. The first screen I see when I start the app is a view of my envelopes.
  8. I love the way it says “Hmm, negative money, Interesting…” when one of my envelopes goes into the red.
  9. I like that it tells me to stop spending for 5 days when I’ve just spent too much on food, or tells me when I’ve got money to spare
Goodbudget helps you to distribute the money you make into your envelopes
Goodbudget helps you to distribute the money you make into your envelopes

Of the nine that I listed I think the one that really appeals to me is number 7, that the first thing I see is my envelope balances. This one thing is VERY important for this app. I can see where I am without having to dig around in some screen buried under a number of buttons or options. This is the one thing that in my opinion sets Goodbudget apart from the other money management apps out there. The authors of this app know why they wrote it, and the purpose for which people will use it on their mobile devices. Kudos to the people from Dayspring Technologies Inc.

What’s not to like about it?

Well, I wish I could have more envelopes, but then I’d like to have my cake and eat it too. If anything it took me up to 5 minutes to work out how to distribute money into the envelopes the first time I had to do it.

What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?

There’s a couple of small niggles that I have, since no app is perfect. The first niggle is that when editing an entry I can’t just edit the amount. If I try to edit an amount the app clears it completely from the entry window and I have to enter it completely from the start. The other niggle is probably an intentional design but it’s that when I go to distribute money into the envelopes I need to then add the total amount in to the account to be distributed. It’s an extra step that I’m sure the authors have made intentionally so that you just don’t go willy nilly adding money to the envelopes that you didn’t actually earn.

Why did I decide to keep/remove it?

Well I keep it because my wife found it exceedingly easier to use than ClearCheckbook. Nah, that’s not the only reason. Like I said earlier, it’s now a part of my money management system. It’s helped me to get a perfect understanding of where our money goes without question.

Would my wife use it?

Ever since I found it she’s been using it on a daily basis.

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