AppWatch: Money-handling apps for your personal budget

Watch your expenditure with these nifty applications

There's less than a month to the end of the financial year, which means it's time to start getting your loans, expenses and other money concerns in order. This week, Computerworld Australia brings to you four apps that will help you keep track of your expenditure.

iPhone - Jumsoft Money by Jumsoft

Cost: Free

Jumsoft Money is a free app based on Money for Macintosh released in 2003. The program is simple and easy to use, with a fairly streamlined interface and can handle multiple accounts at any given time. Expenditures are easy to input, but each expenditure has to be keyed in separately, with no repeating transactions. The app also has a smart reporting feature, which allows users to set up a budget and pinpoints areas for improvement when exceeded.

If you do own a copy of the original Money program for Apple, the iPhone can synchronise data with it. Jumsoft Money has some problems handling foreign currencies though, and requires constant internet connectivity to work for some strange reason.

Pros: Pretty interface, easy to use, handles multiple accounts Cons: No password protection, requires internet connection, iffy with foreign currencies

iPhone - iXpenselt by FYI Mobileware Inc.

Cost: $5.99

iXpenselt is an extremely popular daily expense tracking and montly budgeting app. It's password protected, so anyone who gets your iPhone won't be able to access your data. The program is rife with several nifty features in expenditure input - users can take pictures of receipts and tie them in with entries, program the phone for repeat transactions and keep track of travel distances for company reimbursement. The reporting features are also equally as nifty, presenting data in the form of graphs or pie charts across a variety of parameters.

Expense records can also be exported by email in formats that are easily exportable to spreadsheets. The app even comes with its own budget-setting features. iXpenselt does have its drawbacks, however, as upgrades for the program can sometimes randomly delete data, so everything has to be backed up before upgrading. It also only allows for one category and type per entry, which might irritate some users.

Pros: Password protected, easy to use, multiple-parameter reporting, budget-setting features Cons: Random deletion of data, no sub-categories, only one type per entry

Android - EasyMoney by Handy Apps

Cost: $9.99

EasyMoney is password protected, allows users to set a monthly budget, produce interactive reports and graphs, and ties photographs of receipts with entries. It's also capable of handling multiple currencies and supports transfers between accounts; a very nifty feature for frequent flyers.

The app keeps track of invoice deadlines, sending notifications to its user when bills are due. Input is made easier by the ability to import and export data as a .csv file and also through a handy little homescreen widget. While Easy Money does do a good job of keeping track of finances, it does also have the unfortunate habit of crashing randomly, which can be completely infuriating when in the middle of examining one's accounts. It's so clever that it only displays projected balances based on expenditure trends, but does not display current cash "in pocket".

Pros: Password protected, homescreen widget, multiple currencies, exportable information Cons: Random crashing, does not display current balances

BlackBerry - SplashMoney Personal Finance by SplashData

Cost: $9.99

SplashMoney has an auto-fill feature which is very handy for quick expenditure input and can support most common bank account types. The app supports multiple currencies, offers budget creation and reporting as well as a nifty reminder feature for payment of upcoming invoices.

SplashMoney is also able to connect to online banking portals, which can be a little bit invasive, but is fairly handy in the long run. Unfortunately, the program also seems to be a port of a similar program for the PalmOS, which means that it hasn't been fully configured for the tiny BlackBerry screen and presents reports and graphs in eye-straino-vision. It can only display ten categories at a time, making overscrolling a major flaw. Still, it's one of the few useful personal finance programs and it also comes with free desktop software, which easily synchronises with the BlackBerry.

Pros: Invoice reminders, double entry accounting, access to online banking Cons: Difficult to read tiny display

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