Easy, Stress-Free Personal Finance And Budgeting With MoneyWiz For Mac And iPad [Review]

moneyewiz-mac-1

Image courtesy of SilverWiz.

The best, obvious financial solution is one that automatically performs accounting tasks as funds are spent without the need for human input. But until such a system exists that actually works, we’re stuck with having to record our spending habits manually.

Still, it could be worse; at least there are solutions out there like the iOS and Mac MoneyWiz app pair to make the task somewhat less odious. Heck, sometimes it almost feels like fun.

MoneyWiz will let you track spending habits, get a picture of overall net worth, set up simple budgeting, and allow you to display your tracked data in limited but interesting ways.

MoneyWiz isn’t a replacement for a serious personal financial app like Quicken, and it doesn’t pretend to be. It is, however, a remarkably easy-to-use basic personal finance tracker and budgeting tool with a clear, stress-free interface. And while there are a lot of iOS apps out there that do the same thing, MoneyWiz does what it does better than the rest — and gives you the option to do the same thing on your Mac.

Aside from a few filter options for searches, the option of a more ledger-like view and some UI enhancements, the Mac and iOS versions of MoneyWiz are functionally identical.

The Good

Probably the most compelling reason to pick MoneyWiz is its elegant, brilliantly uncluttered interface; nothing complicates the already complicated process of slinging numbers more than an incomprehensible screen.

SilverWiz (whose sole product is MoneyWiz) did a great job of making input easy and keeping the entry page simple and easily readable: On the left is a column with accounts and budgets. On the right is the list of ledger entries. Each entry keeps things simple with a transaction date, category symbol and entry title.

If you want something that looks more accounting-like, there’s an option on the Mac version that switches the view to a ledger-style layout. To make things easier when adding entries, the app will autofill blank fields based on how you’ve filled out those fields in the past — a feature I found pretty helpful. And even when the autofill didn’t get things right, correcting it was pretty easy.

Budgets are easy to set up and view, with vibrant, multihued lines that provide, at a single glance, an instant impression of your financial state.

The apps offer a healthy helping of pre-made reports that display financial info in easy-to-read bar graphs or pie charts, like net worth over time or spending broken down by category. Report parameters can even be saved for later, in either static or dynamic mode, so you can keep financial snapshots, or re-use a particular report (like how much you spent on gas this month) without having to go through the hassle of adjusting the report’s parameters each time.

If you’re a hybrid Mac/Android user, SilverWiz says they’ll have an Android app out later this year.

Budgets are easy to set up and view, with vibrant, multihued lines that provide, at a single glance, an instant impression of your financial state.

The Bad

More flexibility with the reports would have been welcome. The pair’s simplicity left me a little frustrated, because there were times I wanted the apps to do more. For instance, I really wanted to see how much I spent on dining out each month, but there wasn’t a way to generate a report that could clearly show me, since I had made my “dining” category a sub-category (in this case, of discretionary spending).

Also, I’m not fond of the idea that there are separate iOS apps for iPad and iPhone that cost $5 each. I didn’t test the iPhone version, but it’s almost certainly a big help when recording transactions on-the-spot. Missing out on either would create a sizable hole in any financial record-keeping strategy, which means most likely buying both, effectively doubling the price of the app to $10.

Finally, if you choose to back up and/or sync your data, you’ll have to go through MoneyWiz’s own servers in Russia (Update: The company  says they actually use Rackspace servers here in the U.S.) Frankly, I would rather have had the option to store my financial data with Dropbox or iCloud, though SilverWiz at least acknowledges they’re careful with the data.

moneywiz-ipad-1

Image courtesy of SilverWiz.

Verdict

Almost certainly the most user-friendly light personal finance and budgeting app for Mac and iOS, with some surprisingly smart features. Wish it synced through Dropbox or iCloud though.

moneywiz-logoProduct Name: MoneyWiz
The Good: Strong features and an elegant interface makes for stress-free financial tracking.
The Bad: No Dropbox or iCloud sync?
Verdict: The most pain-free personal finance apps for Mac and iOS.
Buy from: The Mac App Store ($25), iTunes ($5)

Cult of Mac rating: Excellent

Related
  • Gregory Wright

    I have this app and I like it. For me it suits my needs very well. Here’s hoping the update that is due later this year will make it even better.

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , |