’Tis the season for sticking with your New Year’s resolutions and all the important decisions you made for the year to come. MoneyBag is a colorful financial manager that should prove useful if your objectives involve keeping a stronger reign over your expenses.
Taking a responsible approach towards spending money is, most definitely, not an easy task. At least in theory, things get moving if you are able to view how you choose to distribute your resources: this way you can identify the “black holes” that keep you from reaching your goals.
MoneyBag is intended to be a financial “control” tool and helps you record all your transactions. Based on the user input, the application generates charts and graphs that allow you to analyze your budget's status, your monthly progress, an expense analysis and more.
Keep in mind that MoneyBag is mostly a “financial diary” with specific, and sometimes limited, functionalities: you cannot connect your credit card or import transactions from you bank statement. You can set up reminders for certain transactions, but you cannot actually perform them within the application. At a certain level, MoneyBag works as a motivational tool.
The developers offer a 30-day trial for the application and, although the price listed within the app is $59.99, a significant discount is available via the App Store ($0.99 – at the moment of the review).
MoneyBag comes with a colorful interface that lures you into discovering its features. Even though you are dealing with an important part of your life, the playful icons and the lively, animated panels brighten the mood considerably.
MoneyBag’s design is fairly intuitive: the top and bottom menu bars include buttons for most features, while the main area allows you to browse your “money bags” (loosely translated as categories) and input transactions.
The “money bags” panel (located on the left side of the main window) displays the name of each category, its type (expense, income, savings, goals or emergency funds), the initial budget and how much you spent so far. Each time you add a transaction, you must assign it to one of these categories, or they remain in the Inbox.
The Transactions area, located on the right side of the main window, comes with a Quick Transaction Bar on top and shows your proceedings organized by date. Alternatively, the Expense, Income, Savings and Favorite buttons, offer you the possibility to sort the transactions by type.
The bottom menu bar is the gateway to another important part of the application: the Analysis panel. This is the place where you can review your budget status or inspect charts depicting your monthly expenses, the Income/Expense/Savings ratio and a percentage comparison between your income and your savings.
MoneyBag also comes with a Month Selector, a QuickDashboard (which leads to the Quick Overview chart), separate panels for searching and reminders, a hidden menu and much more. No matter its functionality, each new window or panel follows the same basic concepts and remains colorful, intuitive and efficient. The Works
MoneyBag focuses on a single individual’s finances and does not provide support for using multiple accounts. As a result, you cannot compare your accomplishments with the ones of your significant other: you will have to consider yourselves a team in each and every aspect, and analyze the status of your household.
Still, if you want to point fingers, MoneyBag allows you to add notes, specific tags and even location details to each transaction. Of course, this will prove especially useful when searching for a particular entry.
You can create a Favorites list by pressing the star situated on the left side of each entry. From the right side, you can access different sections in the Transaction Details panel. Other useful features include the possibility to change the entry date, set up a repetitive pattern or a reminder and, most practical, attach an image. You can select a photo from your drive, or you can use your built-in camera to take a snapshot of the receipt, for example, or any other relevant document.
MoneyBag encourages you to stay with your eyes on the prize: besides the classical retirement savings and emergency situations funds, you can create money bags for your “goals.” For this type of entry you must specify the goal amount, how many months you need to raise the money and add an image to keep yourself focused.
The user must assign an icon to each new money bag, and the application comes with over 50 built-in icons, but I must say that I would like to be able to add custom made images. On the other hand, think twice before naming a new category: in the MoneyBags List View you can modify the budget amount, the expected income or your goal amount, but you cannot rename it or change its icon.
The good news is that any "money bag" can be easily disabled or deleted. The tricky part is that you must decide beforehand what to do with the included transactions. If you disabled a category, the transactions will be moved automatically in the Inbox, while, if you delete the "money bag," the entries will be removed completely. Either way, your statistics will be affected retroactively.
MoneyBag will automatically add any transaction to the current month. Via the transaction Details panel, you can move it to a date in the past or in the future. When generating statistics, the app takes into account any entry attached to a category, even if it's in the future. This way you can develop a strategy for your entire financial year, as long as you stick to the plan.
The Analysis panel is organized in four tabs: Budget, Expense, Monthly and Savings. The Budget panel indicates your current status for each category: green is good, yellow means you’re reaching the limit, and red announces that you are spending over the budget.
The Expense tab generates a pie chart for your current expenses (the app assigns a different color to each category). The Monthly view allows you to examine your monthly progress in terms of Income, Expenses and Savings. In the same fashion, the Savings bar chart will help you view your economic achievements.
The MoneyBag Settings panel hosts the switches for two interesting features: the Auto MoneyBag Setup function and the Cloud Sync option. If the Auto MoneyBag Setup is disabled, each month starts blank: you will have to add the "money bags" all over again. Of course, this feature has both advantages and inconveniences, so you will have to decide which option suits you best.
Surprisingly, the Cloud Sync option does not use iCloud and does not require any kind of credentials: since I had Dropbox running, it simply placed a MoneyBag.db file in my folder. Which brings us to a new topic: security. MoneyBag does not use a password and does not encrypt your data. Considering the app deals with your financial history and can store snapshots of receipts and other important data, this is a major issue. The Good
Finances are a rather stressful subject, but MoneyBag succeeds in creating a relaxed environment for recording what you are doing with your money. Since it is up to you to decide if your actions are good or bad, MoneyBag allows you to examine your situation via colorful, animated and simple charts.
MoneyBag is able to record transactions, set up reminders, store snapshots of receipts, allowing you to set up goals for saving money and much more. At the end of the day, MoneyBag can be described as a financial manager, a diary and a motivational tool. The Bad
MoneyBag does not provide support for multiple accounts, does not allow you to rename categories, the reminders do not integrate with the Notifications Center and you can't export your data to other formats: these should be basic functionalities. Furthermore, you cannot use custom made icons for your "money bags": the built-in collection is quite extensive, but cannot cover all cases.
The Could Sync option seems to work only with Dropbox: this is not mentioned anywhere and, considering the rising number of cloud services, it should include more options. Last but not least, MoneyBag is not using any kind of security measure, although it is dealing with your financial history and so on. The Truth
MoneyBag is useful if you want to develop a more responsible attitude towards money: you can see your income compared to your expenses, examine what are you spending your money on, set up goals and much more.
All this is accomplished in a colorful, efficient and intuitive environment, hence, MoneyBag seems to be a good solution for novices, but please, keep in mind the lack of security. NOTE:
The MoneyBag.db file is encrypted using 128-bit key but it still can be opened on a different Mac using another MoneyBag installation (you must simply place the database in the right location). Here are some snapshots of the application in action: