I’ve been using a checkbook application on mobile devices ever since my first Palm Pilot. It was a simple application, probably cost me a dollar to download and didn’t come with many bells and whistles (and God forbid your battery died before syncing your Palm) but not having to bother with a handwritten checkbook register anymore was a revelation.
Since then, I’ve tried out dozens of finance trackers on my iPhone and the only one that stuck with me was Dollarbird.
What really sold me on their app was the lovely color scheme, simple interface and month view. I haven’t found a more useful display of where my money has gone and how much of it I’ll have left by the end of the month.
For instance, if I have a recurring daycare check set up every week and monthly bills, like a car payment, set to come out on the same calendar day, those payments are reflected in the balance at the end of the month, or on whichever day you tap on. I’ll always know how much money I have left to spend in the month after budgeting and setting up bills and transfers.
There’s even a great overview screen that tells you what you spend in each color-coded category every month and if you’re on track to spend that much compared to previous months.
It’s not the most robust budgeting tool, but it works for me and has kept my spending in line for years, now.
In Dollarbird’s recent upgrade, it moved to a subscription-based model in a shift toward catering to partners, families and teams. This isn’t an uncommon move with mobile apps… Ulysses, one of my favorite text editors for both Mac and iOS, just made the jump from flat cost to recurring fees and caught a fair amount of flack for it.
But in this instance, Dollarbird retained a free single-user subscription, which is perfect, because I’m the only one who uses it in my family. It also expanded accounts into a web interface, so you can check your balances from any connected device and also rest assured that your records are backed up online.