February App Review: Pocket Expense

App: Pocket Expense
Developer: Appxy
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android

I want to start by saying that Pocket Expense is not as fully featured as, say, Mint.  It doesn’t link to your credit card or bank account to show you real time numbers, and it doesn’t show you your credit score or anything like that.  However, I didn’t really want these kind of features.  I just wanted a simple way to track money going in and out of my bank accounts.  I also wanted a way to keep track of my spending money verses the money I’m saving for college.

On the surface, Pocket Expense is a really simple app.  You add one or more accounts, then track deposits and spending (see image 2).  The multiple accounts is key here.  I have one account for my cash on hand, and several for my bank account.  Several?  I have one “account” for my spending money, another for college money, and a third for the tax money I have to withhold from summer job paychecks.  In the actual bank, these three are combined into one account, but the app allows me to separate them out to make sure I know exactly what’s going on.  I tried using the app’s budget feature for this, but it didn’t really work for what I was trying to do (since my divisions aren’t really a budget).

Although Pocket Expense can be simple, it actually has a lot of great features.  If you’re actually trying to keep a budget, Pocket Expense’s budget feature works really well.  You select which categories you want to track, and how much you’ve budgeted for each one.  After that, it’s pretty straightforward (see image 3).  The Report screen shows you a (really pretty) pie chart detailing your income and spending for the month (see image 4).  Finally, the Bills screen allows you to schedule reoccurring transactions (see image 5).  You set the date and how often it repeats, and you can even get push notifications.

I’m currently using the free version of Pocket Expense.  For $4.99, you can buy the pro version, which removes ads, enables syncing to multiple devices, and adds more robust export and backup features.  So far, the free version has worked fine for me.

As it turns out, Pocket Expense is actually a pretty powerful app.  It doesn’t link to your bank account, but honestly, I don’t want some random app to have access to my bank account.  I’m perfectly happy keeping track of my money manually; it gives me more control (in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a control freak).  If you’re looking for a straightforward but still robust expense tracking app, Pocket Expense just might be what you’re looking for.  ••