If you constantly find your checking account empty sooner than you expect each month, you’re not alone — scores of people have trouble keeping their spending in check. While everyone has their own reasons and circumstances to deal with, the one thing we can all do to remedy our situation is track our expenses. This lets us know where our money is actually going, what we might be spending too much on, and how much we have left after scheduled expenses like rent and utility bills. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool to let you do this quickly and easily?
Indeed it would be, and that’s why we’re looking at Finance41, a lesser-known personal expense tracking app that’s built for speed and ease of use. Packing nifty features like budgets, natural language input, tags for categorization, spending analysis and support for multiple currencies, this app is great for international users and makes light work of monitoring your money.
Finance41 allows you to track your expenses by first entering them into the app and then looking at where your money is being spent every month. The app is easy to learn and is perfect for anyone who wants to stay within budget, and can be accessed on desktops and mobiles (via a mobile site or the Finance41 Android app). Plus, it’s free for the first month so you can try it without spending a dime.
Finance41 may not look like much, but more than makes up for that with a highly usable site, which features a simple interface that displays a month’s worth of data in a single pane. You can get started tracking your expenses without even registering, and there’s even an in-app presentation that takes you through the workings of the app. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can sign up to save your entries — it’s completely free to use for the first month, after which you’ll be limited to three transactions per day unless you subscribe to a paid plan.
You’ll want to first set up your accounts, which is as simple as clicking the + button on the left and giving your new account a name and balance amount. Once that’s done, you can start adding expenses by entering the amount, adding tags for easy categorization, optionally including a description and choosing the date of the transaction. If you’re in a hurry you can use the quick entry mode and simply type in natural language — for example, ‘-500 Mum’s Birthday Present on Tuesday’ and the transaction will be recorded correctly.
You can also income or transfer transactions the same way, and transactions can always be edited or removed if necessary. If you’ve been tagging all your transactions religiously, you’ll be able to look at all the expenses, incomes and transfers under any tag you choose — this is something I use to track how I much earn and spend from my photography gigs. You can also add recurring transactions such as your monthly rent and salary, so you don’t have to enter them repeatedly.
Tagging and Budgeting
The Tags pane allows you to view all your tags for the month, along with transactions within each. You can hide tags that you don’t need to keep an eye on, and also delete, rename or even merge tags easily using the edit pop-up pane. Finance41 allows you to create a monthly budget for any tag you want so that you can see how much you’ve got left at a glance — all transactions added to a tag with a stipulated monthly budget amount will show up in the tag view along with the amount remaining in that budget for the month.
Visualize your habits with charts
When you’ve logged a good number of transactions, you’ll be able to use Finance41’s visualization tools to see how much you’re spending — there’s a pie chart that displays tags as sections within the pie, and you can use an adjustable slider to indicate the date range you’d like to look at. There are also line charts to show you the state of affairs on either your accounts or tags, based on the date range you choose. These charts make it easy to spot spending trends and habits, and also help you budget your income accurately.
I found Finance41 to be really easy to get used to, and the app includes all the features I need and none that I don’t. The charts make it a breeze to visualize what I’m spending on, and I’m slowly learning to cut down on buying snacks because I spend way too much on them! And while I enjoy using the web app to log transactions, I frequently use the excellent Android app to do so when I’m on the move. Plus, you can export data as a spreadsheet at any time, which users will find handy when doing taxes or working with accountants who need to know where your money goes.
Finance41 is great at what it does, and allows you to get your expense tracking out of the way quickly and easily. Subscriptions cost $2/month – $/2.50/month (for 1 year and 6 months respectively), which sounds reasonable but is actually a touch more expensive than that of its close competitor Toshl Finance, which includes similar features as well as mobile apps for multiple platforms and costs $19.99/year. Even then, the difference isn’t much at all. I highly recommend you try the free trial for yourself to see if it fits your workflow — you don’t even have to register. Happy saving!