Dollarbird – Personal Finance with a Calendar Review
Discover where your money really goes every month with Dollarbird for iPhone
It pays to keep a track of your personal finances in the current climate to ensure that you’re not living beyond your means, but it’s not always easy to find the perfect app. Dollarbird, which mashes up a calendar with a personal finance tracker, could well be it, though. In letting you enter incomings and outgoings on a day-to-day basis, it offers a more of an at-a-glance view of where your money is leaking. This is all done without needing your bank details or a tiresome email and password login, taking the chore out of finances.
Starting off by asking for your current balance, the app whisks you straight into the monthly calendar view. Without any inputs, it looks just like a regular calendar but as you build it up with your spending and wages, you will see that each day carries a handy overview of how much you have earned and spent that day.
There is a sense at times that the developer has perhaps tried to be too clever. When you tap on a new day, it will show no transactions. To add one, you need to pull down. It shows a Plus icon and then takes you straight to the input screen – a simple tap might have sufficed to get to this stage. It’s a small point but it started to annoy after a little while, although it is easily learned.
The input screen itself, however, is great. You see a series of icons, colour-coded and with tiny graphics that denote anything from groceries, household, eating out and fun to gifts, clothing, car and transport. These are great markers so that you instantly see what you are spending your pennies on. There are also spare icons that you can customise with your own colour and names.
Tapping on the money section of this page lets you write the amount you have spent. The way it works is that you need to select a category first and input the money later but the money section is at the top of the page and the categories fall underneath – the display should really be reversed to avoid confusion here. There are then three options: choose a date if it’s different from the one you initially selected, using a feature that allows the entry to be repeated – so you may make a standing order at the same time every week or month, for example. There is also a reminder ranging from the day of transaction to up to two days before. With note-taking abilities to write a little more about the purchase, this screen is near perfect in covering all of the things you would want to do.
Adding an income isn’t immediately apparent, though. You have to swipe down among the expense icons in order to find Salary and Other, and it took a while to work that out – which either says something about the user or indicates a design flaw. It’s easy to see why this works as it does – outgoings are more regular than incomings, sadly – but it should be more obvious.
Entries can be added at any time, however. You can add entries in the future or retrospectively and scrolling through the months is a case of swiping left or right and this works well. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings up a tally of how much you have spent and it details what you have spent it on. This is a multi-tabbed page too, so not only do you get to see your expenses but you can instantly view the balance.
This is where Dollarbird becomes very useful. Suddenly you see a monthly tally of how much you spend and where leaves you in terms of debt. It’s a good way to get a handle on your finances and, even better, a block is displayed which charts that month-by-month set of accounts in a very visual fashion.
Version 1.1 brought with it a PIN code, which covered one of the negatives that would have otherwise been mentioned. Although you do need to visit Settings, as it isn’t enabled by default. It highlights a need to play around with apps of this nature to get familiar with them. Still, the settings are comprehensive and you can change reminder times and export data to CSV from here too which, again, is evidence of some great thinking.
A beautiful-looking financial app that doesn’t need you to link up with a bank account nor sign in – and it works a treat.
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