Track expenses: 5 apps for Android phone to monitor spending

Money managers and expense trackers for Android phones

In the current economic climate, it makes sense to track your spending and see where your money is going. Track expenses, create budgets and monitor and analyze spending using your phone.

With rising prices of goods and services, and essentials like food, heating, transport and so on, you probably have less money left over at the end of each month. You might even have none. Where is all your income going to? What are you spending it on? Could you save money or spend less?

There are dozens of money manager and expense tracking apps for your phone and using one is essential these days. Don’t let your money disappear from your bank account, don’t let your credit balance build up without realizing. Keep track of your incoming and outgoing finances and you will see where you can cut spending and save money.

Everything is a subscription these days, or at least it seems like it. A few dollars or pounds on this, a few on that and you don’t realize how much you are spending. Seeing the totals in a money manager app can be an eye-opener. Track your expenses like subscriptions and you may be shocked.

I cannot look at every app for phones because there are dozens of them, so I picked five popular apps to track expenses for Android phones. Some are available on iOS too.

Bluecoins Finance: Budget, Money & Expense Manager

Price: Free | By: Mabuhay Software | Size: 19 MB | Android: 4.1 and up

The main thing that strikes you about Bluecoins is the amount of money analysis information on the home screen. You do need to enter a few days’ worth of spending and income for it to fill out, but once you get started, it offers an excellent home screen view.

Track expenses with Bluecoins Android phone app
Bluecoins expense and income tracker

There are a number of cards, like a daily summary bar chart showing the past week, a budget summary pie chart showing what money has been spend on, a calendar showing days when money was spent, a net earnings bar chart, a credit card summary, a net worth summary, and a monthly cash flow bar chart.

Swipe up and view all these charts and you get a great overview of income, expenses and where all your money is going to.

Across the top of the screen are a number of tabs, like Main, Transactions, Reminders, Balancer Sheet, Net Earnings and more. Each of these provides detailed information about transactions.

Entering transactions is easy and payees and amounts are remembered in case you use them again. So, if you buy a coffee on the way to work each day, for example, all it takes is a few taps to enter it again because it suggests most of the transaction information.

Most features work for free, with just a few key ones available to Premium users, which is a one-time fee of UK £6.49. That is fairly cheap and Bluecoins is a great expenses app for Android phones.

Smoney – Expense Tracker

Price: Free | By: Money & CMoney Inc | Size: 18 MB | Android: 5.0 and up

Smoney, which is on both Android and iOS, stands out from the crowd because of its unusual graphical interface. The colors and the icons are all unusual, more fun and less business-like. It is more useful for tracking personal expenses and less good at tracking business costs.

Track expenses with Smoney app for Android phones
Smoney money manager has an unusual interface

The home screen shows expenses and income in numbers and in a pie chart, with the balance in the center. Below is a list of recent transactions. I could not see how to change the currency and the it used the $ and that’s it. It is just a minor visual irritation if you use a different currency.

Tap the plus button on the home screen and you can choose between entering an expense or income. The transaction category can be selected from a collection of interesting icons, and a description and amount entered.

Another slight irritation is that a trailing zero cannot be entered, so you must enter $5.2 instead of $5.20. They are both the same value, but when entering money, it is normal to add the zero. It just looks odd in the transaction list.

The reports section shows expenses and income summaries and there is a nice pie chart and detailed list. However, yet again, the app is let down and there is no daily or weekly summary, only month, half year and year. There is a custom date selection option, but it is an irritation having to configure it to see this week’s summary. It lacks a budget feature, so you cannot tell whether you are spending too much or too little.

I like Smoney for personal expense tracking because of the unusual interface and icons. It is different. There are some minor irritations that should be fixed before I would use it though.

Money manager, expense tracker, budget, wallet

Price: Free | By: Innim Mobile Exp | Size: 35 MB | Android: 5.0 and up

Money Manager, not to be confused with similarly named apps, is one of my favorites here. This is not because it has the most features, but mainly because it is simpler and has a nice, uncluttered interface. It is one I can enjoy using every day.

Money Manager app for Android phones expense tracker
A clean and simple interface for Money Manager

The home screen has two tabs and the expenses tab is selected by default, but you can switch to income with a tap. Below this is Day, Week, Month, Year and Period. Switching between them to see expenses and income just another tap. Week is shown by default.

The main part of the screen is a colorful circular chart showing the total expenses for the selected period. Below are expenses categories, colored so you can see them in the chart. Pull up and the circular chart becomes a bar and the extra space shows more expense categories below.

Tap the plus and you can enter expenses or income and assign them to categories. These can be assigned to an account and multiple accounts are available, like bank and credit cards.

Open the menu and the Charts section enables you to see bar charts showing the year, month, week and day with expenses, income or both. Bars in the chart can be tapped to list the transactions and these can be tapped to see more detail.

Each screen is nicely designed and very easy to understand. Some apps seem to overwhelm you with the amount of information, but Money Manager keeps it simple. It can involve several taps to drill down into the charts, but each one is clear and easy to understand.

The app contains advertising, but it cost me just £0.79 (around $1) to remove it, so it was a no-brainer. I like it a lot and recommend it.

Money Manager Expense & Budget

Price: Free | By: Realbyte Inc | Size: 22 MB | Android: 4.2 and up

Money Manager is not to be confused with other apps called Money Manager in the Google Play store. This one is very popular and it has 10 million installs according to the store.

Expenses and income in Money Manager Android app
Track expenses and income with Money Manager

It presents the transactions list as the home screen and there are Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Calendar and Total tabs. This enables you to quickly get an overview of the state of your finances.

The Daily tab lists transactions and a plus button enables income, transfers between accounts and expenses to be added. Itis fairly standard and it asks you to choose an account, like a bank, cash or credit card. You can then assign a category like food, household, social life, salary and so on. The item is added to the Daily tab.

A Calendar tab shows the current month with income and expenses listed on each day. Tap a day and a detailed list of the transactions on it is shown. The Weekly tab shows the income and expenses for each week in the month, and the Monthly tab shows the income and expenses totals for each month.

The Total tab shows how much you have spent compared to your budget and you can see how much you have left to spend or have overspent. It is a useful summary screen.

Select the Stats section and there is a pie chart and list of expenses categories so you can see where most of your money is going. It will show an income pie chart if you have multiple sources.

There is a Premium Upgrade, which removes ads and allows more accounts, but it does not give the price and it does not say whether it is a one-time fee or a subscription. I won’t press the buy button without this information.

The app works well in free mode and the ads are not too annoying, so this is an app worth trying. It is not the best here, but it is pretty good.

Wallet: Budget Planner Tracker

Price: Free | By: BudgetBakers.com | Size: 40 MB | Android: 5.0 and up

Wallet is available on the iPhone as well as Android phones and it is a popular app with 5 million installs on Android alone. It looks and works great.

Manage your money with Wallet Android app
Wallet can connect to your bank to download transactions

The app has two tabs, Accounts and Budget & Goals. The latter enables you to set a weekly spending limit. It shows you how much you have spent and what is remaining. There are useful charts that show your spending trend, spending by category and more. Goals are things you want to save up for, like a holiday, car, house and so on.

Three accounts can be created in the free app, unlimited if you pay, and you could add a bank account and a couple of credit cards, or bank, credit card and savings. Tapping the big plus button on the home screen enables you to add an expense, income or transfer between accounts. It was a bit confusing the first time I used it, but you quickly get used to it and it is easy to enter amounts, descriptions, labels, and more. You can even photograph a receipt.

A feature not in any of the other apps on test is syncing with your bank account. You can connect the app to your bank and many countries and banks are supported, 3,500 according to the app. It’s a paid feature and you must enter transactions manually with the free app.

Swipe up on the home screen and useful information is available, like the Expenses Structure pie chart. Tap it and it takes you to the Statistics section, which has charts and other information in abundance. Further down the home screen are upcoming payments, a balance trend chart, and recent transactions.

Wallet works well in free mode, but with a few limitations like three accounts and manual entry. That might not bother some people. To get all the features costs £23.99 a year or a one-off fee of £38.49. It is a good app and the best here, but it is also the most expensive.

Conclusion

I immediately liked Money Manager, expense tracker, budget, wallet for its clear information and clean design. It breaks down your expenses and analysis into small easily understood chunks.

However, I went off it after a while and preferred the everything-on-one-screen approach of Bluecoins and Wallet. There is a lot of information to take in on the home screen and initially it can be a bit overwhelming, but after a while I appreciated the card-based feed with their long list of items.

Swiping up on these home screens shows charts, facts and figures that tell you everything you need to know. It is all there in the other apps, but it takes a lot of taps and screen switching to find it.

I like Wallet a lot, but it costs more than I would like to pay, so I’ll probably end up paying for Bluecoins Premium upgrade. I’ll run them both in free mode for another week though.


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