Budget with Back in Black for iPhone is a personal finance app that excels in putting things in black and white. This is your income. These are your expenses. These are your goals. Here’s what’s left to spend. A perfect blend of simple logic and a right-between-the-eyes dash of reality.
Opening the program brings you to a screen with four bars on it: Income, Fixed Expenses, Goals, and Spending. Once you’ve added a bit of data to the program you’ll also see a tally of dollars spent and dollars remaining. In addition, there’s a button to quickly take you to the screen where you can add new purchases. And if you have any reminders active, they’ll appear at the bottom too.
The Income area is as expected. Enter the type of income, the amount, the date, etc. Fixed Expenses are also pretty standard issue: type, amount, date, repeat frequency, reminder, and category. There’s even a place for notes, which could be used to add info such as grace periods or office hours for payments that need to be dropped off in person.
Goals are where Budget with Back in Black really starts to set itself apart. You are able to set either closed- or open-ended goals. Savings or an emergency fund might be an example of an open-ended goal, they have no end date. A wedding or vacation planned for a specific date, however, would be closed-ended. Closed-ended goals can really make clear what’s possible and what’s not. And all goals have a nice tracking screen so you can feel good (or not) about your progress.
Once you have set all of that, what’s left is Spending. You can set up budget amounts for categories in Spending and track your purchases throughout the month. A status bar will indicate how close you are to staying within your means. As time goes on, a screen with monthly totals will be displayed and let you know when you had good months and when you had bad months.
With all this information in the app, you’re going to want to have it backed up. Back in Black makes that easy. You can back up the data in one tap. You can restore from a specific backup if you need to go back in time. You can also email the backup file to yourself for safekeeping. And if you should need it you can email it back to yourself to import back into the program.
The only things that Budget Back in Black is missing in my opinion is an area for Irregular Expenses, which should be part of any good budgeting plan. Perhaps this could be done under Goals, but it’s deserving of it’s own space. The other thing that would be nice is a web/computer interface. However, that might be pushing the boundaries of what the developers intended, so It’s really not fair to call that a deficiency.
I have to admit I’m tempted. I already have an integrated financial system that I’ve been using for years and it would be hard for me to break that habit. But Budget with Back in Black has enough features, and enough truth, to make me consider running it alongside. If you’re looking for an app to help you stick to a budget, this app might be just what you need.
- Puts fixed expenses and goals ahead of spending – helps keep those priorities straight
- Categories are completely customizable
- Reminders can be set for expenses
- An “irregular expense” area should be part of the plan
- Would love to have a web/computer interface for entering and reviewing data