Review: Monthly Budget Planner offers budget tracking tools with few extras | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Monthly Budget Planner offers budget tracking tools with few extras

Create and manage a very basic budget in this bare bones iOS app.

Monthly Budget Planner is supposed to help you track your expenses, budget, and income, but it lacks many of the tools needed to do so efficiently. While there are plenty of categories and options here to set up your expenses and income levels, the lack of a clean interface, no clear instructions, and a single input method limits who can use this app and how effective it will be in streamlining your recordkeeping.

The home screen for Monthly Budget Planner lists your Budget, Expenses, and Cash Withdrawals. You can add a new budget, edit your expenses, or change your cash on hand by clicking any of these buttons; but it's hard to know what effect any one button will have, especially without clear instructions. The design is rudimentary, making it hard to tell where anything is, and harder still to read the menus at the base of the screen. Reports are useful, but without clear direction on how to enter the numbers that are used in these reports, we found them either very basic or inaccurate when produced. Without bank account syncing, with some functions hidden in other menus, and without clear instructions, the app is often more frustrating than helpful.

A good budgeting and expense management app needs to ease the process of managing your money. Modern technology also dictates that things like bank account syncing, photo capability to attach receipts, and more robust reporting are necessary. Monthly Budget Planner has all the basics, but with a bare-bones design and none of these extra features, it doesn't offer enough to be a useful tool, even at the free price point.

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