Moneystats Pro budget planner review

If you mind privacy and aren’t a fan of subscription based software, but you’d still like to have a budget planner / expense tracker that delivers, Moneystats Pro is worth a look. The Mac app is available for purchase in the App Store and has a more than decent feature set. Its developer doesn’t collect any of your data — which in this niche of the software business is quite exceptional.

One of the bigger names in expense tracking and budget planning is another app that I have on my iPad. It performs OK but not exceptionally so, but what bothers me the most is that, since Apple forces its developers to state which of your personal data they collect, the developer collects all the data they possibly can get their hands on, including identifiable data such as purchase history, identifiers, financial info, etc. They might not abuse any of that, but isn’t a budget one of the most private and indeed sensitive collections of data you can think of?

The Moneystats developer must think so too, as he doesn’t collect any data, and yet succeeds in selling an app that works well, with everything that is offered in my old app.

On top of that, Moneystats is free, so you can try it out to see if it works for you. Moneystats Pro — the version I purchased — is yours for €4 with in-app purchases totalling €6 for a special offer that includes everything from extensive categories to reports, exchange rates and data sync.

I am using Moneystats Pro with all the extras on my iMac, not on the iPad. On the iPad, I can use the free version and the data sync from the Pro version will work. The extensive categories and exchange rates won’t, but they’re like €3 to get those features on the iPad as well.

Synchronisation is done via iCloud, which isn’t my favourite cloud provider and certainly isn’t the most secure. You can, however, invite other users with different Apple IDs and synchronise your finances together. That explains why iCloud was chosen. I’d still prefer to have more secure alternatives, like SYNC or the private distributed Cubbit cloud solution I’m using (reviewed here).

In terms of synchronisation, that is all Moneystats Pro delivers, so if you want to synchronise your banking data, you’ll have to do with importing CSV or text files. It is a small price to pay for your privacy, in my opinion.

Other than that, the app has everything you need. It’s protected by a PIN that you enter at launch. It offers managing multiple bank accounts, expenses, income, recurring expenses, expense categories (a basic set in the free version) with icons, tags with support for emojis, an extensive array of fields for text, such what the expense is used for, who the seller was and more. There’s even an image field where you can drop a PDF or image of an invoice, order slip, or sales ticket. Furthermore, the app offers budget planning, goal settings, statistics, balance sheets, savings management, and graphs and charts.

From a UI design perspective, the app is efficient and well laid out. It won’t win design awards, though, with limited control over colour schemes, for example. In some areas, it looks a bit dated — the bar chart is an example where I personally prefer a bar graph like the ones in Apple Numbers — but I’d rather put up with “a bit dated” than “doesn’t deliver in terms of functionality”.

One thing that does bother is the selection of the account to use for an expense or income. The Mac version uses the scroller technique used in iOS apps. When you’re tapping and sliding with your fingers, that rolling bar technique is efficient. On a Mac, using a mouse or a trackpad even, not so much. An automatically popping up menu works better and faster in my opinion — something like the one in the image field when you click it would be awesome.

Wrapping up, I can only say I’m very happy I purchased Moneystats Pro. Its feature set is pretty complete and it is very easy to use. It gives me far more possibilities to enter comments and information that will make it easy for me to track down an expense or an asset when I need it and it’s very reassuring to know nobody is looking over my shoulder while I’m entering my data.