A reader recently let me know about Toshl, a budgeting app available online and for iPhone and Android (thanks, Rachel!) In a sentence, Toshl is a manual budgeting and spend-tracking app with a beautiful design and intuitive user experience. As far as no-strings-attached budgeting and spend tracking, Toshl might be the best I’ve seen yet.
Unlike feature-rich but clunky predecessors like Mint and other alternatives, Toshl is beautiful for its simplicity. Once you create an account, you can immediately begin recording income and expenses and set a monthly spending limit (your budget).
Toshl does not link to your bank accounts and automatically grab debit and credit card transactions; everything is entered by hand. Depending on your philosophy that’s either a deal-breaker or a selling point. Many people don’t like the idea of giving third-party programs access to your banking logins. Personally, I trust them, but I’ve found getting programs to sync up multiple bank accounts (and keep them current) to be the challenge.
Sometimes simpler is better.
Toshl makes entering and tagging expenses fast and easy. Simply hit add, the dollar amount, a tag, and – if desired – a more detailed description. Done.
Creating a budget is straightforward as well. You select the monthly amount and whether you want the budget to be for all spending or for specific tags. For example, you could track only your discretionary spending by tagging those transactions dining, entertainment, or shopping and then creating a budget for those tags. As I’ve written before, simple budgets are better, and Toshl drives this point home.
Above: Screenshots of the Toshl Android app. From left to right: Adding an expense, month-to-date spending versus budget (indicated by dotted line), a summary of today’s expenses.
A basic version of Toshl is free, but you are limited to one budget and one income source. Also, you cannot setup recurring transactions (like your paycheck or monthly rent payment) with the free version.
A Pro subscription costs $19.95 a year and includes additional features like the ability to export your data to Excel, PDF, or Google Docs. (You can export to a CSV file only in the free version.)
If you want to use your phone to track your spending and organize your budget, Toshl is absolutely worth a free download.
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