Monday, August 29, 2011

Impressions of Left to Spend

Compiled Experience has come up with a handy new app for Windows Phone 7 called Left to Spend. I’ve been using it for the past week and find that its something well worth trying out.

Starting the app takes you right to totals page. While the app looks very well Metro, there’s no other pages to swipe to, and that really speaks of how to the point it is. At the top will be your current, remaining total of spending money and how often its replenished. Below that it’ll show the period of time it spans, date-wise, and the purchases entered are listed below.

Clicking on the gear icon on the bottom will bring up the settings screen. Here you can set how much you’re giving yourself and how often. For instance, you do like I do and set it for every paycheck to receive $x in spending money (my entertainment budget). Because you can set the amount and choose between daily, weekly, fortnightly (every two weeks) or monthly, you can really use it in the most practical means for you. The last option is to carry over balances; does the money evaporate when you’re done? Or does it roll over?

Once you’ve set that up, entering entries is very quick and easy. Simply click on the + icon and you’ll get to add a purchase amount plus description. Its incredibly quick and easy, which is nice, but more importantly makes it more usable. I used to try using Microsoft Excel that came with WP7, but its harder, more fidgity, and thus I stopped trying. Once you enter the purchase, it gets listed and your total is lowered accordingly.

As someone who uses his debit card for most things, this is really quite nice. I dislike carrying a checkbook around, and some merchants aren’t always the fastest at processing their credit card purchases. As such, this will keep a nice running total with me, along with where and how much I spent. The individual entries do not keep dates of entry, but they’ll be there conveniently enough when you add them to your checkbook at the end of the day anyhow.

One nice feature is seen when you click on the graph icon. The application will produce a nice chart showing your spending over the course of time, with the total remaining in the day and the amount spent. It does help visualize your spending, which is never a bad thing (especially for us impulse shoppers).

For $0.99, I think Left to Spend is pretty great, and well worth the money. Since taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and being introduced to the old fashioned “envelope system,” this seems to be the virtual “envelope” I’ve been needing for my debit card. Additionally, Compiled Experience has at least one update planned for the WP7 Mango update, which looks like will give the app a “full” Live tile. What that means exactly, I’m not sure, but I’m still interested!

If you’ve been needing something quick and simple, this is what you’ve been looking for. Go get the trial, and give it a spin. I think you’ll find it handier than you might imagine. Much like To Do Today, this has already found a spot on my WP7 start screen.