Budgeting can be boring, complex, insanely time consuming, and everything but simple. Mobile apps like Mint can make things easier tying all your financials into one place, but it can be a complete overload of information as it lists your mortgage right next to your movie night money.
Level Money is a new, free budget-tracking app that’s a lot simpler than your average banking app—and really quite elegant. Instead of focusing on data visualizations for as many stats as possible, it gives people what they really want to know: How much money do I have right now, and would buying this new phone put me in the red?
After linking your bank and credit card accounts, the app gives you a simple visualization of how much money you can spend today, this week, and the rest of the month.
Before we move on, though, we have to stress the part where you input your credit card and bank account website logins. This includes secret question answers, pin codes, and any other information you need to verify that you are really you and not some con artist out empty a bank account.
Level Money claims that they use the “same 128-bit encryption as banks and other financial institutions.” The Level Money FAQ also says that the company does not store your information, keeping it safe and secure. Security mumbo jumbo aside, the most reputable thing about Level Money is that they track your financial information through a partnership with Intuit, the same people who brought you QuickBooks.
So if you’re still cool with that, then using the Level Money app is actually pretty intuitive. It asks you to enter your regular income and how much you want to save. From there, the app calculates some hard limits on how much money you can spend on any given day to an entire month.
It represents this information as three bubbles that empty as you spend, which you can also tap on to get deeper look at where the heck your money has gone during each time period. If you still want to drill down to every itemized listing, you can still do that by going through the activity menu on the left. Assuming you pay for mostly everything through credit cards, you can view your history of expenditures up to the beginning of last month.
Level Money isn’t as comprehensive as many other money management apps, but that’s part of it’s design. It was really made to help you get a look at you financials at a glance, in the moment just before you hit the buy button on something. Say goodbye to pulling up your bank’s terrible web app every time you want to check your balance.
Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.
Developer: Level Money, Inc.