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Budget App Review: Every Dollar Plus

Video Review of Every Dollar Plus

As a coach and as a busy mom and wife with little time or patience for clunky budgeting software, I’ve taken it upon myself to scour the internet for the best budgeting app out there.

I’ve tried everything from Mint to Every Dollar to Mvelopes to good old fashioned paper.

Kyle and I settled on Every Dollar as our favorite. We have been using Every Dollar for almost two years, and in my experience this app blows the rest out of the water.

We started with the Plus (paid for) version, then went back to the free version, then upgraded again in December.

Why?

Initially we downgraded to the free version to keep ourselves more accountable to daily expense tracking. We realized it was easy to let the app do the work for you… except that when you have 30 transactions at the end of the week and you don’t remember what you bought or where to categorize, it kind of defeats the purpose of budgeting software in the first place.

(Hence, the importance of DAILY budget tracking even if your budget app is automated!)

But I wanted to give it another shot since apps are constantly being improved and updated. I also wanted to know if it was worth recommending to clients. Until now, I’ve recommended the free version, since you can’t get lazy and let the transactions accumulate.

And second, I wanted to see if it could help us make sure that NOTHING slipped through the cracks because hey, we’re only human! Even with a consistent routine of tracking purchases, anything we can do to minimize human error is a benefit.

How Every Dollar Plus Works

Here’s how it works: Every Dollar Plus connects to your bank account so that you can use your debit card for purchases. Whenever a transaction shows up on your bank account, you get a notification on your app.

When you open the app, there’s a circle with the merchant name and amount spent. Same thing shows up for your bills that paid from the checking account. You slide the circle to the budget category of choice, and you’re done!

If you’re using cash envelopes exclusively, there isn’t much of a point to getting the Plus version and I’d recommend sticking to the free version.

But if you’re like us and depend on online shopping (thank you Amazon Prime) to sustain your life, then Every Dollar Plus may be worth your while.

Pros and Cons of Every Dollar Plus

Let’s Start With the Pros

One of my favorite aspects of Every Dollar Plus is that it makes communicating about the budget SO much easier. Kyle and I share one account and we can keep track of our updated budget in real time without having to ask “hey did you track this or buy that?”

I also like that you can set up your budget on the desktop version, which makes it a bit easier and faster than fumbling around trying to make an entire budget on a phone. It’s just nice to have the option.

Another pro is the “make this a fund” feature. Take the gift category, for example. I often buy gifts online for family and friends around the country so it can be shipped directly. So for us, using cash for gifts doesn’t make as much sense. However, I also don’t care to put gift money into a savings account and have to transfer money every time there’s a birthday.

The fund option solves this problem. It keeps track of our Gift Fund so that every month it simply rolls over the total remaining and keeps a running tab in the fund column. When I spend from that category, it deducts from the total of the fund, not just the monthly amount.

Alos, the app catches things that are easily missed in a cursory glance of the bank account and has more than paid for itself.

Case in point: on December 5th I saw a bank charge for $15. The charge was the bank’s error and I was able to call and have them remove it. I might have seen it on the bank statement, but I might have missed it. The fact that Every Dollar alerted me to this already makes the $10 monthly subscription fee worth it.

Edited to update: the next month, the trash company double-charged our quarterly bill. There’s $56 I noticed and got refunded right away!

Lastly, I appreciate that I can look at my checking and savings balances right from the app. When you have a working budget you don’t need to do this often, but it’s nice to not have to go into a separate app. Also, you can link multiple financial accounts and see it all in one place.

Cons

There are definitely a few improvements that would make Every Dollar Plus even better. For one, there is not an option to make a weekly or bi-weekly budget allocation. Not everyone needs this option, but it would be nice if you could create a weekly spending breakdown, especially for those who receive a weekly paycheck and need to keep careful track of their cash flow.

The second improvement I would make is more of a glitch fix. Occasionally Every Dollar Plus disconnects from your bank account, which sort of defeats the purpose. It’s only happened a few times in the two-plus years I’ve been using it, but I felt it was only fair to mention that it’s happened.

Usually all you have to do is log back into your bank account and refresh the app. Once, however, it was a developer issue, and it took awhile to solve. As with any technology, it’s not going to run smoothly 100% of the time, so as long as this issue remains very occasional, it’s not a deal breaker for me, but I’ll let you know if consistency ever becomes a problem.

Third, it takes transactions a day or two to come through to the app. This is because it connects with your bank account, not the merchants directly. So if you spend $35 at Target on Tuesday, it might take until Thursday to appear in Every Dollar. My advice remains the same: track daily, which means track whatever is in your Every Dollar transaction queue.

However, for big box stores where you may forget what you bought (um, never right?) hang on to the receipt just in case. I don’t know this is necessarily a “fix” that Every Dollar can make since it’s dependent on your bank, but if you know of an app that adds transactions faster, let me know and I’ll review it!

The Verdict on Every Dollar Plus

Overall, I love Every Dollar Plus as it’s added a lot of ease and simplicity to the budget management. And no one is paying me to say that. I just wanted to do this because I’m always striving to stay on top of the latest and greatest in budgeting software.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to budgeting software is that you have a zero-based budget set up. If you need help setting up a zero-based budget, take my 5 Day Budget Challenge and I’ll take you through it step-by-step!

Tips for Budgeting App Success

To help stay accountable to daily expense tracking, I put the app icon on the homepage of my phone so I would see it all the time, and I checked it whenever I had a spare second.

To be successful with any budgeting app, you have to think of it as a tool, not as a budget on auto-pilot. No budget app can do all the work for you, because a budget is only effective if you stay in control by knowing where your money is going and how much you have left to spend. No matter what budgeting tool you choose, remember that tracking will make your budget 100x more successful!

For our family, Every Dollar Plus helps make budgeting a breeze.

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