One of the pillars of good money management is being able to properly track cash flow. By “properly track,” I mean making sure that you know 1) how much money is coming in, 2) how much is going out, and, most importantly 3) WHEN both happen. Getting a handle on the “when” part of cash flow tracking allows better spending decisions to be made, missed payments to be avoided, and no worries about bounced checks or overdraft fees!
Unfortunately, up until recently, my cash flow tracking system has been a very rudimentary, amounting to little more than my iPhone calculator, a sheet of printer paper, and the nearest pen. An hour or so of careful cash flow planning would inevitably lead to bewilderment weeks later when my actual cash flow didn’t match up with my projections. Calculator, Paper, and Pen were not helping me to properly look into the future. My usual go-to money tracking software, Personal Capital, was not much help either, since I could only use it for historical analysis, not anticipated income and expenses. In essence, I not only needed a cash flow tracking system, I needed a cash flow prediction system!
My Dream Cash Flow Prediction System Requirements
Such a system would give me the ability to plan expenses such as large purchases, vacations, or medical bills months in advance to make sure we’re not overspending. Surely there had to be an app for this! Yet, my search for a cash flow app never returned anything that met all of my requirements as follows:
My Dream Cash Flow Prediction App Would:
- Be Calendar Based. I longed for an app that would give me a visual representation of where my money would be on any given day. In essence, open a calendar, tap a day, and see how much cash I SHOULD have that day based on expected income and expenses.
- Have The Ability to Tag Income & Expenses to Specific Days. Again, I wanted the ability to just tap on a day and see what my cash flow standing should be. In order to do this, the app would need to allow me to input income and expenses for any day.
- Have The Ability to Input Recurring Income & Expenses. I don’t want to have to manually input the same expected paycheck amount or same expected investment amount over and over again. I wanted the ability to set these expenses up once and forget them. If something changed with that particular income or expense item, I’d just go back and update a specific entry without affecting any other recurring entry.
Having the above capabilities in one app would give me exactly what I needed to predict my future cash flow based on expected income and expenses as well as any unexpected income and expenses. Thankfully, after I contemplated building this app myself and getting amazingly rich off of it (because surely everyone is looking for a cash flow prediction app, right?), I made one last ditch effort to find some kind of app dedicated solely to cash flow and found Dollarbird!
Dollarbird Cash Flow App
Dollarbird’s tag line is “The smart calendar app for your finances” and I agree. I have tested the app for the past two months and have find it incredibly easy to use, boosting my cash flow prediction powers just like I envisioned such an app would. In addition to ticking off the above check boxes (note that recurring expenses is currently only available on the iPhone version), Dollarbird’s app incorporates the following features which I’m loving:
- Ability to Create Categories. With Dollarbird, I can create categories for regular and not-so-regular income and spending. For example, living overseas in a partly cash based country (as opposed to the U.S. where I can go a month with only a Lincoln in my wallet), I find myself withdrawing money from an ATM weekly. Queue up the ATM category!
- Historical Snapshot of Cash Flow. Where you have been informs where you need to go. Dollarbird incorporates the ability to see the ebbs and flows of your monthly cash flow over time. Good motivation for keeping cash flow on track, or better yet, improving cash flow for extra money. Dollar Dollarbird y’all.
- Super Easy Input of Income and Expenses. Just swipe down to see a list of your categories. Then, select a category, input the expected income or expense amount, and press enter. ZAP! Dollarbird updates your current cash standing and future cash flow.
- Gesture Based Confirmations. Swipe left to confirm that an expected income or expense item has taken place. Swipe right to delete and expected income or expense item that didn’t actually pan out.
- Ability to Add Notes. Dollarbird allows you to add notes to each income or expense item that you insert, making it a cinch to remember exactly what that large bill you expect in two months is for.
This video gives a quick overview of how the app works:
Dollarbird also offers an easy start tutorial + FAQ to help you quickly get up to speed with using the app. Click on the below image link for more information:I’m very glad that I’ve found this app. My only knock on Dollarbird is that it seems to not have been updated since 2015, although it looks like they’re working on an update to both the Free and Pro App versions. Looks like fans like me are antsy to see both:
Hey @otarch, bear with us, we’re working with all our might on the new Dollarbird, hoping to launch sometime in Q3/Q4 this year :).
— Dollarbird App (@dollarbirdapp) July 26, 2016
Hi, @griddle_! Pro is close to return. We’re already testing some alpha builds in-house. We’ll let you know when the app is out. 🙂
— Dollarbird App (@dollarbirdapp) March 14, 2017
And even a web application is on the way apparently:
Hey, @staciabarbosa! Yes, a Dollarbird web app is also coming soon. Yay! 🙂
— Dollarbird App (@dollarbirdapp) January 12, 2017
Whether or not there are more updates to come soon, this app in its current version works just fine for me. I suggest that you give it a try to improve your cash flow prediction powers as well.