Are you a Dave Ramsey fan that likes the money envelope system but you haven’t found an online program you like yet? You might like HoneyMoney because you can track your spending with digital envelopes and a small weekly commitment of 15 minutes to log your weekly transactions.
I gave HoneyMoney a try and I’ll share my thoughts below and how it compares to our current pen-and-paper budget that my wife and I use.
What is HoneyMoney?
HoneyMoney is a budgeting app that’s been around since 2011. Ildar lives in Canada and despite being an international app, it works just fine when you’re creating a budget with U.S. dollars.
Maybe you’ve even read about HoneyMoney on J. Money’s blog, Budgets Are Sexy, as a new-to-you financial app that you might like.
There are dozens of online budgeting programs to choose from, so why should you go with HoneyMoney?
Here are a few reasons I like HoneyMoney.
- Envelope budgeting-friendly
- It isn’t a budget spreadsheet
- Doesn’t link to your bank accounts
My wife and I are big fans of the envelope budgeting system because we have a visual picture of exactly how much money we set aside each month for our various expenses like utilities, vacation, and saving for a new-to-us car.
While we don’t keep envelopes full of cash at home, we do keep a written log of our planned spending and our actual spending at home on paper. We balance the checkbook once a week and review our credit card activity at the same time.
If your personal bank doesn’t let you create sub-accounts, HoneyMoney can help you organize your financial life online so you and your spouse can enter the following information from any computer:
- Planned Expenses
- Unplanned Expenses
- Savings Goals
After entering the information, you can see if you’re on track to reach your goals and live within your means or if you need to find another way to boost your income or cut your monthly spending.
Like any budgeting app, there is a small learning curve. But once you understand HoneyMoney’s system, entering your transactions can almost be like riding a bike.
HoneyMoney has a small walkthrough that helps you create your day-to-day accounts, spending envelopes, and savings goals.
There are a few terms you need to become familiar with:
- HoneyMoney-This is the name of the budgeting app and where your unplanned expenses pull from (aka you go out for ice cream one night)
- Reserves-Your planned monthly expenses
- Funds-You can limit how much money you spend on certain, special activities like going out to the movies or your latte budget.
- Goals-Your savings goals that you don’t have money for yet, but are saving towards
In the above screenshot, I put new goals and existing goals. You can track your progress by seeing the blue bar extend to the right.
This is why I like HoneyMoney most, I can see the “big picture” of where our money goes on a monthly basis. It’s also where you enter your income and expenses.
When you’re ready to enter a financial transaction, click on the calendar day to choose one of the following options:
- Expense (Red)
- Income (Green)
- Transfer between accounts (Gold)
- Transfer Between Funds (Blue)
You will need to decide if this is an actual or planned expense. When entering the dollar figures, don’t enter a comma. For example, our monthly income is 2600 instead 2,600. This threw me for a loop for a minute because my income and expense reports weren’t adding up.
Tips for Entering Your Transactions Quickly
Using HoneyMoney is easier if you already know idea when you spend money on certain items each month. This way, you can enter planned expenses like cell phone, internet, charity, income on the same date each month as a Planned expense. After the money is withdrawn from your account, you log into HoneyMoney and change the event from Planned to Actual and your spending breakdown instantly updates. These expenses come from your Reserves fund.
When the unplanned expenses come up like getting ice cream one evening or having to run to Walmart for a last-minute item, you enter comes from the HoneyMoney account.
HoneyMoney Reserves Forecast
After you enter your expenses and income, you can see if your Reserves forecast is on track; i.e. are you saving more than you’re spending?
This image doesn’t include unplanned expenses like car repairs that require pulling from your general savings account (not your emergency fund). But, it can still give you a good idea to see how much money you will have at this time next year with your normal monthly spending.
How Does HoneyMoney Compare to Mint or YNAB?
What I like about HoneyMoney is that the website has a quick compare and contrast to the other popular budgeting apps like Mint and YNAB. If you want a prefilled budget template or linked bank accounts that automatically upload your transactions, you’ll want to use one of these services.
You can visit the “Compare” tab on HoneyMoney’s website to see what makes HoneyMoney different.
This is my personal opinion, but I think the next best budgeting app is YNAB. If you don’t like HoneyMoney, YNAB will be your #1 option and vice versa. Both apps excel in their own unique way and you need to decide which budgeting approach is better for you.
I think Mint has a lot of potentials, but because it’s free, I get turned off by the constant promotions and the fact that you must link your bank accounts to enter transaction data; you can manually enter transactions by hand.
Why I Like HoneyMoney
I like HoneyMoney for the following reasons:
- Supports envelope budgeting system
- Can project future net worth
- Not required to sync to a bank account
- Won’t receive promotional offers to sign up for new bank accounts, credit cards, etc.
Where I Think HoneyMoney Can Improve
Is HoneyMoney the perfect budgeting app? No.
- Not as feature rich as YNAB
- People who’ve never made a budget before might feel lost initially
With any budgeting app, you get what you put in. Because HoneyMoney doesn’t sync with any bank accounts, this will be an instant turn off to people who want convenience. You’re 100% responsible for accurately reporting your spending and income.
Also, HoneyMoney is run by one person so it doesn’t always have the most streamlined interface. But, you can always visit the tutorials or ask Ildar a question if you’re stuck.
Is HoneyMoney Worth It?
HoneyMoney costs $50 a year but comes with a 30-day trial (no credit card required), and there’s also a demo account you can try too. This demo account uses real-life expenses–although the incomes and accounts have been fictionalized–so you can get a true feel of how HoneyMoney works and getting to peek underneath the hood without a salesman breathing down your neck.
The envelope budgeting system is a good reason to consider HoneyMoney, if you’re dedicated to entering the transactions yourself every couple days.
After the initial setup, it’s easier to use once you schedule the planned transactions that you can switch to actual as you move from week to week.
Link: Try Out HoneyMoney and Start Your Own Digital Envelope System
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.