Daily iPhone App: Dollarbird expense calendar helps you make the most of your money

Dollarbird from Halcyon Mobile merges two major productivity apps -- it takes an expense tracker and adds it to a monthly calendar. The app recently landed in the App Store, and I was able to take it for a spin before it became available. Read on to find out whether this twist on the traditional financial ledger made it easier for me to track my spending.

When it launches for the first time, Dollarbird opens with a quick overview that introduces you to the major features of the app. Once you get past the tutorial, you are prompted to enter your current money balance. Dollarbird only tracks the dollar value of one account and does not support multiple accounts. In my first round of testing, I pooled my money from multiple bank accounts and used that value as my starting balance. That was less than ideal as the app is not meant to work that way. I couldn't keep track of individual balances in my accounts and was concerned I might overdraft. Halcyon Mobile plans on adding support for multiple calendars to manage multiple accounts in a future update.

After hemming and hawing over what to do, I decided to use Dollarbird just to track the cash that I withdraw from the bank. It worked great for me as my cash account is often a giant black hole that swallows up my money. When I spend cash, I don't have an automatic digital trail like I do with a check or credit card, so I often lose track of where my dollars are being spent. With Dollarbird, I was able to easily enter transactions and get a better handle of where that paper money is disappearing.

Unlike a register-based app like Quicken, Dollarbird keeps track of your income and expenses on a calendar at the top of the screen. Right underneath the calendar is an area for your individual financial transactions, which are organized by category like loan payment, groceries and so on. You can add both your expenses and income as transactions. The app supports repeating transactions so you can easily set up your paychecks as well as monthly bills in just a few minutes.

The calendar gives you a snapshot of your finances and lets you see how your money goes up and down each day. When you add in your bills, the app lets you see your upcoming balance as well. It was surprisingly useful to be able to see my finances on a calendar and know that I'll have $200 left over at the end of the month. If you want additional details on your spending, you can pull up a drawer that allows you to view your expenses by category and your balance over the course of a month. There are also a few settings that let you change your alerts or turn on financial tips within the app.

One item that is missing in this first version of Dollarbird is a passcode to block access to your account. Without a passcode, anyone who uses my phone can browse through my finances. This makes me a bit uncomfortable, but it's not a dealbreaker for me, especially since the developer has said that this is a feature that will be added to the app very soon.

Dollarbird is a handy expense tracker for customers who want an easy way to monitor their spending. It's also perfect for people like me who do everything on the timeline of a calendar. It's earned a permanent spot on my iPhone and will be a nice companion to Pocket Money, which I use to track my personal and business finances. I'm also going to use it with my older children to teach them basic money management. I let them use Dollarbird during my testing and they said they really liked the calendar part of the app.

Dollarbird is available for US$1.99 from the iOS App Store.