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Review: Toshl Finance Expense Tracker for Android

I love analyzing stuff. I can check out Google Analytics for hours without getting bored. And for a long time I have been searching for a good personal financing app to analyze all my family expenses so I can see where all this money is going every month. After using many Android financing apps, without being perfectly happy with neither one of them, I stumbled across toshl.com which is a web based personal finances service. Toshl combines a nice web interface with an Android app (besides iOS, Windows Phone and Symbian apps) that will sync automatically to the cloud.

When you start up Toshl for Android the first time it doesn’t take much time to see that this app was made with a lot of love for the detail. It sports great graphics with some little creatures giving you hints occasionally. This may sound strange for a financing app but since the graphics are done very professionally it doesn’t feel out of place at all, and instead helps to make an otherwise pretty tedious task of expenses tracking much more lighthearted.

But at the end of the day the most important thing is how easily you can organize your personal finances. The Toshl main screen consists of four tabs for expenses, income, summary and budget. Creating a new entry for expenses and incomes is very easy. Just tap on the appropriate tab and the plus button.

After defining the amount you can add tags to the expense by either writing a new tag or selecting one of the existing tags. Toshl will automatically provide a list of all tags that you have used up to now. Using tags to register new expenses is very fast and effortless. And I like the fact that all controls are big and easy to hit, this helps making the whole process as comfortable as possible.
The same concept is applied to the income tab. The free Toshl version doesn’t support repeating incomes though (repeating expenses are possible), which might be a turnoff for some people.

You can find an overview of all your expenses and income on the ‘Sum Up’ tab. There is also a setting where you can define when your financial month begins, this is a great little detail to help you track your finances according to your personal time schedule. My month i.e. begins on the 28th as this is the day my salary is paid out.

The last tab is meant for budgets. You can define separate budgets for any specific tag in order to track how much money you have available and how much of it is spent during the current month.

Since all your data is synced with toshl.com it’s easily possible to have multiple family members use a general Toshl account to track all household expenses.

Besides some nice overviews, toshl.com will provide a lot of interesting features in the paid pro version. First of all you can generate graphs for all of your tags, which show how the specific tag was used in the last months.

Furthermore there are export options like excel, Google docs and more. You can even set up a monthly email report.

Toshl is a very professionally designed app that comes with a great UI and good usability. The possibility to sync multiple devices with the cloud is perfect for i.e. family expenses, and since there is an app available for many mobile OS you won’t have any problem tracking your expenses on Android, Windows Phone, iOS and even Symbian devices. One issue I had is the fact that Toshl doesn’t always seem to sync the way I would like to. When leaving the Android app via home button there will be no sync, and on Windows Phone the app will sync on startup but not after you made changes and left. The best solution would be to sync any change immediately like in example remember the milk does, or at least give us the option to automatically sync every day, even if you don’t open the app at all. Another feature which I’d like to see in future is the possibility to access your bank account so Toshl can automatically tag your expenses without a lot of manual management. But even without this feature Toshl is still one of the best personal finances tools and the only service with great cloud syncing in Europe. Give it a try if you want to find out where your money is going.