- Plans: Free version (contains ads); Premium version (ad-free) for $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year
- Features: Personal spending index (cash flow analysis tool), daily spend tracking
- Advantages: Free version truly is free; no need to provide sensitive personal information; no need to link bank accounts or deposit funds
- Disadvantages: Free version has ads; not as feature-rich as some competitors; no desktop version; free users must share transaction data
Wismo Budget is different enough from other budgeting apps to attract folks who can’t be bothered with traditional budgets. It’s lightweight, intuitive, and fun to use — perfect for those with no patience the trappings of hardcore budgeting apps, such as graphs and spreadsheets. And it couldn’t be easier to get started.
Getting Started With Wismo Budget
To get started with Wismo Budget, set up an account using your name, email address, and phone number. Then, create a username that doesn’t contain personally identifiable information, such as your first and last name or your home address. That’s crucial because other users can see what you’re spending money on.
Next, answer some basic questions about your personal finances, covering your monthly income, housing costs, and transportation costs.
Once you’ve created your account, you can see your app’s dashboard, which lays out:
- Your initial personal spending index (a score based on your spending versus income)
- Your recurring spending based on your answers to the initial questions
- Your daily budget based on the information you’ve provided so far
- Your daily spending, which starts at $0 and increases as you enter transactions
Adding Income and Expenses
Wismo helps you track your daily spending, recurring transactions, and monthly income to give you a snapshot of your overall financial health. It’s easy to use — no complicated spreadsheets required. And unlike many personal budgeting apps, Wismo doesn’t link to your external financial accounts, a reassuring exclusion for users concerned about digital security.
On the main dashboard, use the plus-sign button to add a new one-time transaction. You can enter the amount of the transaction and its category with or without snapping a picture of the transaction receipt.
Use the “custom” option for debit and credit card transactions that don’t neatly fit into preset categories like transportation and services. For more details, you can add the payee’s name and notes about the expense, though you can’t create new custom categories.
When you’ve entered all your expenses, click Close the Books to get your final spend tally for the day and see how it compares with your daily budget. Your daily budget is your monthly income minus recurring expenses divided by the number of days in the month.
But it’s crucial you remember that Wismo has a social component. It shares what you spend money on (your debit and credit card transaction amounts and categories) with other users. So your fellow Wismo users will see that you spent $50 on entertainment. But the information is anonymized and doesn’t include payee details. And other users can only see your username, not your real name.
You can also enter recurring expenses in about a dozen categories, including housing, transportation, utilities, insurance, subscriptions, health, loans and debt, and savings goals.
Add subcategories for more granular tracking. For instance, your transportation category might include fuel, your parking pass, rideshare fares, and public transportation expenses. You can organize expenses however you see fit. If it makes more sense to you to add your car loan under transportation rather than loans and debt, go for it.
You can add new income buckets under the Monthly Income tab. This space gets pretty granular, with categories such as other jobs, support, investments, and retirement. Add subcategories to put an even finer point on things. For instance, you can track your various streams of freelance income.
Tracking Household and Family Members’ Expenses
You can add up to four friends or family members (generally members of your household) to track and share expenses together. This feature is excellent for couples who’ve merged their finances, families with income-earning teens and young adults, and other small groups who share living expenses.
Finding Friends and Peers
Use the Friends tab to find other Wismo Budget users. You can filter by age, annual income, sex, and occupation to zero in on folks who more or less resemble you. Once you’ve found some users to follow, you can compare your spending habits to theirs as revealed in their public social feeds.
Wismo Budget has multiple features that appeal to users who hate complicated spreadsheets and data entry but still want to get a handle on their personal spending.
Personal Spending Index
Wismo is built around the personal spending index (PSI), a numeric representation of your cash flow based on self-reported or verified income and expenses.
The formula is simple:
(Spending ÷ Income) x 100 = PSI
A PSI of 100 indicates you’re spending exactly as much as you earn. A score under 100 indicates surplus income you can and probably should put toward savings, while a score over 100 indicates negative cash flow.
For obvious reasons, Wismo recommends keeping your PSI under 100. As long as you’re diligently and comprehensively tracking your income and spending, the app makes that a whole lot easier.
- Your total expenses for the month
- Your daily spending for the month
- Your recurring expenses for the month
- Your PSI by month
Public Feed (Social Feed)
Your public feed displays other Wismo users’ spending activities in near real time. The Everyone bar is a comprehensive roundup of all non-private users’ spending. The Friends bar covers just those you’ve followed. Users are identified by their usernames and avatars.
Remember, if you’re using Wismo’s free version, your spending is visible in other users’ feeds. There’s no way to turn off that feature without upgrading to Premium. Wismo is transparent about its information-sharing practices, advising users to omit obvious clues to their identities from their Wismo usernames. But if you still prefer to keep your personal spending under wraps, opt for the Premium version.
Premium Plan (Ad-Free Experience)
When you upgrade to Wismo’s Premium plan ($2.99 per month or $29.99 when paid annually), you’ll enjoy a completely ad-free experience that reduces the interface’s clutter.
Wismo’s Premium plan costs less per year than most full-service budgeting apps. Though some free budgeting apps, such as Mint and its top alternatives, have similarly uncluttered interfaces worth checking out.
Advantages of Wismo Budget
Wismo Budget has some notable advantages. Specifically, it takes a fresh approach to budgeting that makes the process easy to understand and is 100% free for users who don’t mind ads or sharing their spending habits.
- The Free Version Is Totally Free. Wismo Budget’s free version is truly free, with no hidden fees or upsells buried in the interface. As long as you’re willing to tolerate advertising and consent to anonymized data sharing, you never pay a dime out of pocket to use Wismo.
- The PSI Makes Cash Flow Easy to Understand. Wismo Budget’s PSI is a shockingly simple cash flow conceptualization that’s easy for even the most math-challenged to understand. A PSI under 100 means you’re spending less than you earn.
- No Need to Disclose Sensitive Personal Information. Wismo doesn’t require users to disclose sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers or home addresses, as a condition of use. Any information you provide to Wismo is anonymized. Avoid including obvious clues to your identity, such as your first and last name, in your Wismo handle, and no one will ever be the wiser.
- No Obligation to Link Bank Accounts or Transfer Funds. Wismo doesn’t link with external financial accounts, eliminating a potential security risk and privacy invasion. That’s a big advantage over budgeting apps that require or aggressively nudge users to take this step.
Disadvantages of Wismo Budget
Consider these potential drawbacks carefully before using Wismo. Notable downsides include fewer features than some full-service budgeting apps and a mobile-only interface that, while convenient, excludes users who prefer to budget on bigger screens.
- The Free Version Contains Advertising. Wismo’s free version contains ads. In practice, these ads don’t adversely affect the user experience, but they’re still present and unavoidable unless you switch to the paid plan. If you’re not too interested in the paid plan’s other perks, you may not want to upgrade solely to eliminate ads.
- Not as Robust as Some Other Budgeting and Spending Apps. Wismo is a pretty lightweight app. That’s perfect for consumers primarily interested in tracking and controlling spending. But it’s unsuitable for serious budgeters seeking deep insights into their spending patterns and personal finances.
- No Desktop Version. Wismo is a mobile-only app. It’s not compatible with large-screen devices, such as laptops and desktops. If you don’t own a smartphone or prefer to manage your personal finances on a device with an actual keyboard, Wismo isn’t for you.
- Other Wismo Users Can See Your Financial Details in the Free Version. To use Wismo’s free version, you must permit the app to share your financial habits with fellow Wismo users. Wismo only shares information anonymously. Still, Wismo’s social component is sure to give some prospective users pause.
Some people hate budgeting. Managing a traditional household budget is a labor-intensive task involving lengthy spreadsheets with categories galore and cells for every transaction. Modern budgeting apps streamline the process a bit, but they still require time and effort to maintain accurately.
Fortunately, having a formal household budget isn’t a prerequisite of fiscal responsibility. I know a few financially savvy folks who’ve sworn off budgeting yet still manage to spend less than they earn and save for the future.
If you’ve tried budgeting and just can’t deal with all the details, Wismo Budget could be the app that gets your budget back on track.
Wismo Budget is a low-key, user-friendly app built to help users spend less than they earn. It lacks the spreadsheets, charts, and graphs common to more robust budgeting apps, meaning Wismo appeals to busy folks without time for painstaking, down-to-the-dollar budgeting.
On the other hand, free users’ financial information, including income and expenses, is public to other users, albeit anonymized. Those uncomfortable with the idea of social cash flow tracking and unwilling to upgrade to Premium should think twice about using the app. Remember the digital marketing adage: If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.