(As of September 2017, Level Money no longer exists. You can find budgeting app alternatives here.)
How much can you afford to spend every day?
If you answered, “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. Most of us don’t keep track of our disposable income, but that’s where smart app Level Money comes in.
Level Money links up with your bank account and credit cards to track your spending. It helps you set savings goals and tells you exactly how to meet them.
The Level app offers a simple but effective way to take control of your finances. Read on for a full Level Money review and to learn whether the app is right for you.
Level Money review
Level Money is a free mobile app available for iPhone and Android. Once you download the app, connect it to your bank account and credit cards.
After you complete some initial steps, the Level app gets to work analyzing your budget. It looks at your income, bills, and other expenses to help you meet your savings goals.
Level then labels any money that’s left over for non-essential expenses as “Spendable.” Your Spendable is the money you can spend on eating out or going to the movies without compromising your budget or going into the red.
The Level app recalculates your budget on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times per day. If you overspend on one day, your Spendable amount will go down the next. As long as you don’t push past the monthly limit, you’ll keep a balanced budget.
The Level app is all about simplicity. It doesn’t tell you how to spend your money, so you don’t have to worry about categories like food and entertainment. However, you can set up “trackers” if you want to see how much you spend in specific areas.
With its simple, user-friendly design, Level shows your transactions and disposable income at a glance.
How does Level Money work?
Level Money tracks your cash flow, spending habits, and savings goals. When you open the app, it tells you at a glance how much spending money you have each day.
You can readjust your savings goals at any time. Once you’ve used the app for a few months, you can also look back at your history to compare monthly spending.
More recently, Level engineers updated the app so that it can detect and adjust to irregular income — for freelance writers, servers that receive tips, and more. Plus, you can always mark “don’t count” on an unusual deposit or expense if you don’t want it factored into your plan.
The app will update your data up to four times per day to improve its accuracy. That being said, some banks place limits on data requests. So if you suspect your Spendable isn’t right, contact Level support with any questions.
Getting started with the Level app
To get started with the Level app, head to the App Store or Google Play to download it for free.
Once your download is complete, create an account by entering your email and password. Make sure to choose a very secure password, as the app will have access to your financial accounts.
After creating your account, connect your various accounts and institutions. This includes your bank account and any credit cards.
At this point, Level will look at your transactions and analyze your budget. It will help you come up with a savings plan, or you can enter specific goals.
You should also label recurring expenses. Cell phone bills, utility bills, student loan payments, and monthly subscriptions would all fall into this category.
Finally, you have the option of adding “trackers” to monitor your spending in certain categories. For instance, you could add a tracker to your favorite coffee shop so you can see how much you spend on frappuccinos every month.
Once you’ve connected your accounts and added labels to your income and expenses, you’re all set. Level Money will continue to work quietly in the background so you can go about your day. All you have to do is open the app every now and then to see your transactions history and Spendable budget.
Note that Level Money only updates daily for active users. To remain an active user, you must open the Level app at least once every two weeks.
Is the Level app secure?
According to Level Money, the app uses bank-level security to protect your data. It uses 128-bit level encryption to secure your information and it never sells your data to third parties.
No one has reported any security issues or concerns with using the Level app. Some reviewers, however, have questioned how accurate the Level app is for tracking their spending habits. One reviewer says that the app had trouble adjusting to pattern interruptions, such as receiving a tax refund.
If you’re just starting out, you should double check your Spendable against your bank account. The longer you use the Level Money app, the more customized it will become to your personal budget.
How does Level make money?
Level is a completely free service and it doesn’t feature ads. It has been downloaded over 800,000 times.
In early 2015, Capital One acquired Level Money. The app continues to offer free services, but it may soon offer advanced features that only Capital One customers can access. It may also offer additional financial products in the future in order to generate revenue.
The pros and cons of using Level Money
If you’re looking to improve your basic, everyday money management, then Level Money can absolutely help. The app suggests limits for your spending so you can manage your bills and put aside savings.
Plus, its easy-to-use interface lets you track your spending at a glance. Once you download the app, you don’t have to do much else. Just open it up every once in a while to see where your finances stand.
But the Level Money app isn’t going to limit your spending in and of itself. You’ll need to practice self-control and curb impulse spending so you don’t exceed your Spendable. The app shows you what to do, but only you can implement good habits.
Furthermore, some reviewers have criticized the app for being inaccurate in the first month of set-up. Others say it struggles to keep up with irregular income streams or spending habits. If your bank deposits and withdrawals lack a pattern, then this app may not always be 100 percent accurate.
Finally, the Level app may not be so useful if you’re struggling to make ends meet every month. It’s best for people who can set some income aside for savings and have a little extra for non-essentials. If you’re having trouble paying your monthly bills, focus on other strategies to give your budget more breathing room.
More about Level Money
Level Money, Inc. is run by a small team based out of San Francisco. CEO Jake Fuentes launched the company in 2013 and now leads a team of designers, mobile engineers, and financial experts.
After Capital One acquired Level Money, all of the original team members remained at the company and continue to add new features to the app. It will continue to offer its current services for free to users.
Level contact information
If you have questions about using the app after reading this Level Money review, check out their comprehensive Support page. You’ll find answers to FAQs, plus you can chat directly with the support team.
Finally, check out the Level Money Facebook page and find them on Twitter @LevelMoney.
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