I know we’re an outlier in this sense, but my wife and I have never had problems talking about money. In fact it’s something we discuss quite often, whether it be determining if we can afford a large purchase, deciding what retirement accounts to contribute to, or delegating who should pay what bills. Of course not all couples are so lucky, which is why I was interested to hear about a smartphone app called Honeydue.
Honeydue is a personal finance app designed for couples and bears the tagline “Outsmart Money, Together.” Like with similar — if not as specifically-minded — apps, Honeydue allows you to link various bank and credit card accounts, monitor spending, and set reminders. However what sets it apart is that you can share all of this info with your significant other and ensure you’re on the same financial page. While Honeydue does meet that goal for the most part, there are a few pros and cons to the app itself.
Before we get too far, let’s go through the set-up process and take a look at the different sections of the Honeydue app.
Getting Started with Honeydue
If you’ve tried out other personal finance apps before, you know that it does take a while to get your accounts connected and have everything set up. Honeydue is no different in that aspect, although the process was pretty painless in my case — I was able to select my bank, enter my information, and have the app pull the appropriate data. As you add accounts, you can also label them as personal or joint accounts. Finally you can select from a number of privacy settings, allowing your partner to see everything, balances only, or completely hide an account’s info from them.
One extra step you’ll want to take with Honeydue in order for it to function as intended is to add your significant other to the account. This is done by entering their e-mail address and inviting them to join you. The app does recommend that you make your profile picture a photo of you before inviting your loved one, just so they know it’s really you when they get the e-mail. Once both of you are set up, you’re ready to explore the rest of the app.
The first page you’ll encounter on Honeydue is called Balances. As that name implies, this is where you can get an at-a-glance overview of all your different bank and credit card accounts. You also have the choice of viewing all of your accounts, just those you’ve labeled as “mine,” or just those you’ve labeled as “joint.” Tapping on any one account will also let you browse recent transactions.
Viewing your transaction activity is actually the first place where Honeydue sets itself apart. See, in addition to the ability to re-categorize any transaction, you can also label them with emojis or make additional notes. Assuming you’ve selected the correct option in your notification settings (more on that later), your partner will then be alerted to your notes or reactions and can respond accordingly.
By selecting a single transaction, you’ll also be provided with a few more selections. The first option is to share the expense with your partner, which is another feature we’ll get into a minute. Here you’ll also have the choice to add a bill reminder. Tapping that option will then allow you to choose a frequency option (monthly, weekly, one time only), who the reminder should go to, and when you’d like your notification to be sent.
Given how much you can do from the Balances section, Activity may seem a bit redundant. In actuality it’s really just a question of how you like your transactions to be organized. While Balance displays your spending for each account, Activity breaks it down by category. It also includes a color-coded circle chart, providing you a visual look at what categories you spend the most on. Other than that, the functionality is similar to Balances: tap a category to see transactions and add reactions, tap that transaction to share expense or set-up a reminder.
As you set up bill reminders, they’ll appear in this section in both a calendar view and as a list. Naturally you can also add reminders from this section. Lastly, from the list view, you can edit upcoming reminders, mark them as paid, or select to skip a reminder until the next due date.
Something I forgot to mention up front is that Honeydue is free to use. Thus, like many apps in its field, it monetizes by suggesting credit cards, bank accounts, and other services. In my case it’s currently suggesting I look into a new bank account since I spent $6.38 in fees over the last two months (those were thanks to my Toronto-bound road trip, for the record). If you’re looking for a loan, online bank account, new credit card, or ever foreign currency then, by all means, feel free to hit up this section. Otherwise it’s easily skippable.
The final section simply titled “More” is actually home to a number of features. The first tab you’ll come across in More is a list of notifications. Speaking of notifications, you can also tap the gear icon in the top right and then select Notification Settings to adjust what types of transactions and updates push through to your phone.
Next to the notifications tab is “Your Banks,” where you can view what banks you’ve linked to your account. Incidentally this tab can come in handy as one of my accounts was recently unlinked for some reason. To repair it, all I had to do was tap and reenter my info — easy as pie.
Perhaps the most interesting section of More is the Split Expenses tab. Here you’ll see a list of transactions that you or your partner have labeled to split and also has the option to post more unpaid debts. This section will keep a running tally of who owes who and provide an overall balance. Should you choose to “settle up” this balance, you can then launch either Venmo or PayPal to do so. Sadly these options don’t really integrate with Honeydue, so you’re really on your own to send the money and then just “mark as paid” when you get back to the app.
My Thoughts on Honeydue
Let me start by saying there’s a lot I like about Honeydue. More than anything I like that it encourages couples to talk about money and makes it easy to remind each other about upcoming expenses. But, at the same time, does it really get partners to talk about finance? For example, I’ll admit I do find it a bit off putting that it allows you to hide bank accounts from your significant other — transactions I understand (especially for gifts), but hiding accounts seems dubious. Similarly, although there are certainly times my wife and I elect to move money between our various accounts, the Split Expenses feature seems a little out of place in an app seemingly intended for serious couples. Then again, being married is different than cohabitating so perhaps committed couples who haven’t quite merged their financial lives entirely might have reason to use some of these features that I question.
Another nitpick I have with Honeydue is that it doesn’t allow you to create custom spending categories. Furthermore, while it does show how much you’re spending in each category, it doesn’t allow you to set an actual budget. For that functionality, I’d recommend trying Mint.
With all that said, I have found Honeydue to be helpful. Sure my wife and I pretty much have our respective billing schedules down at this point, but it’s always nice to get a reminder. Additionally there have already been transactions I didn’t understand, so it was nice to easily reach out to my wife and ask for her help figuring it out. For those reasons I foresee myself continuing to use Honeydue even if it’s not as comprehensive as some of the other personal finance apps out there.