Soulver - The Perfect Expenses App

In an ongoing effort to track (and hopefully curb) my expenditures, I’ve tried a slew of expense tracking apps. Each however presented some form of imitation or simply wasn’t what I needed - an easy, ubiquitous and flexible way of tracking some earnings and expenses.

Apps such as Spendee1, Cost or Moni (to name just a few) are beautiful and functional. They allow for quick capture and some even spoil you with recurring expenses, reports and graphs. Unfortunately, they’re only available for the iPhone, and while it’s almost always with me, there are times when I’d prefer to work on the Mac or iPad.

The obvious solution would be to use something along the lines of Moneywiz or Money. Both have iOS and Mac apps but truth be told, I’m a cheapskate and therefore rather not spend that extra cash. Instead I chose to leverage apps I already have and love.

Soulver To The Rescue

(image: soulver-the-perfect-expenses-app_1.png)

Soulver is a clever merge between a plain text editor and a spread sheet (check out the videos on their site). It’s flexibility and the fact that there’s an app for each platform, makes it perfect for my humble needs.

Here are just a few of the things that I love about Soulver and make it great for my particular needs:

The only thing missing - to make this ideal, was a quick and easy way of capturing expenses. Fortunately, the latest update2 to Soulver introduced URL Schemes3 allowing two of my favourite apps to join the party, Launch Centre Pro and Drafts.

The Actions

(image: soulver-the-perfect-expenses-app_2.png)

There are three apps involved in this little workflow, I could cut it down to two, but I’d loose extra information and formatting afforded me by Drafts.

As an example, let’s tackle my iTunes expenses. I don’t have a credit card associated with my account, instead I use gift cards. Therefore, I need an easy way of controlling my current balance.

I have two actions for this, a debit and a credit action. I could just use one, but then I’d need to constantly add a “-” for debits - which I’d rather avoid.

iTunes Expense (Debit)

Launch Centre Pro Action

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[prompt-num]%0A[prompt]&action={{iTunes Expense}}

The %0A inserts a new line character, so I’ll end up with a new Draft comprised of two lines, a value and a note. This in turn will trigger a Drafts action which then adds some extra text and sends it all off to Souver.

Drafts Action

soulver://new?title={{iTunes Purchases}}&text=%2D[[line|1]]{{      //}}[[line|2]]{{ on }}[[date|%d-%m-%Y]]

Taphere to install this action.

Alternatively, and much safer too, you can add the following action already URL encoded.

soulver://new?title={{iTunes Purchases}}&text=%2D[[line|1]]%20%E2%82%AC%09%2F%2F[[line|2]]%20on%20[[date|%d-%m-%Y]]

Taphere to install this action.

Let’s break this down a little shall we:

iTunes Credit

Launch Centre Pro

drafts://x-callback-url/create?text=[prompt-num]%0A[prompt]&action={{iTunes Credit}}

The credit workflow is a little different for me. I don’t really need to add extra information and therefore I only have one prompt in LCP, and that’s for a value. The rest of the information can be added by Drafts.

Drafts Action

soulver://new?title={{iTunes Purchases}}&text=[[line|1]]{{    //Recharged account on }}[[date|%d-%m-%Y]]

Tap here to install this action.

Once again, here’s the very same action, just URL encoded

soulver://new?title={{iTunes Purchases}}&text=[[line|1]]%E2%82%AC%20%20%20%20%2F%2FRecharged%20account%20on%20[[date|%d-%m-%Y]]

Tap here to install this action.

The Advantages

Now this may seem as a very convoluted workflow, and I’ll admit, it’s not as pretty as using some of the other apps, but it is extremely flexible and adaptable. The fact that I can also use Text Expander Touch in LCP or Drafts makes for inputting repetitive notes a breeze. Last but no least - It’s fun to hack!

Here’s a quick video of the workflow in action, just for your viewing pleasure.

  1. This post uses affiliate links. Thank you for your support. 

  2. Has a nasty bug when syncing with Dropbox, but a fix is already in the works. 

  3. Still a little limited, but a great start nonetheless.