Free apps often come with the burden of having your data sold or handed off to third parties. With simplsaver, all the data is yours and only yours. Your privacy is worth everything.

When I started building a finance app, I wanted to make sure security mattered. I’ve been a technology journalist for over 15 years, and security has played a key role in what I write about, so much that I’ve built websites specifically about educating people on modern security.

This couldn’t be different. This shouldn’t be different. If anything, the very fact that it dealt with financial data meant that the security of that data — the privacy of it, basically — should be one of the most important things.

Essentially, if we could build a way for your finances to be tracked and calculated, the data needed to be with you and only with you, because leaks and breaks happen.

I’ve written about security breaches plenty of times before, and as a technology journalist, the very thought of having a security breach happen to a product I’ve conceived would destroy me. Much of my writing is about technological security in the consumer space, and companies that both charge a fee and those that don’t are often faced with the prospect of a breach, as scores of data make their way out from a hack into the real world.

The consequences can be traumatic for many, and financial information is incredibly important, so I did what I feel was right: I took simplsaver offline.

Offline and privacy-focused

At its core, simplsaver stores any data you create on your device and your device alone.

One of the first questions asked by a seasoned iPhone and iPad specialist friend was “what’s your privacy policy“, and I thought…

“I’m glad you asked: we don’t have much of one because we don’t store any data.”

Developing an app for the Apple App Store requires one, and simplsaver is an app, so it needs one, but it didn’t start with much of a privacy policy because simplsaver doesn’t store data outside of your phone.

And I don’t want your data. I want you to have your data.

Not having your data means the chance for a centralised repository of private information about finances to be hacked goes right down. All the data on you exists on your device, and your device alone, with no semblance of CloudKit involved initially (though we may later on have backups as a feature for folks who want to migrate their budgets, which will unsurprisingly change the privacy policy when we do).

It also means the app isn’t supported by selling your data to any third party, which is part and parcel of the cost of free.

The cost of free

Whether you’ve downloaded an app that said it was free with a heap of terms and conditions, or used a free website utility only to have ads pop up in your face all the time, the cost of free is one many of us have become used to. We’re all sort of trained to accept it.

The saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” failed to take into account the majesty of the internet, but it also needs to be revised with an asterisk or two.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch*”, followed by all the terms and conditions and caveats that tell you what you’re getting for free and why. Get a service and you’ll be advertised to, and that advertising and preference data, and maybe other forms of data can be used to sell you things and sold to other companies for more information about yourself and their algorithms and so on and so on.

The cost of free is that you can get something for free, but you’ll pay for it somehow.

We didn’t want that, and with simplsaver your budget isn’t up for sale. It’s on your device, not our servers. That’s intentional.

But it’s also not free.

You’ll get the first five items in your budget for free because we want you to see what the app does, and how it can take finances stored only on your device and calculate information quickly for you. It’s the fastest budget around, and for a generation of time-poor individuals like us all, that matters.

Why simplsaver is affordable

We made simplsaver cost a little bit of money to account for updates, upgrades, development time, and all that jazz. We want to make sure it can keep going and keep on helping you save money, so it has a price tag, though it’s not one that devalues your privacy like “free” often does.

But it’s also a small price tag, more like the equivalent of buying its developer one beer each year to help with explaining your budget.

The simple fact is that we made simplsaver to be affordable because explaining your budget shouldn’t necessarily be expensive.

We looked at other budget apps out in the world and thought that the often regular starting price of 30-odd bucks each year to much, much more wasn’t logical for most customers, and it wasn’t logical for me, either. I wanted an explanation of where my money went, I didn’t feel like I was getting the value needed from higher costs.

So simplsaver was born to explain budgets already happening for people that didn’t do budgets.

Apps may say that you need a budget, but if time is already preventing you from doing one, you need a budget calculator that can work out what your budget is presently doing, even if you aren’t proactively making it.

That shouldn’t be overly expensive, which is why simplsaver isn’t.