Like many, I want to get a handle on my budget (or lack thereof). Overall, my spending is good. I save. I don’t charge a lot that I don’t pay off monthly. I do have some old debt though that I would like to be rid of.
I have used Google docs to make a budget. I have tried a Mac application called Moneydance to download my statements and tag them. I heard of mint.com and wesabe.com. I checked out mint.com but ended up putting my life in wesabe.com.
Both touted their security features which was a major concern of mine. Both had a pleasing layout and seemed easy to use. Both have charting features which is nice to see how much of the pie *** goes to the mortgage.
Tags. Community. Those two together are a fantastic combination. Basically, if I upload my bank statement and it has 30 entries from 23104005-WAS-T-M-234133 that means nothing to me. The tool converts it to something understandable if it knows it, and it builds on other people’s input. Maybe Jane Smith uses that company too and it then becomes “Waste Management” for me and suggests tags that others have used like “bills, utilities, household” which helps me later.
Also, there’s a goal feature but I’m not too keen on it yet. I tried adding a goal of paying down the debt but it didn’t give me the carrot I was hoping for. For example, if I have 2 credit cards with one at 9% and one at 3%, I would like it to tell me to pay down the 3% and how much to pay to get it paid off by November 2009. And if I pay extra, what that does. I’ve seen these calculators elsewhere and it’d be nice to have it rolled into one. Maybe it exists and I haven’t seen it on the site.
I also like the community aspect other than the help with tagging and changing my entries into human-readable formats. There are areas for saving on lunch, home improvement, and paying down debt. The other users in the same boat as I am offer up suggestions that have worked for them.
The major reason I like it is because I can combine my one credit card and my bank statement together so that I can see all purchases of a certain type together. For example, I use the card that I pay off monthly to charge to get the points. But sometimes I have to write checks (go figure). It’s nice to see how much I spent on memberships for 2008 from both locations in one place. It’s very easy! Import. Import. Tag. Click. And there it is! Lovely.
*** Great visual calculator of what we should have pie-wise: http://www.cnbc.com/id/26641187/.