Today I start my four part series into reviewing BudgetSimple.com. Hopefully, it is true to its name! When you first log in you are asked for your primary financial goal. The choices are Eliminate Debt, Building Savings, Manage My Money, Spend Less and Other. The program states they do this so they can help with with suggestions focused on your specific goal.
The next thing you are asked to do is enter your income. It requires you to calculate your income monthly instead of bi-weekly or weekly because that is when most bills are do. I like this idea since it does make things simpler. The third general area it asked about are expenses. It lists categories such as groceries, housing, and phone service. It doesn’t have a very through list of expenses, but you can enter additional expenses and add subcategories.This area was very clear and easy to use. I only listed my known monthly expenses. I like that you can also account for what they call “periodic expenses,” like things that might be figured quarterly or yearly like vehicle registrations.
The next screen in the setup shows you several slider bars and recommends you move the sliders so that your income and expenses balance out. I was a little confused this function. I thought this might be useful after your transactions are added so you could see if what you budgeted was actually what you spent. This might be helpful after a month of budget and have a better idea what you actual expenses are, instead of a rough estimate I understand they are trying to get you to balance your budget, but it seems like this feature come in too early in the budgeting process. However, I do like the fun and ease of use in the slider concept instead of re-entering all of your expense data.
Once all your expense and income information has been entered, it gives you a really nice, clear listing of this data. It’s not overly complicated. It’s very easy to glace at and get an idea about your budget. It also creates a pie chart with your expense information. This was helpful so that you could visually connect with what percent of your budget is going to what expenses.
So far I am pretty impressed with the simplicity of the program. They do have an upgraded version that will allow you to connect to your bank accounts for an additional fee. But so far there is no other factors of this program that are limited. One other feature I really like is the BudgetSimple tips. Based on the goal that you entered in the beginning of the program. A flag is placed next to an expense to signal you to a tip concerning a goal in that category. For example if you selected Spend Less as a overall goal, it gives you suggestions on how it spend less on groceries by using coupons (with a link to Coupons.com) or shopping thru Amazon or Costco). Ok, these are kind of advertisements, but I still think the information was useful and not intrusive. It took me all of 10 minutes to enter my expenses and income (most of that was looking up my expense information) So far this program is meeting one of my core needs of simplicity and ease of us. Next week I will enter my transactions and start seeing where my money is going.