In the third week of my review of BudgetSimple.com, I’m going to take a look at all the bells and whistles that make this program unique and assess whether they will actually be useful in budgeting. I will start at the top. The right-hand top of the main page that is. There you will find four icons. The “Budget” icon we have already discussed in the set-up and data entry portion of the review. The next two are “Reports” and “Tools,” these two areas seem to offer some different views on how to analysis your budget information.
Under the “Reports” icon you will find four different sections. The first two offer pie charts which breakdown your spending for the month and for the year. For those visual learners, I thought this was a fantastic way to get a handle on what purchases and expense make use what percentage of your budget. This information is also listed out in case pie charts are not your cup of tea. But really, who doesn’t like pie.
I really like this function. It is colorful, easy to read and easy to understand at a glance. I also thought the spending by year is a useful feature for assessing your end of year goals regarding spending. However, it doesn’t do much good if you are assessing your goals monthly, which is how the site is geared.
There is also a nice bar graph showing your income to expenses. This is great to see, at a glace, if your expenses are outpacing your income. This last free report is a year to date summary, listing all the amounts spent for each category to date. This would be helpful if you are trying to reach a specific spending goal, like reducing grocery expense or increase savings. There are other reports available for an additional fee. However, since these were blocked so I did not get a good idea of what they offered.
The “Tools” icon was the next option. This was not too involved with only two options available.The first is a “Debt Payoff Tool.” This is my favorite option so far and for me, I think it would be the most useful. Here you can list your debits, credit card and otherwise, the APR and the current balance.
Here you can play around with how much increasing your payment will pay off the debits sooner. This also assumes that you are not adding to the debit, if so you have to adjust the balance. This gives you a very simple clear idea of how much you would have to pay in order to get yourself out of debit quicker.
The second feature is a “Savings Fund” this works similar to the “Debt Payoff Tool” in that you can set a target date to work towards. You enter the type of category your are saving for, the current amount saved, your total goal for the savings and the target date. I really love how both these two features quantify your goals in a very simple fashion. They are easy to track, easy to understand, and simply identify your goals in each area.
Although, Budget Simple is well… simple, I really love the simplicity of the Tools and Reports. This is more along the lines of what I am looking for. An at a glace assessments of spending and goals. Next week I will give my summary review of the entire program.