In the second week of my EveryDollar review, I’m going to try my hand at entering some transactions. With summer winding down and school about to start it seems I have been spending more then I recollected on haircuts, uniforms and supplies (school supplies are killing my budget.) Anyhow, because I had not logged on since last weekend, I wasn’t even sure how to add a transaction. So I went the “help center” which gave me super short, easy directions.
It was pretty similar to all the other sites I have reviewed so far. You enter the amount, the date of the transactions, the merchant you made the transaction with and what category you would like it to come out of. One interesting feature that I don’t recall seeing before, was an option to split the transactions between different categories. I can see where this would come in handy when you go to a big box store such as Wal-Mart or Target. Where you can buy groceries and housewares in the same purchase. On my budget these would be two separate categories so it is helpful to account for them this way.
If you wrote out a check you can also denote the check number and add notes about the check under “more options,” This might be helpful for others but I write few checks and when I do it is for reoccurring charges such as the water bill. So I probably wouldn’t take the time to use this feature.
Once all of the transactions are entered you can see them listed on the side bar under the transactions column. Likewise, the amounts of these transactions are subtracted from their respective categories leaving you with an adjusted amount in your remaining balance column. This is nice, clear and to the point. You spent that much and you have this much left.
I only have two issues with the transactions entry process. The first is the pop-up ads. As I was entering my first transaction, an ad popped up asking if I would like to upgrade to EveryDollar Plus. That is fine. It’s a free service and I expect a few adds from time to time. However, it happened with the next few transactions. Even though I did not like the pop-ups. They did have a point. One stated, “this would go faster if you had Every Dollar Plus.” Ok, I will give them that one. It did take a while to enter each transaction and would be much more convenient to import them from my bank to the program. Even thought I thought the ads were annoying, I did see the point in them.
The second issue I have with the transaction entry is the listing of the transactions. The sidebar is neat, searchable and to the point, but it is a side bar. It is removed from your main budget. It would have been more helpful to have your transaction listed out under each category so you can get a better idea of what merchants you are spending the most money at.
For example my grocery budget is always thru the roof. It is usually filled with little $20 transactions here and there throughout the week. It would be nice to be able to list out how much I was actually spending under the grocery category at say, Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s, so I can see if I can limit my shopping trips to these places.
Other than these two issues, I do like the program so far. It is very simple and straight forward. It gives you a very clear picture of what you think you are spending (Planned) and what you are really spending (Remaining). Next week, I will explore the special features available with this program.