Friday, March 21, 2008

Pear Budget

I just discovered Pear Budget - and I love it!

I think it could be the answer to all the problems I have had trying to track my family's expenses. It is very simple. There are basically three parts.

1. Plan Your Budget - this is where you enter your budget categories and the amounts. It is very flexible and allows you to name your categories any way you'd like.

2. Enter Your Receipts - this is where you can track your spending. Just go through and enter all your the bills you paid on line. Then enter all receipts for items you purchased. As you enter each item, you will be prompted to select one of the categories from the budget you set up. It's great! The categories will match your categories exactly, because you choose them!

3. Review Your Spending - this is where you get to compare your actual spending to your budget. If you go over in a category, it will show a negative amount - you can click on the category (like "misc") and it will show a list of all the expenses you entered with that label. It is really great for finding out "where you went wrong".

Pear Budget is currently in the beta phase and is free (no charge) during this period. Once the beta phase is over there will be a fee of $3 per month.

So far I think it seems like just what I have been looking for. I'll keep you posted! (At the end of the month I'll be able to post about how close our actual spending was to our budget!)