Managing Money with Buxfer

As a family in the early stages of buying a home, we've become very budget-focused. We're examining our spending, getting a better handle on what's essential and what can be trimmed. The foundation of all this is accurate accounting: if you aren't tracking spending, you don't know where you can cut back. Bills are easy to track, but it's the small purchases that add up and cause trouble. A $3 coffee might seem insignificant, but have one every other day for a month and that's nearly $50 down the drain.

Years ago, Ultrasoft CheckBook was my go-to application for balancing my checking register. I always had my Palm and the application's UI was superb, and no transaction was left by the wayside. Recently Charlotte and I tried a simple Google Docs spreadsheet; it was functional but featureless, and we fell out of the habit.

A recent search in Delicious brought me to Buxfer almost immediately. I'll admit I haven't shopped around, but Buxfer is almost exactly what I would have created had I created my own transaction register. A quick rundown of the killer features:

  • Transaction splitting, with an awesome UI that handles the math for you
  • Upcoming (and, optionally, recurring) transactions that show up in your dashboard, on your calendar, and can create transactions automatically when they're due (a godsend for automatic withdrawls)
  • Login via OpenID, Facebook, AOL, Google ID, etc. (cool)
  • Transactions via Twitter or email (I'm using this to add new debits via SMS)
  • API for everything (JSON and XML responses, plus PNG for graphs)
  • RSS feed of transactions and alerts
  • Free for basic use, with extra features available for $2-3 monthly

Pretty great, so far. The Twitter integration is key for my usage: I use my phone to direct message @bux and the debit is there for cleanup next time I log in. For those with beefier phones, they have two mobile versions: iPhone and Mobile, depending on your capabilities.

I think this is the app I've been waiting for.

Screenshots up next. Note that some of these are from the free demo site.

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