Vicki Robin

Which web-based tracking programs do you recommend?

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2009 at 4:52 PM

A woman emailed yesterday to ask if we could recommend any web-based programs to track spending.  Vicki addressed this issue in an earlier blog post entitled “Tools to Track By” which cites a Christian Science Monitor article that discusses a few of the various sites.  I was also interviewed on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” a few weeks ago on this topic.  The most popular of the sites is Mint.com which claims to have more users than all of its competitors combined.  Our primary concern with all of these sites is that, while they may make it easier to budget, they do little to help users change their spending habits.  As any reader of Your Money or Your Life knows, asking oneself basic questions such as “Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?” almost invariably lead to significant spending adjustments which dramatically reduce expenses and increase satisfaction about each purchase.  Word is that Mint.com is receptive to moving beyond just tracking to help users ask bigger questions so we will soon be contacting the company in hopes that they will incorporate some of the Your Money or Your Life philosophy into their upcoming changes.  Do you use any web-based programs to track your spending?  What have you liked or not liked about the system you’re using?  Or do you prefer a less high-tech method?

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  1. Hi Vicki,

    I researched mint, geezio, and several others a year ago. One obstacle I encountered was that the only assets they tracked were associated with financial institutions; they had no provision for dealing with fixed assets like real estate, or receivables. The inability to account completely for net worth was a deal-killer for me.

    I also find that there is such a thing as too much automation. There is a point of diminishing return. I’m still recommending Quicken because it tracks net worth completely and has excellent budget reporting tools, when used intelligently.

    (Unfortunately, in Quicken the budget report defaults on the Advanced tab are set to “budgeted only” instead of “non-zero actual.” This default setting omits budget-busting, unexpected expenses.)

    I am sure things have changed since I did my research, but there it is. Hope it helps.

    Kris Freeberg
    Making End$ Meet

  2. Money Pants was nice. I remeber it. I lauged at the name but then actualy checked it out and enjoyed it.

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