SoftwarePersonal finance software
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Robust and useful mobile sync options
Very easy to use
Sync with 10,000+ banks
Limited reporting options
Limited support options
Buxfer is one of the easiest to use out of all the online personal accounts packages, yet it remains impressive in its scope and the number of features. The fresh, intuitive interface allows you to see clearly your net worth, budget balance, income and expenses in a quick glance. Dig deeper with reporting, and edit your budget on the move with an integrated mobile app. Buxfer is great for helping organize your household budget.
A young, innovative Californian company, Buxfer has developed a personal finance package with some interesting, and useful, features.
Buxfer offers a free version (BASIC) of its personal accounting software although the feature set is somewhat limited. The next level up, which as well as unlimited transactions, shared bills and IOUs, and basic reports, also includes unlimited budgets and unlimited bill reminders, is PLUS - $3.99 per month, billed annually. PRO - $4.99 per month, billed annually, includes advanced reports, a forecast tool, online payments, and automatic back-ups.
Buxfer is cloud based so you can access your accounts from anywhere and don’t need to install software on your computer.
With Buxfer you sync your bank with your Buxfer program and transactions from your bank – or banks – are automatically downloaded to Buxfer. Buxfer says it works with any bank or credit card worldwide, and over 130 currencies are supported. Or you can manually upload the statements that your bank generates online. You can also upload files or bank statements from financial software packages or MS Money, Quicken, or other files. The sync happens without having to store your online banking password anywhere on the Buxfer server, which makes the system more secure. In addition you can manually add transactions and categorize them by hand.
In order to keep track of where your money is going you need to create a budget. Buxfer allows you to set simple budgets. To set up a budget you choose which categories you want to include, and the spending limit in each category as well as an overall spending limit. The spending limits can be set per week, month, or year. When you input transactions you tag them by category type and the software automatically records where the money goes and calculates where you are over- or under-spending. You can easily edit your budget as you go through the month. You can choose to “rollover" the remainder of any budget that you haven’t spent into the next month. Buxfer provides useful tools to set and – hopefully – stick to simple household and business budgets.
If you want to know when you’re about to get into financial trouble, opt for the text message alert when you overspend on your budget. Or try to be a little proactive and add reminders for notable items such as your rent or paycheck. You can set up a reminder on a recurring basis or have it send you an email notification.
The budget interface is cleverly color-coded to show you the amount left in each particular category. When you are below budget the category turns green. As you approach the spending limit it turns orange. Anything over the limit turns the category red.
One particularly useful tool included in the Buxfer package is “Forecasts”. The forecast tool looks at the spending you are doing and your average income in order to predict how your finances will look in the future.
Buxfer doesn’t offer particularly strong reporting options, and compared to other programs the reports you can use are minimal. There are essentially three report types: Expenses, Income, and Net Worth. You’ll probably use these reports once or twice, and they are simply pie charts. There is also a line chart that helps you compare spending in past and present months, and a bar chart for recording income and expenses. These are standard reports and nothing special. It is also fairly difficult to use the reports feature as switching between report tabs it isn’t clear which report you are looking at.
The one thing that is useful is the tagging structure that lets you organize your expenditure in any way you like, including adding sub tags nesting in other tags, so it is easy to see where you are spending the most money.
Unfortunately you cannot export these reports to any other device or print them, but you can save a backup copy of the transactions to your Dropbox account.
Buxfer includes an add-on mobile app for Android and Apple. With the mobile app you can do everything you would do on a PC – access your budgets, add transactions, monitor your spending, check reports like expenses and net worth, view your forecasts, and edit tags and categories. You don’t have to have Dropbox with this program, but you can store automatic backups in Dropbox if you already have an account with the cloud storage system.
A slightly different mobile feature – with Buxfer you can share expenses and keep a tally on who has spent what among, for example, a group of friends or housemates. Everyone has to sign up to Buxfer, however, but it can be a good way to split bills, record payments, and send money to people without having to go to the ATM. You could also use the shared expenses feature for claiming small business expenses or keeping track of spending for a club or association.
The mobile app for Buxfer is generally useful although it can be a little slow to response which is not great when you are on the move.
Security is given a great deal of prominence by Buxfer developers. Not only is there 128-bit encryption between your browser and their server, there is also 256-bit encryption for any data stored on their server. The whole system is PCI compliant to a set of security standards, endorsed and developed by major credit card providers. Daily scans are carried out by security firms. And because your banking passwords and usernames are not stored anywhere on the Buxfer system, it’s automatically safer.
Help & Support
Buxfer doesn't have the same community feel as YNAB, and there are fewer resources online to help you out with your money management - most of the help topics are technical and related to how to use the software, rather than information about managing your money, or how to set budgets. That said, there are plenty of FAQs to help you manage the various aspects of the software. Unfortunately there is no way to directly contact Buxfer – at least, nothing we saw on the website - no forums and no discussion groups.
Buxfer is an extremely easy to use online platform you can be up and running with in no time. With a comprehensive feature set and an integrated mobile app, Buxfer offers all you need to handle your household or small business budget.
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