Budget Management Software Options

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-07-0610

Changes in the personal finance front: many financial tools are being taken off the market. Let’s take a look at a few cases.

Not so long ago, I reported how one well-known financial site unexpectedly bit the dust: FiLife shut down its doors a couple of months back. I’ll refrain from saying that this portends the start of an unfavorable trend, since that would be just jumping the gun entirely; however, just last week I came across the stunning news (at least for us PF types) that another highly regarded personal finance site has switched off their lights.

budget management

Wesabe.com Shuts Down Account Management Features

The site in question is Wesabe, which for a while gave Mint.com a run for its money (unintentional pun). Wesabe was a great personal finance resource where you could track your money online for free, and which had a great online community for those who wanted to share their thoughts, tips and ideas on money management. So sad to see it go.

So what does this all mean? If you’re one of Wesabe’s account holders, then you only have till the end of the month to move your data out. The Wesabe.com home page now states:

You will be able to download all of your data from now until July 31st by visiting our export page. After that date, we will delete all data and all credentials we hold for security and privacy reasons. If you prefer, you may delete your membership immediately or at any time before July 31st.

There’s more about this on their blog (wait — last I checked, their blog is also out of commission at this point). Their community and group section (e.g. the forums) will remain available.

Well these changes are now bringing to light some new concerns I have about online money management. In the past, I already had some issues with the security angle of keeping your data in someone else’s public server (yes, we’ve received assurances that our data is indeed secure, but still…). Now we know of at least one more thing to worry about: if you’re using a free online tool and you entrust it with your information — maybe even building on that data over time — you become dependent on it. Now in the rare(?) instance that they pull the plug, you could be stuck porting this info elsewhere.

Not that desktop personal finance software is immune to this sort of thing. No piece of software is. Remember when MS Money got discontinued? Moving to another platform may be a less urgent matter if you’re using desktop software, but it could still be a pain if you end up having to do this. Bottom line is that the risk is there if you decide to use an online tool for your activities. Keep in mind that free services may be more vulnerable to market forces than other companies using a different business model.

Budget Management Software Options

If you’re caught in this situation with discontinued services and products and are wondering what options you have for money management, here’s a list you can check out:

Budget Tool or Software
Software Type
More Info
You Need A Budget (YNAB) Desktop No, has free trial YNAB review
Quicken Desktop Desktop No Quicken software details
SavvyMoney Pro Online No, has free trial DIY debt reduction programs
PocketSmith Online Yes, also has paid version PocketSmith review
GreenSherpa Online No, has free trial
Mint.com Online Yes Thoughts on Mint

Of course, you can also always use an Excel spreadsheet (or even a notebook or diary) for your budgeting needs. It just depends on what features you’re seeking in a tool.

Over the past several years that I’ve been covering the personal finance beat, I’ve seen lots of sites, tools and services come and go. The space is pretty dynamic, and there are always new things that come up, which makes it so exciting to be a blogger in this area. Lately though, not even those who serve up these financial resources that allow us to manage our money better, are immune to the vagaries of this long lasting recession. Oh the irony of it all.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

kt July 7, 2010 at 8:13 am

Things, people, empires businesses come and go. It is just the way of the world; the way God instituted it. One day Google, Microsoft, Walmart etc will be a distant memory and after long enough they will be dust with no one even knowing that they ever existed. The thing is, so will we. It is not just ironic, it is plain depressing.

Lucia@moneyStrands July 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

Another free web-based option is moneyStrands.com. Wesabe users who want to preserve their financial data can create a manual account in moneyStrands and import their data via a CSV file.

Rob Bennett July 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

I don’t know any of the details of these particular cases.

There’s a lot of amazing stuff on personal finance blogs and web sites. There is a wealth of material available to people that simply did not exist in the pre-internet era.

The negative that I have seen is that there is a lot of “me too” stuff in the money field. My sense is that people are afraid to take chances in the personal finance realm. Being right is a big deal and people mistake being in the mainstream with being right.

My view is that a lot of the conventional wisdom in the personal finance realm is just awful. It is causing huge economic losses. And that does cause people to lose confidence in it.

I think we need more flexibility. The flexible survive in all sorts of environments while the rigid get killed when circumstances change. I believe that we are living in fast-changing times, for good or for ill.


Jesse July 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I am a mint.com user and I am very satisfied.

Consumermiser July 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm


Very interesting read as usual. I agree that the demise of Wesabe.com raises concerns about online money management sites. Not only do you worry about your data being kept private and secure (more so if they are in finanical trouble), but now you have to be concerned about the service being around! I do like the robust list of alternatives you provided.

Fortunately for me, I use Excel, so I guess I can sleep a little better at night. However, I do worry about what this says about the state of our economy.

Dave July 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

If you want a no frills budgeting website, I use pearbudget.com

It’s very simple to use and free.

TWelch July 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I personally don’t use online personal finance sites to store my financial information precisely because of security. Sure they say it’s safe, and thieves can probably get your information in hundreds of ways, but why take the chance?

There is value in sites that offer tips and strategies on how to better manage your finances, but keeping any confidential information on these sites is a bit too risky for me.

Bryan July 11, 2010 at 11:34 am

I managed to get an account on mint and the site comes in handy. It’s nice to have a personal finance blog.

Glass Is Half July 16, 2010 at 5:27 am

I’ve had great success with a site called Calendar Budget – they have 30 day trial (which I’m still in) and then offer different plans depending on the number of accounts and categories. Discounts available for annual and bi-annual membership … so far (as mentioned i’m still in the trial) it seems to give me everything I could ask for and while it offers an import of .qfx files it doesn’t automatically synchronize with your bank account or anything like that.

Jeanette Campbell September 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

We have been using a system called “My Sister’s Budget”. We love it. It is really simple and our checking account balance is growing. They have a notebook which we used at first, but now we use their software. Check it out!

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