PearBudget Online Budgeting Software Review

by Traci K. on August 23, 2010

There are a number of online budgeting software available to track your expenses and help you plan and keep track of your budget and income. One of the more popular online softwares I have run across lately is PearBudget. I am always searching for a better budgeting software, so I thought I would sign up for PearBudget and see how it worked. You get a 30 day free trial, although if you decide to keep using the software it is $3 per month. As far as these types of software go, that’s a reasonable price, although I am skeptical of the cost, especially in comparison to companies like Quicken Intuit services.

The registration for PearBudget was very simple. To start, it has you actually set up a budget by entering in categories, estimated spending amounts, and monthly income. It’s a very simple layout, and the prompts are very funny and engaging. I like the simplicity of the layout and they remind you that budgets are fluid: you can change it later and don’t need to have every bill and receipt with you right now. I would use this interface just to get a budget together, assign categories and fuss with numbers when you actually see your income compared to expenses. You can always print it off for use. Here are some screen shots from the set up process:

PearBudget.com Online Setup PearBudget.com Setup #2

Once the budget is set up, you need to sign up for a free 30 day trial in order to save your budget information. Once the very easy registration is complete (no payment information required), it asks you to enter receipts. I must admit, I was disappointed that I would have to enter everything by hand for a service that is subscription based, but there is something to be said for simplicity. I remember my dad used to budget in a notebook and he would keep track of every single purchase in that same notebook (even cash). This is a very back to basics version lay out for budgeting.

PearBudget.com Enter Receipts

Once you’ve entered in your receipts, you can view expenses versus income. The layout is again, very simple and clean. The information is easy to understand and keep track of. It’s easier to use than any other software I’ve tried, but it also requires receipts to be hand entered. I might try this for the next month as my husband and I switch to a cash system to try and control some spending bleeding. It will be more work, but it might be more helpful at managing our budget at this point in time. The expenses/receipts versus budget page looks like this:

PearBudget.com Income vs. Expenses Page

If you’re new to budgeting, if you’re used to budgeting by hand, or if the idea of using an online software that pulls information from your bank account freaks you out this software is worth a try. Keep in mind, it will cost $3 a month later. You could always switch to a spreadsheet format, but the graphical displays and history provided online might be worth the $3 if you’re not very computer savvy or if you’re a visual person.

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