Reviewing various financial products is something that I enjoy, so this week I checked out the PearBudget. It seems to be quite a popular item on the internet and those that use it love it, but I wanted to offer you an impartial review. So I began my own analysis of PearBudget to see how easy it was to use, did it cost anything, and would I recommend it? Well, first of all it is free for 30 days then it costs $4.95 a month which is not too bad. The nice thing was that I did not have to enter my credit card information to try it out.
Their welcome was very well done, concise, and easy to read. It placed importance on the short amount of time to maintain your budget using their system. They also explained that a budget is not perfect when you get started which I find to be a key point in countering frustration when you first start budgeting.
As you begin, PearBudget asks you to pick desired categories out of a suggested list. You can also easily add your own or modify their titles to fit your own need. I changed “water bill” to “salt/water filters” since we are on a well. It was as easy as typing over their title which automatically replaced it with what I typed. You then choose whether each category is monthly or irregular. In other words, do you pay this bill each month? Or on a yearly or quarterly basis? You then enter all your monthly items based on a per month amount or average. After that, you enter your irregular items on a yearly amount which they then divide out by the amount you would be setting aside each month. Then you enter your income. Finally you review your budget and then either choose to start your free 30 day trial, to subscribe, or to delete your test. At this review point, it was also really easy to add new categories if you realized you missed something or want to split a category into two.
Once you set up your account of which I choose the free trial, then you can enter your receipts. Enter the date, amount, choose category, and add any additional needed details such as where and for what. You can also split one receipt that you purchased various items under different categories on. Then you can go to the analysis page where you can review each category, your monthly budgeted amount, what you have spent, and what you have remaining. They also offer what they call a “Go Card” which are wallet sized cards with your available balance at the time of printing. You can print this any time. I of course only tried PearBudget for the review; however, I would assume each month your balance in the categories would grow by the new deposit. I cannot promise that as you would only learn that over a longer time of usage.
So in conclusion, do I like the PearBudget or not? Yes, I do like their program. The $5 a month is not a bad price to pay. Will I personally switch to using it? No, I have an Excel spreadsheet that I have been using for about four years now which in fact is very similar to the PearBudget; however, I have set up category details for my main categories where I have a mini checkbook ledger that I keep. This allows me to know my balance all the time, not just when I’m at the computer. But overall, I do like the PearBudget. How about you? Have you tried it?