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The best online personal finance tool

When it comes to keeping up with where you spend your money, there are a whole lot of options out there.  Some of the old school among us still use the register in our checkbooks.  That’s right, kids, some people still carry checkbooks (and I remember what a register is).  All kidding aside, there has never been an easier time to be financially responsible than in the 21st century.  The main reason for this is a long list of personal finance websites that make it super easy to keep up with exactly where your money is going.  Maybe the hardest part these days is just deciding which website to use!

There are more than a few websites out there that aim to make it easier for you to stay on top of your spending habits.  Rather than having a really long post that details the pluses and minuses of all of these different websites, I’ve decided to break it into a few posts.  Not only will this be easier to read, but it should also make it easier to find what is the best tool for you.  At this point in time I plan on reviewing four five personal finance websites:, Geezeo, Quicken Online, Buxfer, and Mint.

Before I get started, I think it is only fair for me to give you some insight into my personal finance experience thus far.  For the past couple of years I have been a very loyal user of Buxfer.  When I started with Buxfer, it was very similar to Mint.  One major difference that I really liked was how easy I was able to rename and tag my transactions and then look at detailed reports based on these tags.  Mint liked to tag things for you automatically and I preferred having the extra control that Buxfer offered.  Lately, I’ve been a little disconcerted with the direction that Buxfer has been taking (I’ll go further into that in an upcoming post), so I decided it was time to look around and make sure I’m using the best tool available.

So let’s begin very quickly with  It does not take long to notice something that clearcheckbook is missing.  Unlike the other three websites that I will be reviewing, clearcheckbook does not allow you to download transactions directly from your bank’s website.  You are forced to either enter your transactions one by one or import them from a document (QIF, OFX, etc).  Quite frankly, this reason alone is enough to keep me from using  That said, when I signed up, I noticed a field for a “project code”.  The description for this field says “if you were given a special code to enter for a class or project, please enter it below. This will allow you to compare your spending with fellow classmates or group members.”  So it looks like this tool is probably aimed at helping students learn fiscal responsibility in a classroom setting.

In closing, I should say that I was very pleased with the clean design that clearcheckbook offers.  I feel like there is some potential with the reporting tools although they do appear to be very basic at this point in time.  When it comes to teaching students how to be responsible spenders, I think it could be very valuable to make them enter transactions one at a time.  This puts more emphasis each transaction.  Basically, if you are a teacher looking for a way to teach financial responsibility you might want to take a closer look at freecheckbook.  Otherwise, there may be better tools out there.

In the next post I will take a close look at Geezeo.

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