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Is Balancing the Checkbook Passe?

September 2nd, 2009 at 01:44 pm

I've been balancing the checkbook every month since I was in college. First on paper and then (thank goodness) with Quicken and now Microsoft Money. The process is tedious and since I've never found a bank error - somewhat useless. I have never used most of the features those programs offered, except for an occasional report for taxes or to clarify a particular set of expenses. I found the budgeting tools to be wildly inaccurate for us -either that, or I never managed to put in the information correctly.

Now I find out that the cutting edge in household fiscal management is to use free on-line services to manage your accounts and budgets. Pretty charts and graphs plus paid for advertisers suggest improvements to your existing financial strategy.

I've looked at mint.com and thrive.com. Is anyone using those services? Are they useful/dangerous/or just time wasters? Is there any practical reason to continue hand entering transactions into Money?

4 Responses to “Is Balancing the Checkbook Passe?”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I balance all of my checking accounts monthly and I have found bank errors also. I do it the old fashioned way, by hand and I have several accounts.

  2. Nika Says:

    I'm using mint.com. I love it. Once you set it up (setting up can be a bit of a pain, you have to remember all passwords and security questions).

    However, when you are done, it is amazing. Every time you log in it pulls all transactions from all accounts (checking, savings, investments, credit cards, whatever you have...) and you can view everything at once. Either chronologically or by account, or by category of spending. You can assign something a category. It can send you reminders and alerts.

    If you want to see all your restaurant spending, or all spending at a particular merchant, or all gasoline purchases.... Makes it very easy to track and estimate the true averages.

    I think it is very cool.

    Another cool thing is that Mint does not use your name -- you only enter user name and passwords, so my husband and I both have all our accounts registered in one Mint account. That way we can see entire financial and spending picture for the HOUSEHOLD in one place. I love seeing all financial transactions in one place, not just mine or just his.

  3. ralph Says:

    I lost control of balancing my checkbook YEARS ago. Now I use Quickenonline and it works a lot like the description of Mint above - pretty good. They dropped the monthly charge of a few bucks about a year or so ago.

  4. MomEsq Says:

    I put everything into Mint and into Thrive -and Mint looks like the better fit for us. I'm going to try and skip the checkbook balancing this month and see how it goes. It's been very very difficult to manage all the finances, the kids, the job and the house -and I'm always filled with stress and a kind of shame as to all the receipts hanging around and waiting to be entered into the computer.

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