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Updated on Friday, November 4, 2016
With all the money management apps and tools out there, it can be difficult to figure out which one might work best for you. Everyone’s situation is different, and every money management app and tool serves a different audience. That’s why we have put together a comprehensive review of Buxfer, one of the money management apps that’s gained a lot of traction.
What It DoesAccording to it's website, Buxfer’s mission is to help people make better spending decisions. They want to provide a product that is flexible and adaptable to users’ needs, including providing actionable advice to help them plan for the future.
Like many money management tools out there, Buxfer allows you to sync data from your bank and credit card accounts. Over 10,000 financial institutions are supported. An offline feature allows you to sync without needing to store your banking username and password on the Buxfer server.
Buxfer also allows you to add manual transactions and upload bank statements and files from Quicken and Microsoft Excel.
Transactions are not automatically categorized in predetermined categories the way they are in many money management apps. Instead, Buxfer allows you to create your own tags, including attaching multiple tags to one transaction, or creating sub-tags within larger tags. After you have established these tags, you can specify automatic tagging “rules” to help new transactions be automatically tagged when accounts are synced.
When your account syncs or manual transactions are added, real-time advice and mobile alerts may be generated to help you avoid overspending, or to alert you if you’ve already gone over one of the budgets you created in Buxfer.
Buxfer can help you set weekly, monthly, or yearly spending limits and reminders for upcoming bills. And pro users can also project future expenses based on previous spending and earning patterns.
Another unique feature Buxfer offers is the ability to create IOUs to track bills and expenses between family and friends. This could be an especially helpful feature if you split bills with roommates or often split the check for meals at restaurants. It could also be used to track reimbursements for small businesses. Pro users have the ability to send money via PayPal to settle up with friends for IOUs.
How Much It Costs
A basic account on Buxfer is free and includes bank syncing for up to five accounts, unlimited transactions, shared bills and IOUs, five budgets, and five bill reminders.
The next step up is a Plus account for $3.99 per month when billed annually. This allows you to sync with unlimited accounts, an unlimited number of budgets, and unlimited bill reminders.
A Pro account is $4.99 per month when billed annually and includes advanced reports, forecasting, online payments for IOUs, and automatic backups of your information.
Pros and Cons
- Pro: Categorization of expenses is very flexible, which is unique from many other apps and budget software options.
- Con: Expenses are not automatically “tagged” unless users set rules.
- Pro: The cost of a basic account to try the service is free. If you don’t need additional features, you won’t have to pay for the app.
- Con: Upgraded accounts can cost nearly $60 per year.
- Pro: IOUs offer the ability to split expenses with roommates, friends, or family.
- Con: Many of the more useful features of Buxfer require a paid account.
- Pro: Real-time alerts can help you avoid overspending your budgets.
- Con: Many of the reports in Buxfer cannot be exported, and backing up data may be difficult if you don’t have a pro account with automatic backups.
How It Stacks Up Against Competitors
As mentioned, there are many money management apps and tools available today.
Mint is one of the most popular apps for budgeting. It’s 100% free for users, and like Buxfer, it allows synchronization to bank accounts and credit cards. However, many users have reported problems with the syncing features over the past several months. Many of the helpful hints shown on Mint are actually ads. These ads may be promoting products and services that are not the right fit for you.
Mvelopes is another budgeting app that operates off the idea of the cash envelope system popularized by Dave Ramsey. Mvelopes allows users to create up to 25 different envelopes, which are similar to the “budgets” and “tags” in Buxfer.
Although users can have unlimited tags in Buxfer, they can only have five budgets with the free account. These budgets are how alerts are created to track spending and help you avoid overspending. Like Buxfer, the basic version of Mvelopes is free, but the premium version costs $95 per year. This is significantly more than the almost $60 per year for Buxfer’s Pro account.
Who Buxfer Is Best For
Buxfer works best if you split expenses with roommates, friends, or family on a regular basis and need a way to track these transactions. It could also work well if you only struggle with spending in a small number of categories since only five budgets with real-time alerts are available with the free account.
Buxfer’s forecasting is another great feature, but it’s only available if you have a Pro account. However, the cost of a Pro account is less expensive than some other money management apps available.