BudgetPulse is a new financial management service in closed beta that aims to simplify the way you manage your money and track budgets. It allows you to manage multiple accounts and track income, expenses, assets, bills, and more. Additionally, BudgetPulse lets you set goals which assists you in tracking and recording how much money you spend over certain durations of time. (weeks, months, years, etc.)
To get an account up and running, head over to the accounts area in the tracking section. You can add an account and set its opening balance, then start adding expenses, sources of income, and recurring payments like bills. BudgetPulse also allows you to make a money transfer from one account to another like real banking. Additionally, you can categorize each transaction you add to an account so BudgetPulse can later group the transactions and base them against your budget goals. Expect to type out the category every time you add a transaction though as BudgetPulse does not pre-populate your list of your categories for you.
As you’ve probably guessed, BudgetPulse helps you create and track budgets on the expenses your make. It groups up each expense by the categories you create and allows you to set a specific budget amount to an expense category. So, for example, if I were to add a couple transactions with the category, “entertainment”, BudgetPulse will show that category in the budgets area and allow me to set a budget amount to it. It will then display a simple bar that compares how much I have actually spent on entertainment and what I have budgeted. At default, it bases the data on a months time, but you can set a date range at the top.
After getting some data into BudgetPulse, you can view charts and summaries on your financial activity. The charts are especially useful because just seeing your expenses visually can be a real eye-opener and help you better plan for the future. There are three different charts: Expense allocation (pie chart), monthly expenses shown by day (line graph), and monthly expenses shown by month (bar graph). The BudgetPulse summary section allows you to view each transaction category and narrow down into each category showing totals of the last four months and the overall difference of your income and expenses.
With many other personal finance services out there, where does BudgetPulse stand? BudgetPulse offers a nice set of features, though I found the interface a bit clunky and ran into some small bugs here and there (mostly when submitting a form with invalid information or nothing at all). However, I did like the ability to quickly search through all of my transactions. I also liked the summary overview and the budgets area where you can assign budget amounts to specific categories of transactions. On the down side, you cannot export or import data, but that’s said to be in development for BudgetPulse’s public beta, along with other features like a calendar, mobile access, and SSL encryption. As it stands, I’m going to continue using my favorite money manager for the mac, Cha-Ching, but I am interested in seeing the public beta release of BudgetPulse. I have noticed some changes to BudgetPulse since I first started testing too, which is always a good sign.