I‘ve been writing about finance for many years now, having trudged through the many reviews of online software to help consumers budget. Quicken has always been my software of choice, but I have to say that as of today, I’ll be using HelloWallet for all of my budgeting needs. This software may be a bit more expensive than others, but the quality and functionality is the best I’ve seen and used.
Oddly enough, I hadn’t heard about HelloWallet until stumbling upon them through word of mouth from a friend just a few days ago. I was expecting to see an undeveloped raw website that still had a lot of work to do. Hesitant to pay $8.95 a month, I signed up anyway and will show you why I like them so much, and why I think you should scrap Quicken, Mint.com and all of the others (if you can afford to do so).
No Advertisements or Sales Pitches
In life, you get what you pay for. While using Mint.com is the cheapest way to control your budget, it includes a ton of advertisements and up-sells in order to keep the doors open. The refreshing part of spending money to use HelloWallet is that it is 100% advertisement free. No banner advertisements around the outside, no pop-up boxes or windows that require you to select “no thanks”. Every page of the website has a contact box to reach the staff at HelloWallet and nothing else.
Adding Accounts and Transactions
I spent just over an hour and was able to add every financial account I had, minus one. The only problem I ran into during the upload of new accounts was the addition of my American Express Personal Savings bank account. When adding, I received the following error message:
It’s nice to know that the problem in adding this account is on their end, and I’ll check back in a few days and provide an update to readers when the problem is resolved.
Should a user of HelloWallet not have accounts listed but want specific transactions added, that can be done fairly easily, too. Select the “transaction” tab in your header navigation and you should be able to click on a box that says “add transaction.” Here’s a quick peek at what this looks like:
After you’ve added accounts and income to your HelloWallet account, the next step is to start mapping out your budget. There are a variety of account classifications already built into the software, but if you require a few of your own, those can be added, too.
To give you an example of how the budget section of HelloWallet is broken down, take a look at this sample budget summary shown after you select this tab in your navigation header:
The list of debts and credit continues down the page depending on how many accounts and monthly payments you decide to add. If an expense you’ve added is not in your monthly budget, HelloWallet will ask you if you want to add this to your permanent monthly budget, which is a nice feature.
In addition to the features I’ve mentioned above, HelloWallet does a great job of providing a look into the future as well as keep you abreast of your current goals.
- Plan – This section of the software allows users to look ahead at their future based on current scenarios, debts and earnings. Because I paid my estimated taxes in January of 2012, I’m told I would spend more than $5 million in expenses before I retire, so I’ll be sure to square that up.
- Goals – Although I haven’t added any yet, this feature is somewhat self explanatory. Any user can log-in and add goals that HelloWallet will track. The process to add a goal is a bit lengthy (seven steps), but the more this software can learn about you, the better it will be in helping you achieve your financial goals.
- Trends – I enjoy looking at what I’ve spent month-to-month and this is the section of the site that spells out exactly that. I can flag any purchase I’ve made and compare my trends vs. my income and/or my budget
By now I guess you can tell how much I’ve enjoyed using this software, albeit for a few hours. The only issue I ran into was adding one of my savings accounts and I immediately filed an email with their support staff, which I hope will be returned promptly. The look and functionality of HelloWallet is the best I’ve come across and even though the cost is $8.95 a month, it’s something I will continue to use for a long time. Mint.com, YNAB and Quicken are still a little too clunky for me and from what I’ve experienced so far, HelloWallet offers unparalleled flexibility.
- Visit HelloWallet.com to start managing your budget with ease.