Dave Ramsey’s team made a big splash into the financial software market last month, joining the likes of Mint.com, You Need A Budget, and Quicken to offer their own personal finance software.

Meet EveryDollar, primarily a budgeting tool with a module to help you track your progress through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  Nancy and I have used it for the last two budgets that we’ve created.  Like any software, it’s got a learning curve, but I’ve found it to be fairly intuitive.

The name, EveryDollar, comes from Dave Ramsey’s instruction on how to create a budget.  He regularly says, “When creating a budget, you’ve got to give every dollar a name, on paper, on purpose, before the month begins.”

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This part is vital to having success with budgeting.  If plan your budget, but then have “extra” left over after you budget for your expenses, that “extra” is going to get up and run away!  You’re not going to make any progress with it!  You’re going to wonder where that money went, over and over again.   You won’t save it, pay debt with it, or achieve goals with it, because money without a plan and purpose inevitably gets frittered away; it’s just how it works!

After a few months of using EveryDollar, I think it’s certainly worth consdieration if you are looking for an effective software to help manage your budget!

Pros:

It’s free.  For a quick, simple budget-management software, for someone looking to save some money, EveryDollar free can’t be beat.  Quicken for Mac costs $75.  You Need A Budget costs $60.  Mint.com is free, but you’re going to see a lot of ads.  That being said, all of these have features that the free version of EveryDollar does not, the main one being the ability to import transactions directly from your bank account.

mobile_phoneGreat mobile companion app.  While the mobile app’s features will continue to increase, it offers a good way to view, manage, and track your budget on-the-go.  You cannot create a budget on the mobile app, but you can manage it.  That inability seems to be caused from two things: 1) the app is in early development and 2) Dave Ramsey’s system that wants to require you to “sit down” and do a budget each month.  Either way, I hope we’ll see the option to create a budget in the app in the future (and I think we will).

Easy to use.  The system is, for the most part, very straightforward and easy to learn.  It took me less than a half hour to have our first budget created in there, using our past monthly budgets as a guide.  Adding categories, adjusting projections, and rearranging things to my liking were all easy to do and took very little time to learn.

 

Cons:

– It’s brand new.  While I know EveryDollar has been through significant beta testing, the developers have been rather open about the fact that while it has limited features now, development will continue and new features will be added.  For instance, you can’t update your progress on the Baby Step module past Baby Step 4 at this point.  Also, you can’t delete the “debt” section of the budget, a ridiculous flaw that doesn’t make any sense for a software based on Dave Ramsey’s plan.  I imagine they’ll fix that eventually.

Inputting Expenses.  We migrated to EveryDollar after using the Gazelle budgeting software hosted on MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com for years.  One thing I liked about that software was that I could simply enter the amount I spent on each category that month without putting in transaction details like date and vendor name.  When adding expenses in EveryDollar, you have to put in the date and vendor name if you want to record money spent in a category.  That’s not quite as hard if you’re paying for EveryDollar Plus (see below), but it can get a little time-consuming manually.

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– Importing transactions costs extra.  The free version of EveryDollar is great, but it lacks the ability to import transactions, as I mentioned.  EveryDollar Plus does include that ability to monitor bank accounts and import transactions, at the cost of $99/year.  If you know transaction importing is a feature you want to have, in pure financial terms Quicken or YNAB both cost less.  I certainly dislike Quicken more than EveryDollar, so I’m not saying that’s a better option for you necessarily, but it would cost less.

Overall, I think EveryDollar is a great addition to the budgeting software market, and I think it’s a good tool for you to consider if you are looking for a something to help you manage your budget.  Given that it’s less than two months old now, I would expect it to continue to improve substantially over time with additional features.  Check it out at EveryDollar.com!

Question: Have you checked out EveryDollar yet or tried it?  What tool are you using for your budget currently?