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SplashMoney for BlackBerry Review

money-icon

“It’s in the way that you use it,

It comes and it goes.

It’s in the way that you use it,

Boy don’t you know.”

-Eric Clapton, It’s in the Way That You Use it.

For months I’ve been trying to find the right solution to tracking my finances. Like most, I’m on a tight budget, and every penny counts. I cannot afford to bounce a check, and must make sure there’s enough money in my account to cover my bills. I need a simple way to make and track a budget. I’ve looked at Quicken, Mint.com, spreadsheets, and more. There is so much variety of software, and each can be used in so many different ways. All I know is, I stopped carrying a checkbook because I rarely write checks. But I do have a smartphone (Blackberry), and perhaps that will afford me a way to stay on top of my money wherever I go. To that end, I have begun a trial of SplashMoney for BlackBerry, by SplashData.

SplashMoney comes with a desktop component and a BlackBerry component. From their website:

Manage your money anytime, anywhere. Connect to your online bank from your desktop computer or wireless handheld and download transactions directly into SplashMoney. Create budgets and then track and analyze your spending with customizable reports and charts. Synchronize your handheld with your desktop computer to stay on top of your finances whether you’re at home, on the road, or in the office. Includes free desktop companion software for Windows.

Installation

Installation is pretty straight forward on both the desktop and handheld. But you must enter a registration code or trial code in both.

Setup

setup

SplashMoney can handle many accounts. Setup is simple. Just go to File, New Account, and describe the account in the associated boxes. I set up a checking, savings and credit card account quickly and easily.  It can handle many types of currencies.

SplashMoney does more than keep a running list of your transactions. It features reports and budgets so you can see where your money is going. A transaction not only includes fields such as Date, Payee and amount, but also category, class, memo and type. Let’s look a bit more closely at these.

trans

Categories such as groceries, rent, car payment and dining help you determine budgets. The program comes with several pre-defined categories, but you can easily change them. You can also have sub-categories. With a few months’ worth of data you can see where your money is headed, and create budgets to help you make better money decisions. If, for example, your dining category is eating a huge percentage of your pay, it’s easier to spot that trend when you look over a months’ worth of data than if you just scroll through your check register.

The Type field includes Check, debit, deposit, ATM and any other types you’d like to add.

I cannot remember what I did a week ago, and if I didn’t write memos in each transaction, then I’d be completely clueless. The key to success in budgeting is to be diligent. I carry my BlackBerry everywhere, and every time I make a transaction I immediately enter it. It’s become second nature.

Class comes pre-loaded with Personal and Business types.

Lastly, Status determines if a transaction has cleared your bank. This is very handy for reconciliation.

As you can see, the software allows for flexibility and customization. In fact, it even lets you split transactions among different categories. Nice.

Data

So how do we enter data into SplashMoney? There are many ways. The simplest is to add each individual transaction into your handheld, then sync with the desktop. Or you can import bank transactions into your desktop and sync to your handheld. Or do both. Like the Clapton song I referenced earlier, it’s in the way that you use it. I prefer to never sync the handheld to the desktop. I like to import data from my bank into the desktop, and reconcile that to my handheld.

In theory SplashMoney lets you import your bank data automatically by connecting to your bank from either your handheld or the desktop. I couldn’t get this to work, though I didn’t try very hard. Also in theory, you can import CSV files to the desktop. This I tried very hard to do and was very unsuccessful and frustrated. I contacted support and they were quite nice, attentive and tried hard, but ultimately it wouldn’t work.

You can also import QIF and OFX files. This worked wonderfully. I wanted to import the entire year’s worth of transactions, and from that make reports and budgets. Unfortunately, my bank only lets me download the last three months’ worth of transaction, so I’m a bit out of luck there. But at least I have something to work with.

Reports

SplashMoney has a simple to use system for viewing your data. You can choose the dates, organize by category and choose your account. Want to see how much you spent on dining last month? No problem. Though the reports are perhaps not as sophisticated as what you may see in Quicken, they are easy to use and give you straight forward answers.

Budgets

This is a wonderful section of this versatile software. I find that allocating a specific amount to each category really helps me stay focused on how I’m spending my money, and more importantly how I’m saving my money. And as with all the other features of SplashMoney, budgeting is very simple to set up. You choose a particular category from the Budget tab, then a dialog box pops up and asks you to enter an amount. Easy.

The budgeting section could be improved if it allowed you to set up a budget for each month. Here’s why. Some months have four pay periods, others have five. This affects how much you receive in pay and how much you may pay out. Currently the software only lets you set up a budget for “this month”. Also, it doesn’t give advanced options such as carrying over your budget categories where you spent less than the allotted amount.

Security

SplashMoney features state of the art blowfish encryption.

Conclusion

SplashMoney is not the most feature-rich software out there. It’s not the cheapest. But it is simple to set up and use, provides you with the information you need, and best of all, can be carried with you at all times via a handheld. I have grown to depend upon it. Whenever I use my debit card, I take an extra 10 seconds to enter the transaction into my BlackBerry, and I always know my balance and budget.

Deposits

-Secure

-Easy to set up and use

-provides all the financial information you need

-Provides budgeting and reconciliation

Withdrawals

-The reporting is a bit simple

-Could benefit from more budgeting features

-Problems importing CSV files and connecting to my bank

SplashMoney is $29.95 and comes with a free trial.

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September 9, 2010 Posted by | Blackberry, Reviews, Software | Leave a comment