Will Money Dashboard help you set a better budget?

19 January 2011

Bitterwallet - Money DashboardSome of us are, to be blunt, fucking abysmal at budgeting money. That's because household budgets aren't as much fun as eating, drinking, sleeping, watching paint dry or pots boil, and so on.

In the US, consumers have been able to make use of Mint.com, a web-based service that scoops up all your bank transactions to let you budget more efficiently, and with the benefit of pretty coloured graphs; meanwhile the UK had to make do with Kublax until it went belly-up last year. Now there's moneydashboard.com - not a new site, but they've finished with their beta testing and are available for free sign-up.

There's a 30 second registration process, followed by a quick bit of buggering about to install Microsoft Silverlight if you haven't already. You then have to hand over all the details of any bank accounts you want to import, and the site will update and combine several different accounts in a series of graphs and bar charts. That's the easy part - after that, I have to admit to getting a little lost.

The interface doesn't feel very intuitive - for instance, clicking on the Set Budget tab (because I'm not told where else to click at this point) shows a list of typical monthly costs, but it's not obvious how you set budgets, alerts or anything else. And you can see how the back-end is tagging your transactions in order to correlate data, but some are wrong and plenty are untagged - meaning you've got to put constant effort in so the data is correct.

The Help section mostly involves long reams of texts, and there's no obvious starting point or even a basic tutorial to take your hand and guide you through every step of setting up. Overall, Money Dashboard feels like a little too much hard work - it's something I'll have another play with to see if I'm missing the bleeding obvious - but at the moment it doesn't seem any easier than plugging numbers into a spreadsheet every month.

The site has been in public beta since last October - any evangelists of the service so far? Let us know in the comments below.

13 comments

  • Bob_regis
    Tried it....very slow. Use lovemoney.com. It actually works and is relatively quick.
  • Ben
    Tried it back in beta - unless they've massively improved it, I wouldn't bother signing up now. Site is exceedingly slow, plus your computer fan will sound like a jet engine trying to take off while you are using the website! Seriously, I've no idea what the hell their website is trying to do, but it will eat every last megahertz of your computer doing it. Tagging transactions is painful and cumbersome, and the system never learns or remembers transactions correctly so you'll find yourself repeating the same thing all the time for regular payments. Some transactions just don't appear at all. Unreliable! Oh, and handing over your online bank account details in order to use the site is almost certainly against the terms and conditions of your online bank. Be warned!
  • Me
    Love Money looks interesting, but do people seriously hand over their bank details to these websites? Surely that is VERY risky......?
  • Carl
    " You then have to hand over all the details of any bank accounts you want to import" Say what!!?? Sounds a bit scary.
  • Waffs
    Yeah... what happens when Wikileaks gets hold of their databases...?? Maybe I should start a website with step one of registration is "Hand over ALL of the details for ALL of your bank accounts" Pah
  • Another A.
    They didn't allow me to set 4-weekly budgets in early beta so gave up.
  • br04dyz
    In my experience, any software with the word "Dashboard" in the title will not assist you day in the positive.
  • Bollard
    My experience with Kublax and Lovemoney was that you couldn't change the start date of the month. So unless you get paid on the last day of the money kin useless. Not sure about now, anyway Lovehoney is much better ;)
  • Andrew
    Fairly useless. Yodlee Money Manager (run by the people that created the backend that powers all of these services) is the only worthwhile option.
  • Silverlight
    Silverlight LOL, gtfo
  • Adam H.
    http://forum.moneydashboard.com/showthread.php?p=523 Looks like the best they can do is "it's currently not not allowed by your bank". Not quite the massive confidence boost I was hoping for.
  • Steve
    Tried it, love it. Took 30 minutes to get the hang of it, get the tags right, set a budget. Now I can see where it all goes!
  • Paul
    Looks like they've improved it a *lot* since the earlier comments (and since I first registered for the beta). Now about as intuitive as it gets - although I wish there were more features for handling 'exceptions' - e.g. I've just received a large loan and moneydashboard insists on tagging it as income, which skews everything a bit...

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment