Buxfer.com is unique in that it can manage group expenses, so that roommates and travel buddies, for example, can keep track of who has paid what, and who might still owe a little (or more) to make things square. Users can even settle their debts with their friends through the website, using a credit card, bank account or PayPal. Another unique feature of Buxfer.com is the ability to report transactions or to query balances via SMS through Twitter, though there is a slight learning curve as the messages have to be in a specific format.
Buxfer.com has a free basic membership that lets you track up to five accounts and budgets, and you can invite as many people as you want to track shared expenses. If you need to include more accounts, an upgrade to unlimited membership costs about $4 per month, and for about $5 a month you also get balance projections. For every person you invite to Buxfer.com, you'll receive a credit of $1 to your account, which can be used toward upgrading or renewing your membership.
Buxfer.com tracks bank, investment and credit card accounts, which is more limited than some other free personal finance website services. The service can automatically download transactions and update your accounts, but if you're worried about security you don't have to provide user names and passwords; you can manually upload account information or store your passwords and logins locally on your own computer. Buxfer.com performs account aggregation, creates spending reports and sends out alerts and weekly financial reports via email and text message. It also offers mobile account access via the iPhone and other mobile devices, including BlackBerrys. Users can also access projections of their future spending, based on past spending, bill reminders and upcoming transactions.
Reviewers like Buxfer.com's budgeting tool; it lets you create and track budgets and allows you to use tags to better categorize expenses. You can assign more than one tag to a transaction, but some reviewers have found Buxfer.com's use of tags to be confusing and sometimes inaccurate. Because of its capacity to track group expenses, and because its reports are very basic, reviewers say that Buxfer.com is best suited to roommates, college students and groups of friends who vacation together.
We found comparative reviews of Buxfer.com at PCMag.com, PC World and Lifehacker.com, where it goes head to head with Mint.com. Slightly older reviews at CNET, Kiplinger.com and GenXFinance.com also contain useful information.
1. PC World
Buxfer.com is for "geekier users seeking robust mobile support," according to Yardena Arar of PC World. Like other reviewers, Arar highlights Buxfer.com's group function, where several people (such as roommates) can share a budget. Arar also identifies Buxfer.com's unique function in which users can update their accounts through Twitter.
Review: Battle of the Budgeting Tools: Manage Money Online and on the Go, Yardena Arar, Jan. 9, 2011
Buxfer.com is the first choice of personal finance websites reviewer Jason Fitzpatrick. He is impressed that Buxfer.com offers different levels of security, including one option where users enter their account data manually and another where users store their passwords and logins locally on their own computer.
Review: Five Best Personal Money Management Sites, Jason Fitzpatrick, July 11, 2010
Eric Griffith of PCMag.com places Buxfer.com's app among the top finance apps of 2011, along with Mint.com's. Although this is a brief review, Griffith highlights Buxfer.com's group feature and IOU function within his write-up.
Review: The Best Free Web Apps of 2011, Eric Griffith, July 13, 2011
Buxfer.com and Mint.com are included in the finance category of PCMag.com's best free software of 2010. Here, Eric Griffith likes its "easy-to-grasp look at your financial health."
Review: The Best Free Software of 2010: Finance, Eric Griffith, March 30, 2010
This excellent review evaluates and compares five financial management sites, including Buxfer.com. Reisinger praises Buxfer for its simplicity, noting that it provides easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions on how to set up your accounts. He concludes that "Buxfer is simple and responsive. If you're looking for something basic, it's a great place to start."
Review: Manage Your Money Online with These Services, Don Reisinger, Jan. 22, 2009
Stacy Rapacon includes Buxfer.com in this review of the six best budgeting sites. She notes that Buxfer.com is most useful for group budgeting and tracking IOUs among friends.
Review: The Six Best Budgeting Sites, Stacy Rapacon, March 2009
Kathy Kristof tries out five personal finance sites, writes a fairly detailed review of each and rates each on a scale of 1 to 5. Buxfer.com gets the lowest rating, of 2 points, because although it's "fast, well designed, and fairly easy to use," it's not really free. She's under the impression that you have to upgrade to a paid membership in order to track investment accounts. That's not accurate -- the paid membership lets you track unlimited accounts, while the free membership limits you to five, including investment accounts.
Review: Money Management: The Best Online Personal Finance Sites, Kathy Kristof, Dec. 3, 2009
Lauren Fairbanks praises Buxfer.com's simple layout and notes that it allows users to set up budgets, add tags (which function as categories) to transactions, receive an email if they overspend their budget in any category and receive weekly reports by email or text. Like other reviewers, she likes the fact that users can keep track of IOUs and pay them from the Buxfer.com website. The only downside she notes is that there aren't many different types of reports.
Review: Wesabe, Buxfer, and Mint: Which Web-Based Financial Management Site Is Best?, Lauren Fairbanks, Sept. 10, 2008