I don't have roommates anymore—my housemate moved out last month—and I'm beginning to miss some of the benefits of sharing your space. Splitting the cost of cleaning supplies and groceries was a great help. And oh yeah—splitting rent and utilities! But while I'm trying to make swiffer pads last as long as I can before I buy a new box, sharing costs has a whole 'nother demon to battle in the form of making sure everything is squared up right. That's where Buxfer
has got a bunch of great features that can help an individual track their budget. You're able to securely sync to several different credit card and bank accounts to categorize your spending. Plus, whenever you go over a set threshhold on those categories (like making too many Starbucks runs for the week), you can opt to get mobile text alerts.
You can find features like that on plenty of budgeting sites out there, though. What we think makes Buxfer so great is the ability to join groups and settle debts. That way your roommates or road trip buddies all know exactly how much they owe for gas—whether it's powering the stove or the car.
But if, say, your roommate buys the pizza one night and updates Buxfer, it will take half of the cost of that pizza off what he owes you for the utilities.
With more roommates and more expenses, things can get really slippery. But by using Buxfer, you make sure that you don't have to keep track of multiple debts. All money that you owe (or are owed) goes to a "group balance." It's tricky, but the site does a good job of explaining it:
Let's say Tom owes 40 dollars to Jane and Tom owes 10 dollars to Sarah. Jane, on the other hand, owes 20 dollars to Sarah.
Now, if these folks decide to use a Buxfer group and consolidate their balances within the group, then the group balances will be as follows:
Tom: -$50.00, since owes 50 dollars to the group
Jane: +$20.00, since she receives 20 dollars from the group
Sarah: +$30.00, since she receives 30 dollars from the group
Rest assured that the site is VeriSign secured and uses Google Gears to save your sensitive data offline. Find out more at Buxfer's Web site.
[ Thanks, GeekSugar! ]