My wife and I are big fans of Google Apps, a suite of office type applications that run in a web browser and provide such services as Calendar, Spreadsheet, Document, RSS Reader, Email, and more. We have been sharing a number of calendars for a few years now, which is a fantastic way to keep track of all kinds of appointments from any internet connected computer. More recently, we have been using Google Documents, including Spreadsheets to share all kinds of information.
Google Apps are fantastic for collaborating on a project. Anyone with a Google account can share a Google item with any other Google user. Each user can see the item, whether it be a calendar entry, spreadsheet, or Reader item, and depending on the level of permission, can also edit the item. Multiple people can even be working on the same document simultaneously, and Google will merge the concurrent changes as they are made and refresh the other participants’ views.
This functionality seemed perfect to become a key tool for tracking spending and budgeting. A major problem that we had with tracking spending was capturing odd purchases or dividing up single bills into multiple spending categories. Often ScrapperMom or I would purchase something online from a vendor whose name we would not recognize at the end of the month when I sat down with Quicken to review and categorize our finances. A Google spreadsheet seemed like the perfect place to record such a transaction, since it was accessible nearly everywhere by both of us. Some other typical entries include grocery bills that also include a cash back portion, or bank deposits that include multiple checks.
Another great use for a Google spreadsheet is a budget. I can view and reorganize our monthly budget from anywhere. At the end of the month, I simply copy last month’s budget to a new sheet, and then make some minor modifications, if necessary, to prepare the spending plan for the coming month.
Lastly, I use Google Calendar to alert me when bills, transfers, or paychecks are due. I also set up alerts to remind me to check bank balances to make sure that always meet my minimum balances.
What technologies do you use to keep track of your finances?