I’m on a quest and I’m a month behind schedule. January 2010 was the month and year I would get my financial house in order. Alas, there are too many Mac money managers around to make an easy choice.
Except Quicken. That’s an easy choice. I refuse to upgrade. Ever. Again. In the meantime, I’m looking at every decent Mac money management tool. Some are full featured. Some are limited in scope but easier to use.
Track Bills, Pay Bills
Mac money software comes with so many features that it’s difficult to choose. For me, simple is better, especially as I realize I still have month left over at the end of my money.
Among the cluttered and cumbersome masses of Mac money management software is Chronicle.
The focus is targeted—it’s all about bill paying. Along with that comes debt reduction. Added to that is receipt organization, which is topped off with some revealing historical trends, stats, and charts.
Chronicle’s approach is straightforward, unencumbered with the need to manage my stock portfolio (which seems to be a much easier task these days), or balance checking accounts and savings accounts.
My previous method of balancing my accounts was dreadfully simple. I would deposit money and write checks until I got an overdraft notice. Then I’d open up another checking account and use that one. Then repeat.
Chronicle is so unlike me. It’s organized. Logical. Reasonable. Affordable (click the image to see a larger, pop up view).
Notice what you’ve got there. One screen. Bills on the left column, all nicely alphabetized. Click on any bill and you get exactly what you need. Next payment due date. Payment history. Totals. And some chart eye candy.
Setting things up is simple, too. Create a new bill. Fill in the details. Set the reminder (you will be nagged). There’s also an option to pay online.
Chronicle does 5 things very well. Collectively, they add some stress reduction to your financial life. First, you won’t miss a payment because Chronicle remembers and nags you, even updating iCal with a reminder.
Second, Chronicle lets you set specific goals which really helps to reduce debt. Every time a payment is due you’ll see how your current status compares to your goals.
Third, Chronicle organizes so you don’t have to. Payments are remembered and matched to each bill. Check out the payment box. Easy, huh?
Athletes know that performance measured is performance improved. So, #4 on my list of Chronicle benefits is the spend history. It’s the eye candy that makes you smile or cringe, depending on whether you’ve been financially naughty or fiscally nice.
Chronicle’s historical analysis is simple to grasp. Payments are averaged for bills that recur but where the amount fluctuates. Finally, Chronicle is a single location for two things—viewing all your bills. And, paying your bills.
You’re alerted when bills haven’t been paid, yes. But there’s also an option to pay your bills online, which is faster, easier, and less dangerous than licking nasty old envelopes and toxic stamps to mail bill payments.
Chronicle has limitations. It’s not Quicken. It’s much easier to use. It’s not MoneyWell, Money, or iBank, which aim to be Quicken replacements. Chronicle is an easy way to manage your bills, and not much more.