I’m Aaron Freeman, the creator of Budget Ease. This is my story of how Budget Ease came to be.
I’ve had a budget, in one form or another, since I got married 14 years ago, but I can’t say I ever really enjoyed it. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different tools: spreadsheets, cash envelopes, desktop software, and online financial tools.
I ended up getting frustrated with all of them for two reasons:
- They required too much time for upkeep.
- It was too hard to get the information I needed when I needed it.
Most of the time, the only thing I need to know was how much money I had left to spend. That can be hard to keep track of since my wife and I are both spending money. It’s easy for me to think, “I have $50 I can spend,” but if she’s thinking the same thing and spends it without my knowledge, we can get ourselves into trouble. That’s one of the problems with budgeting tools that mostly rely on importing transactions from your bank or credit card: Your numbers are always a day or two behind, because it takes time for your bank to process the transaction and the software to import it. Basically, it makes it easy to accidentally overspend.
I felt we needed a system that could stay up-to-the-minute with our budget balances, while minimizing the amount of effort needed to keep it accurate and giving us the information we needed when we needed it. I tried a lot of different tools, but never found anything that worked the way we needed it to.
Building my own
At this point I’d been building web applications for other people for over 10 years, so in the beginning of 2011, I decided I would put my skills to use building something that would meet our needs. I kept our budget in a spreadsheet and built a simple expense tracking system that allowed us to enter transactions and send us balance information – both via text. This allowed us to easily keep it up-to-date from our phones. We used it for an entire year and it worked really well for us.
Then, in early of 2012, I decided I wanted to take it a step further and create an entire budgeting system that eliminated the need for spreadsheets entirely. And, even better, I could let other people use it, too. I spoke with several friends and family members and put a landing page on the web explaining what I wanted to build. A lot of people expressed interest in it, so I began writing what would become Budget Ease. Then I got a team together of people who wanted to help make Budget Ease a reality and we went to work.
Using Budget Ease
Since my wife and I have been using Budget Ease, I’ve found I spend less time keeping things up-to-date and it’s been much easier for us to stay informed and on budget. We usually enter our transactions as they happen via text or the mobile website. Then every week or two, I download transactions from our bank accounts and upload them to Budget Ease – just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. It’s been great knowing we are on track and seeing our savings envelope grow.
Life shouldn’t be about money, but when you don’t have a budget in place, your finances can become overwhelming and stressful. At the same time, you don’t want to spend all your free time fiddling with a spreadsheet, cash envelopes, or some financial software that requires constant attention. All these things were true of me. If they’re true of you, too, Budget Ease might be the solution you’ve been looking for.