As part of my week long focus on bugeting, I’m going to be reviewing some budgeting software. In the past, I’ve reviewed YNAB, Mint, and Mvelopes. Since I did those reviews a year ago, several new programs worth looking at have cropped up, and I’ll be looking at them this week, starting today with Pear Budget.

Pear Budget – A Simple Budgeting System

Pear Budget was created by Charlie and Sarah Park, because they couldn’t find a budgeting system that was simple enough to meet their needs. Based on the envelope system, it does what every good budget software should do: tracks your income and expenses, and tells you how much how have left to spend in any given budgeting category.

Pear Budget accomplishes what the Parks set out to do, in that it is the simplest budgeting software I have ever reviewed.

Pear Budget is a web-based application, though the original version was a downloadable spreadsheet, which is still available. I’m reviewing the web-based version today.

It’s extremely secure, as you never enter any of your banking information into Pear Budget. So you never have to worry about anyone getting a hold of your financial information!

The Three Steps to Pear Budget

1. Plan

In the planning screen, you plan your budget for the month. You enter your income sources, your regular expenses, your irregular expenses, and the amount you want to budget for each. That’s your budget.

2. Enter Receipts

Entering receipts is easy. You enter the date, the amount, the budget category, and if you like, you can enter a note or tag, such as the store. But the tag is completely optional, for those who want just the very basics.

You enter your receipts by hand, so it’s best to set aside a few minutes each week for entering them, so you aren’t overwhelmed by a mountain of receipts at the end of the month. Plus, knowing what you spend is the reason behind budgeting, so waiting until the end of the month kind of defeats the purpose of budgeting.

3. Review Your Spending

The last step of the Pear Budget process is to review your spending. Here you can take a look at what you budgeted versus what you spent. Did you overspend? Are you in good shape? After reviewing, you can decide whether adjustments need to be made for the next month.

Pear Budget only costs $3 a month, though there is a 30 day free trial, so you can decide if it’s for you, before you buy.

Who should use Pear Budget?

The thing I like most about Pear Budget is it’s so simple, anyone can understand it. If you’re not familiar with technology, no problem. You really don’t have to know anything other than your login information to use Pear Budget.

An added bonus to Pear Budget is that the customer service is supurb. Charlie Park is great about answering emails, and he’s even on Twitter, if you want to shoot him a quick question that way!

I think Pear Budget is the perfect budgeting software for those who are new to budgeting, or those who just want a really simple application that tracks their spending against their budget, without unnecessary bells and whistles.

Are there any Pear Budget users out there? What do you think?

Photo by NaturalSuperfoods.