However, not everyone is keen on the idea of a third party having access to his or her financial information. I certainly didn’t have any problems connecting my bank account to Mint, but when I would tell family members or friends that there were budgeting and financial organizing apps like Mint that could make their lives so much easier, not all of them were convinced for the same reason.
If you’re wishing for a similar application that won’t ask you to connect your bank accounts, there are many tools available, including the open source GnuCash, HomeBank, Grisbi, etc.
If you’re on the go quite a bit, the above tools will be a bit harder to keep up with. What you might need is an always-available service that you can take with you, like SMS on your phone, regardless of whether it is a regular feature phone or the latest and top-of-the-line smartphone. Chext is a free service (standard messaging rates from your carrier still apply) that won’t ask you to connect to your bank account online so you don’t have to worry about giving unauthorized users access to your financial information.
Let’s find out what makes Chext stand out. Please note that Chext works on any text-enabled phone in the U.S. and Canada only.
Record Cash/Card Transactions with a Simple Text
When you first sign up with Chext on its website, you’ll be asked for your mobile number. You’ll get a welcome text asking you to set a starting balance.
A simple text with “+500 starting balance” will get you started. After that, you can add more transactions to your account with minus and plus signs to indicate whether to subtract or add to your balance. If you just send an amount without a sign, by default, Chext will subtract the amount from your balance.
Like a lot of banks that have mobile apps or can give you your balance by SMS, Chext will also return you the balance every time you update your account. Chext, however, will also let you record any form of transaction, whether it’s a card or cash transaction, the last of which, I know at least my bank, Bank of America (one of the largest in the US), doesn’t do, as it only records information of the credit card or checking account you have with them.
Chext Helps You Plan Ahead & “Predict The Future”
WIth Chext’s calendar, you can record future transactions, such as bills and rent, and know when your balance might be low or over-drafted, a smart feature that makes Chext quite invaluable for anyone who’s ever over-drafted.
The calendar also helps you jog your memory and plan ahead for how much you might want to spend on the following day or week if you want to stick to a budget. You can also get a quick overview of your spending habits in a simple and user-friendly grid. Chext looks minimalistic but has some very useful organizational features.
Share Budget Details with Spouse
If you share a bank account with your spouse, Chext allows you to keep him or her updated on the current balance. Simply text Chext with “invite <phone number>” and that number’s owner will be able to receive a SMS every time you update the balance and vice versa, so everyone stays updated in real-time when the other person makes a transaction. To cancel the invitation, text Chext with “revoke <phone number>”.
Here’s a video that details how a couple’s using Chext to keep each other updated and plan ahead.
What do you use to record your transactions? Let us know in the comments!