Wesabe spices up your budgets

January 29, 2009

A couple years ago I started writing a web app called Budgetable to track my savings and spending by importing data from my bank. Although other projects pushed it to the wayside, it stayed a pretty useful expense tracking tool for me.

Since then, a couple startups have jumped into this game, and have outpaced my poor prototype by many miles. As Budgetable languishes, the least I can do is find a replacement for my loyal users-in-waiting (including myself.) So I tested out these two up and coming apps, and we have a clear winner: Wesabe ((Wesabe, not Wasabe. Wasabe.com is held by domain squatters, which is greeeat.)).

Why did Wesabe beat out Mint.com? Well, it supported Canadian banks! So it won by a factor of infinity. But in all honesty, it does everything I envisioned Budgetable would do, except for some UI issues. My review follows:

The Good

  • Imports from a lot of banks, some automatically

  • Has a reasonable dashboard with your total sum across accounts

  • Allows you to graph spending on categories that you define

  • It realizes that if JJ Bean was coffee last week it’s probably coffee this week

The Bad

  • Doesn’t show you positive feedback for saving over time

  • Noisy UI has some weird decisions and distractions ((Maybe I’ll do an unsolicited redesign proposal to practice my design chops.))

  • Deals poorly with banks that have two levels of password

  • Too much focus on the social aspects, instead of “show me the money”

The Ugly

  • The thought supporting all those banks in Budgetable

  • Alignment issues on the left sidebar - if you’re a print designer, do NOT go in there

The Bottom Line

On the whole, it’s a win. All the Wesabe guys need to do is hire somebody with sharp, clear UI and design skills, and they’ll have a great product on their hands. Until they do, I’ll keep the source code for Budgetable just in case.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.