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Student Tools: ClearCheckbook

On GearFire, I write about productivity and time management. If the adage “time is money” is true, then students need to manage their money too. Enter ClearCheckbook, a free Web 2.0 application for personal finance.

ClearCheckbook runs under the slogan “money management made easy” and I can wholeheartedly agree having used it for the last six months. Registration is simple, requiring only your e-mail and desired username and password. Upon registration you are presented with a step-by-step walkthrough of how to setup ClearCheckbook.

Step 1: Creating your Accounts

Account Creation

Account Name: Give your account a descriptive name.
Account Type: Is it Cash, Checking, Savings, or a Credit Card?
Active: Are you using it right now? If not, unchecking the box will hide the account until you need again.

Step 2: Manage Your Categories

Category Creation

When creating categories, I recommend subcategories to allow for detailed tracking of your spending habits. This stems from my adoption of the methodology in Your Money or Your Life. It is a personal finance book that comes highly recommended from tier-one bloggers.

Step 3: Manage Your Initial Balances

Initial Balances

Initial transaction

Amount: Enter the current balance of the account.
Description: Enter something appropriate.
Transaction: Initial balance.
Account: Do an initial balance for each of your accounts.
Category: You don’t need to categorize the initial balance.

After you have finished setup, you can click on the “summary” to go to your home page (seen below).

Summary of accounts

Step 4: Record your transactions

You are now ready to record your daily transactions. For example, you buy a DVD for $20 in cash.

An example transaction

BLABLA

Splitting a Transaction
Let’s say you order multiple items from Amazon on your credit card. ClearCheckbook let’s you subdivide the main transaction (seen below).

Splitting a transaction

Balancing your Accounts

Forget whether your cheque has cleared? Worried about credit card fraud? ClearCheckbook uses “jiving” to easily balance your books. Each transaction has a checkmark beside it. You can confirm all your transactions by “jiving” them. For example, you go to your online banking and see the Amazon order on your credit card statement. In ClearCheckbook, you click “un-jived” in view options. “Jive” the Amazon order by clicking on the checkmark beside it (seen below).

Jiving a transaction

Paying Off Your Credit Card

Paying off your credit card

Spending Reports
You can view your spending habits by clicking on “reports” at the top of the page. ClearCheckbook provides pie charts and bar charts.

Pie charts

Bar charts

Recurring Notices
ClearCheckbook can send you reminders of payments or automatically create recurring transactions. You can access this by clicking “tools” at the top of the page.

Recurring transactions and reminders

Budgeting/Monthly Spending Limits
Also found under the “tools” page, it is a set-it-and-forget-it way to start budgeting.

Budgeting

Other Tools
ScratchPad: A text page for recording notes (e.g. use it as a wishlist).
Quicken Support: Import and export Quicken files.
Checkbot: Record your transactions using instant messaging or SMS on your cell phone.

If you’ve made it through this post, I’m sure you’ll find that ClearCheckbook is a powerful, intuitive, and free way to manage your finances. I know I have.

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4 Responses to “Student Tools: ClearCheckbook”

  1. Jorge says:

    Wow thanks for the guide. I just aquired this application for my ipod and I plan to use it during the school year.

  2. Chris Y. says:

    You’re welcome. They added the iPhone and iPod Touch integration after I wrote the post.

  3. ClearCheckbook such a great tools to use, and you give very good tutorial

  4. Tool is very useful in terms of perfection and time saving.