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Know What’s Left

The secret to money management is to spend less than you earn.  But you can’t do that unless you know what’s LeftWhat’s Left after your pay the rent, food, and gas to drive to work?

Duh.  Subtract the rent, food, and gas from your paycheck.  THAT is what’s left!  Still, this can be tough to manage when you’re juggling 10 other bills that come every month, at varying times of the month.

I just bought a new, used pickup.  My payment is $500, due on the 10th of each month.   Yeah I know, that’s steep, but I drive a 4×4 pickup because I live in Texas.

Since I get paid on the 1st & 15th of each month, I setup a recurring entry to show on the 1st of the month, even though the payment won’t be sent until the 10th.  This way, when I get my paycheck, I also see the corresponding car payment!

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My balance is automatically adjusted, and I KNOW what’s left!  Hence, I can make rational spending decisions.  I don’t need to worry how I’ll get the money for the payment; as far as my checkbook shows, I never had it.

When checkoncile downloads the bank’s entry, the date will automatically be adjusted to the actual date it hit the bank.

That’s money management:  Getting your money to work for you.  That’s checkoncile.

Security and

We get asked about this all the time.

Bank data breaches happen regularly:

(For more recent activity, just google “bank data breach” or head straight to

So why should you trust
Quite simply, because we store NO sensitive data.

Worst case scenario:  the bad guys obtain your login and password at
If somebody broke into your account, they would have the same access as if they stole your checkbook register.  They could record in the register, you spent $1,000 at Wal-Mart.  So what?!  That will stand out when you reconcile the account!  They can’t actually SPEND $1,000.  Just record that you spent it.

As part of our ongoing analysis of the financial tools industry, we recently signed up for an account at  Quite an extraordinary program – very well thought out, remarkable presentation, extremely easy to use, and even better FREE.  Sincerely a true masterpiece of software, marketing, and advertisement.

We signed up just to get an idea of the features and functionality of the website.  While thoroughly impressed, we became a bit dismayed when – after several days of inactivity – account data continued to flow through their system.  Indeed after a week of not logging in, our accounts reported “updated [2 days ago]”.

You see, as part of the setup process of registering for, we entered ALL relevant data needed to permit to communicate with our bank:  bank account#, login, even PIN.

Any programmer that’s been through the rigors of PCI compliance can tell you that storing a credit card validation code is “forbidden in the USA” from being stored (source  And yet, ho-hum, mint routinely stores your bank acount PIN.

EVEN ignoring the security implications, applications like simply show what your bank tells them, completely ignoring the cornerstone of bank account reconciliation:  the comparison of two separate books in order to explain differences between a bank’s entries and your own entries.  That is, TWO separate sets of entries are required in order to perform a reconciliation.

An application like will simply dictate what the bank tells it:
“You spent $100 at Sears”,
“You spent $50 at Target”,
“You deposited $500”.

That is precisely what sets apart.  YOU tell
“I spent $99 at Sears”,
“I deposited $600”,
“I spent $25 at McDonald’s”.

Because TWO books are compared (what YOU said versus what the BANK said), you are able to determine differences.  In the case above, the reconciliation process would show:
THE BANK says I spent $50 at Target, BUT I didn’t.
THE BANK says I deposited $500, but I actually deposited $600.
THE BANK doesn’t yet know I spent $25 at McDonald’s.

No software application which keeps a single set of books is able to provide this distinction.

Happily ever after

Once upon a time there was a man named Dan.  When Dan was young, he led a simple life, easily keeping all his affairs in order.  Balancing his checkbook took a matter of minutes.  However, he noticed that he sometimes made mistakes.  He also noticed the bank sometimes made mistakes.  But usually they were easy to identify and take care of.

One day, Dan fell in love with Rita.  They got married and had a few kids.  That’s when things started to get complicated.  He still made mistakes.  His bank still made mistakes.  But NOW, Rita made mistakes too!  This made it a little harder to identify the problems and take care of his checkbook.

You see, Rita kept the checkbook in her purse.  She did a fine job entering entries in the checkbook.  Dan however, was no longer able to enter his entries in the checkbook.  (Because it was in Rita’s purse!)  Instead, Dan stuffed the receipts in his wallet.  Come payday, poor Dan had a sore back — not so much from working hard every day, as from sitting on a wallet full of receipts all day!

OH! the day after payday, when his wallet was empty 😉 was Dan’s favorite day.  But Dan dreaded payday.

First, he’d enter Rita’s few stray receipts that still weren’t entered.  Then, he’d enter his wallet’s receipts.  (It always kind of freaked Dan out – how many times they went negative — often not just “barely” – especially after deducting NSF charges!)  Finally, after those tasks, he’d pay the bills, carefully adding up all the entries.  Yeah, payday was no fun.  BUT, payday was a walk in the park compared to the one day a month when it was time to RECONCILE the checkbook.

Typically, Dan was happy just if the account balance came out positive.  But neither Dan nor Rita (nor probably the *#&% bank!) knew precisely how much money they had.

Dan’s bank took special measures to make reconciliation frustrating.  His bank decided to group the statement entries into broad categories:  Deposits, Checks/web-bill-pay, and ATM/other.  And then, within each of those categories to list entries in (usually) date order.  That meant, for each line on the bank statement Dan sometimes had to wade through pages of checkbook entries.  Of course, each entry the bank had that Dan didn’t have meant somebody (read DAN) didn’t enter an entry.  And THAT meant entering an entry.

One day, Dan discovered  He realized first of all that both he and Rita access their “virtual” checkbook simultaneously!  That meant no more wallet full of receipts.  (And, more importantly, no more sore back!)  Furthermore, there was no limit to the number of accounts that could be setup.  Which meant they could keep “His”, “Hers”, and “Their” account checkbooks in one tidy, secure place.

Please understand that Dan absolutely hated sending his cellphone provider a large sum every month.  But when he discovered he could access securely from any mobile device, value was instantly added to this bill!

Furthermore, Dan absolutely gushed over the ease with which he could reconcile his accounts.  It was easier than doing it manually, because did all the math for him.  Which meant NO mistakes.  Which meant both he and Rita knew exactly how much money they had.

But had more to offer.  Future plans include an OFX-standard option to retrieve bank entries automatically, budgeting tools and advice, recurring entries, etc.

Dan had truly discovered a gem, and in the process, made a little more room in Rita’s purse.  All for a less than $1/week.  And let’s face it:  you can hardly buy anything for a buck.