ClearCheckbook is a free online budgeting and financial goal-setting tool that provides plenty of tutorials for using it. ClearCheckbook offers the flexibility of being as simple as you’d like to make it – or taking your finances to the next level with paid Premium features. 

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The Good

  • Thorough tutorial
  • Great features
  • Debt snowball plan

ClearCheckbook walks you through your initial accounts and budget setup with a thorough tutorial on how to use the site. It provides some ready-to-go accounts (e.g., checking, credit card) that you can add simply by entering the current balance. You can select the appropriate currency for each account separately and you can even use Bitcoin as a currency. The startup tour also provides you with some ready made budget categories which you can edit, delete, add to, or use as-is. You can assign monthly unused budget rollovers on a category basis. On nearly every page, ClearCheckbook offers contextual help with whatever task you've embarked upon.

ClearCheckbook's home page dashboard is packed with information within customizable widgets. If you have a Mac running OS X you can also get a widget for your Mac's dashboard. ClearCheckbook is here to help you with online budgeting, financial goal-setting aided by tutorials for using it the program. The following are a few highlights customers typically appreciated:

  • Free basic features
  • Initial tutorial
  • Budget rollovers
  • "Debt snowball plan"
  • Money lending tracker
  • Mobile apps
  • Save up trackers

A unique feature of ClearCheckbook is that it can help you set up a "debt snowball plan" which helps you pay down credit card debt as quickly and as cheaply as your budget allows. ClearCheckbook also provides a money lending tracker so you can keep tabs on IOUs. It's also easy to set up "Save-Up Trackers", with deadlines to help you reach your goals. ClearCheckbook offers a complete suite of mobile apps across which all your accounts are synced. Supported smartphone & tablet platforms include:

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • WebOS
  • BlackBerry
  • Amazon

ClearCheckbook is secure primarily because it doesn't link to any of your bank accounts and no transactions are sent between it and any financial institutions. You only enter into ClearCheckbook whatever you need and all updates are manual. So, for example, you can call your checking account "Account 1" or "Fred's Account," or whatever you like so that you're not using any identifiable transaction or account information on BudgetPulse. Additionally, ClearCheckbook uses McAfee Secure 256-bit encryption for all data sent between your computer and their server and its SSL certificates are verified by VeriSign.

The Bad

  • Adding accounts can be tedious
  • Automated transaction is not free
  • Visually unappealing

Manually adding accounts and transactions to ClearCheckbook (either by hand or by uploading files) can be tedious and prone to error. Since it doesn't sync with your bank, you'll have to update transactions manually every time you wish to check your budget. Manual updating also means that ClearCheckbook won't offer account alerts because, in theory, if you're entering them yourself you won't need alerting. Some concerns include:

  • Tedious manual entering of transactions
  • No alerts to remind you of bills or budget limits
  • Automated categorization only available on Premium plan
  • Dated and text-heavy design

Automated transaction categorization is a feature that usually comes free with other personal financial sites, but ClearCheckbook requires you to pay $4 monthly for their Premium plan to use this functionality.

The visual appeal of ClearCheckbook's site leaves something to be desired as it has a dated feel to it, although since it's text heavy with few graphics pages load quickly.

The Bottom Line

ClearCheckbook is a great choice for setting up a simple budgeting system without the need for automatic transaction updates. It offers excellent support and thorough tutorials to get you up and running quickly. However, if you don't have the time to manually enter transactions, you might look elsewhere for a more automated solution. ClearCheckbook's free version has enough excellent features that there isn't much value added by purchasing the Premium version since other personal financial sites offer more for the same monthly price. Those that use ClearCheckbook can expect the following from the service:

  1. Free basic budgeting tools
  2. Compatible with a number of devices
  3. Manual transaction entry

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User Reviews

Star Rating

4.8
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4 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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Steve
May 14th, 2018 Bend, OR

Clearcheckbook has been a great tool and a real "salvation" for my finances. Although my needs are simple at the moment, Clearcheckbook has kept my on the straight and narrow with my finances... Thank you Clearcheckbook.com

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Danyelle Lundy
July 11th, 2017 Norfolk, VA

I've been looking for a online personal finance management solution to replace Quicken. A critical feature for me is the estimated balance projection function (premium membership feature) that allows me to see when in the future I might have insufficient funds. This is all set up without having to create monthly budgets for spending that doesn't fluctuate from month to month. I love that I am not limited to balancing by accounts at home on one computer where Quicken is installed. ClearCheckbook has reports and budgets that are customizable like Quicken. While ClearCheckbook isn't as slick and doesn't have account aggregation like Mint or other financial apps, it is easy to use and free of ads.

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Scott Simpson
May 8th, 2017

I agree with the functionality described in this review but not with the rating at all. It is the ONLY tool with an iOS app out of the 20 or so I have tried or researched that provides free and family accessible (multiple people and devices) budgeting (envelopes, debt snowball, etc) and account balance tracking. Most tools sync with your bank accounts but make it painful or impossible to manually track spends (i.e. those gas receipts at the pump that show up as $1.00 for 3 days before finally posting the actual amount, emergency pointe shoe spends because "her backup pair was dead"). This tool is a cloud based shareable check book register and envelopes like budgeting system for families that don't get to spend as much time together discussing finances but share a primary account.

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Michael C
May 23rd, 2016 Leavenworth, KS

All I need is something simple. I don't do the whole complex personal-budget-done-right and all that other neat stuff. My personal finance goes this way: Income, Expenses, SAVINGS!!! Done. If you put a couple bucks away each month... I call it a good month. Thanks to CLEARCHECKBOOK.com for making this much easier task for me.

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