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Balance your bucks with Buxfer

Tracking personal and shared expenses online is easy with Buxfer, as long as you don't need any fancy accounting.

Buxfer home page
CNET Networks

Don't expect to get an online version of Microsoft Excel when you join Buxfer, a site to track shared bills and expenses. In fact, don't expect much beyond basic features when managing a shared bill, a personal expense, or an incoming or outgoing money transfer. Competing with other finance-sharing sites such as BillMonk and iOweyou, Buxfer is best suited for roommates and groups of friends who share expenses and want to sort out the bills later.

Buxfer's math genius automatically splits the cost of your rent and groceries among participants into either equal or weighted shares. A quick glance at your contact list summarizes who owes whom and how much, which is nice if you're in the green and a wake-up call if you're in the red. I liked being able to input a tag, descriptions, and notes into a transaction, edit and e-mail transaction details, and print entries.

Buxfer transaction page
CNET Networks

The online app has a few issues. It's obnoxious that logging an expense to your mom requires you to provide her e-mail address, which also spawns an invite for her to join Buxfer. That seems like a cheap tactic for snaring users.

Even more frustrating is the fact that there are no itemization features. Imagine that a group goes on a road trip that incurs a variety of expenses. Each "payer" can be tapped for one reimbursable total and one description per transaction. You can lump your descriptions and sums together in one transaction and total them yourself, or you can create individual transactions for every single trip expense, a process that clutters rather than simplifies. However, the tool is still a work in progress, as IE 7 errors attest. So far Buxfer is useful to a point, but it needs a deeper feature set.