If you can’t get enough Facebook and are trying to improve your spending habits, you might like Geezeo.com. It combines the sort of tools you find at Mint.com and Quicken Online with the social tools of Facebook. The idea is to enlist your peeps to help you meet your goals.
Say you are trying to pay off your credit cards, build up a nest egg, or save for a vacation. Set up a goal at Geezeo.com and it links to your bank account and tracks your spending. Every time you make a credit card payment or contribute to your savings account (or whatever it is), Geezeo updates your goal so you get a visual on your creep toward fiscal success. You can invite your friends to your goals, too, so they can comment and cheer you on.
And if you just want to confess something fiscal to the crowd, there is a Facebook-like status update for that. I found browsing the confessions reassuring. My husband has a problem with grocery shopping, something I find hard to fathom. Shoes? Sure, I get how a girl could go overboard on those. Target? Yes, I completely understand going fiscally irresponsible there. But when it comes to groceries, I am all about the budget. When we run low on something, I look for an alternative. But he runs right out to buy more of whatever it was. And once he’s in a grocery store, his typical refusal to spend money on anything disappears completely. Even if we are fully stocked, he drops anything he wants in his cart and ends up toting out $100 worth of nothing (even if he only went in for beer) without once considering the grocery budget. But when I logged onto Geezeo.com today I realized that — even if I don’t getÂ him — he is not alone. In fact, a lot of people have trouble with this one. And moments after I started to “get him” based on the confessions of others, I found a suggestion from another user that might work for him: Give him a grocery budget and put that amount on a Visa check card. When that runs out, he has to stop buying groceries or he can’t have more beer.
I found Geezeo.com worrisome, though. The idea of a crowd of internet peeps gazing at my financial data set off a lot of red flags for me â€“ despite all the assurances about security. And when you state a goal, everyone can see it â€“ and comment on it. This leads to lively discussion and advice swapping but it made me very nervous. How much information could other people see about me? To find out, I invited a friend to view my goals and asked him what he could see. “Nothing. Just this goal,” he said. “There is almost no information about you at all.” He had to create an account and log in to see that. I suppose that made me feel a bit better but…
Another problem I had with Geezeo.com was its complete failure to accurately categorize my spending. It seemed to think every transaction was “food.” That not only made the grocery-budget-problem look much worse than it actually is, it meant I had to manually tag each transaction before I could set up a meaningful budget or goal. I have used most of the other online financial tools and they all managed to categorize my spending fairly accurately.
It did link very nicely with my accounts, though, something that was a bit glitchy at a couple of other sites I’ve tried.
Despite my reservations, I amÂ enjoying the support I’m getting from the crowd on paying off a credit card and saving for our next vacation. Achieving a goal is sweet. Getting a big cheer at the finish line is even sweeter.