Do We Need an Alternative to BillMonk?

Topic: The Intarweb 11 years ago

It looks like BillMonk, which I rely heavily on, is slowly dying of neglect.

BillMonk’s Facebook application hasn’t worked for months now (check out the complaints!) and adding things to your Library by searching Amazon now never returns any results. The developers are nowhere to be seen.

BillMonk is full-featured, yet simple to use and was (as far as I know) the original ’social money’ application. Back then the developers were great, responding to feedback and fixing bugs. What a shame it all seems to have downhill since they were bought out by Obopay!

So what’s plan B?

Can’t We Just Keep Using It?

I’ll try and continue to use BillMonk, but this is problematic because I really need both the Facebook and standalone website interfaces, as more friends communicate via Facebook only and not email.

Moreover, who knows how long it will be until one day we wake up to find BillMonk has just stopped working or disappeared? Luckily, you can export all your BillMonk data, so you won’t lose previous transactions even if BillMonk ceases to exist one day. (I suggest all users of BillMonk start doing this. Seriously, who knows if its days really are numbered?)

How About the Alternatives?

A lot of people seem to recommend two alternatives: the flawed Buxfer and the simple Scred. Unfortunately, neither are good enough. For a start, neither of them allow you to track things you lend/borrow from friends, as oppose to money.

I evaluated Buxfer a long time ago and dismissed it. Today, I looked at it again and came to the same conclusion. It is slow and very much focused on tracking your entire financial life (e.g. expenses, bank accounts, etc) — something I have no need or desire for. It is also very US-centric and you can’t export data out of it unless you pay for their premium service.

Scred appears to be nice and free from bloat, but it is too simple. Its sparse look and feel also doesn’t really appeal to me. (The fact that it has a multi-platform mobile application that even works offline sounds great though!)

So What Do We Need?

To be honest, what we really need is just a clone of BillMonk that works. Its ability to track non-money transactions and itemised bills is what nobody else offers.

The one thing I don’t like about BillMonk is its Debt Shuffling feature. Its mechanism is not naturally intuitive and some of my friends hate it. I’d prefer a pool system, which is basically like a simple central pot of money between a group of friends and each person owes money to or takes money from the pot. (Incidentally, Buxfer and Scred offer this.)

I’m desperate enough to seriously consider writing a simple replacement myself… and I’d have a lot to learn since I’m not an application developer! Are there really no alternatives?

HALP! :|

Microsoft Marketing: Some of it Rocks! I Finally Have a Pair of Cons!

9 Comments Add your own

  • . Mikael Grave  |  11 years ago

    Hi Stephen,
    I suggest you have a look to Short Reckonings.
    Although it will probably not replace Billmonk, it focuses on one thing and aims at doing it in a simple and efficient way: managing group expenses. If you often have to share expenses with roommates, travel mates or co-workers, this tool will be the perfect companion of more comprehensive personal finance tools such as Mint and Buxfer.
    Short Reckonings is still a young application, but it is free and actively developed. Any suggestions to improve it in ways that would benefit to many are more than welcome!
    –Mikael

  • . Stephen Mok  |  11 years ago

    Hi Mikael… thanks for your comment. I actually looked at Short Reckonings yesterday as well! :) I didn’t mention it since I was really just talking about replacements at this point. I agree it looks like it could be a good companion with other tools though! Next time I have some group expenses to split, I’ll try out Short Reckonings as well and let you know if I have any feedback!

  • . Mikael Grave  |  11 years ago

    Thank you Stephen!

  • . Kristoffer Lawson  |  11 years ago

    Those guys from Short Reckonings sure are quick to respond to blogs (hi guys!) :-)

    Anyway, thanks Stephen for taking a look at Scred. I assure you that we are very busy working to develop the service. I’m not a fan of how the service looks either, but we have been focusing mostly on the technology side and are actively looking for arrangements to get better design in place. A good designer is what we lack.

    Naturally I wouldn’t recommend writing your own one, but keep in active touch with us and we will make Scred better. We’re in this for the long haul and with some pretty unique ideas, as you will find in the upcoming months.

    We are soon planning to launch a public API, which might interest you. We are looking to find a closed set of beta developers to test it out and offer their views.

    Apart from the ability to track items, and better look&feel, what else are you burning to get into Scred?

    PS. Scred also does automatic conversion of multiple currencies, which I believe even BillMonk didn’t do.

  • . Tharuka  |  10 years, 8 months ago

    I’m also wondering if billmonk is dying. The SMS interface doesn’t work (at least for me), there is not mobile interface.

    Maybe have a look at shareabill.com?

    But I’m still hesitating to make a switch. I don’t know if shareabill.com also shows me a graph of how much someone owed me over time. Nor do I know if it can track other things than money.

  • . Bucks 'n' Buddies  |  8 years, 9 months ago

    Try out the new Facebook Application as an Alternative to BillMonk

    http://apps.facebook.com/bucksnbuddies

  • . smarmy  |  8 years, 2 months ago

    If your friends don’t use non-facebook email and can’t understand debt shuffle then maybe you should look for friend alternatives too

  • . Anup  |  8 years ago

    well its still here :)

  • . Harry Mc  |  7 years, 8 months ago

    May as well throw in my 2c – we’ve just launched http://www.squarelater.com

    It’s super easy to use – just SMS us something like “paid £400 gas bill for the house” or “bought mike and kate lunch at $20″ and it will figure things out.

    You can connect to facebook so other people can log bills which you are a part of and they will show up in your dashboard

    You don’t even have to visit the site to get started, just SMS us at

    US: +1 818 3344225
    UK: +44 115 7070115

    cheers,
    Harry from squarelater.com

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