Budget

Project Management Template for Excel review

Project Management Template for Excel's name says it all: It adds a basic but flexible project management tool to Microsoft Excel, which is exactly where you need it. This Excel template from Business Spreadsheets is free to try for 30 days. It runs in Windows NT to 8 (including Server) and requires Microsoft Excel 97 or better.

Installing Project Management Template is extremely easy: Extract the zipped download and click it to open it in Excel. The first sheet, Resources, displays four modules: Project Parameter, Project Resources, Human Resources, and Control Panel. We entered a name, date, and preliminary … Read more

ViZi Budget review

ViZi Budget puts personal finance software where you need it most -- on your phone, right next to your wallet. This free (and ad-free) Android app manages your financial accounts; tracks income, expenses, and transactions; and creates reports.

Pros

All business: ViZi Budget's layout is plain but easy to read and navigate; just what we want in a personal finance tool (save the surprises for games). Best of all: no ads.

Customizable categories: The default Categories range from necessary expenses like Food to extras like Vacation, but it's easy to add custom categories for any expense you incur.… Read more

A super deal on super audiophile speakers

Ah yes, the Pioneer SP-BS21-LR -- it was love at first listen back in 2011 when I reviewed it as part of Pioneer's awesome SP-PK21BS six-piece, subwoofer/satellite home-theater system. I used the SP-PK21BS package as one of my reference speaker systems in reviews after that and was always amazed by the speaker's sound and build quality. The SP-BS21-LR speakers sold for $130 a pair. It was later replaced by the SP-BS22-LR, which is the current model (the SP-PK21BS package has also been discontinued). The old and current speaker models have the same retail price, $130 a pair, … Read more

Level Money for Android review

Level Money is a budgeting app that streamlines your savings plan and tells you how much you're allowed to spend.

Pros

Easy to follow: Level Money calculates your allowed spending through a rudimentary equation: Income - bills - savings = spendable money. It's a clear, distraction-free tool for common financial situations.

Short setup: Level Money's friendly guide and (mostly) easy setup process quickly integrates your financial information from various accounts. However, there may be extra steps, depending on your financial institution. Level's account-removal process is also accessible.

Visually intuitive: Level Money does a fantastic job of communicating … Read more

Schiit Audio's tiny, but powerful $119 tube headphone amplifier

Regular readers of this blog will recognize the Schiit name, I've covered a number of their headphone amplifiers and digital converters over the past few years. The newest little Schiit, the vacuum tube Vali, looks exactly like the company's $99 solid-state amp, the Magni, but the internal electronics are completely different. As I listened to them both and switched back and forth they sounded similar. I listened more and the Vali sounded a wee bit sweeter and richer. Not as big a difference as I would have thought, but different enough.

I liked it best with Grado headphones, … Read more

Review: Budget Calendar for Mac can display your bills and income in calendar format

Budget Calendar for Mac is a tool to help you keep track of your budget throughout the month. The interface allows you to easily add and remove bills and income, and it provides you with a clear picture of how your balance will look over time. It does not import information from your bank or credit card accounts.

When you initially open Budget Calendar for Mac, a window will pop up asking you to enter your beginning bank balance. From there, you will go to a calendar, which displays your balance for each day. Since you haven't entered any … Read more

5 apps to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions

Lose weight, stop smoking, save for a new house, organize your life: Your resolutions are set, and you have every intention of keeping them -- at least until life gets in the way. Don't give up on your goals before February, instead download a few apps that can nudge you in the right direction and coach you to stay on track.

I've rounded up five apps that can help you keep your resolutions, from quitting smoking to whipping your budget or body into shape. Share your favorite goal-oriented apps in the comments below.

Mint (Free) For managing your … Read more

U-Turn Orbit: An audiophile-quality turntable for $179

Most cheap turntables sound cheap -- they're rumbly, thin and distorted -- but the U-Turn Orbit Basic suffers no such faults. Before the $179 Orbit's debut, audiophile turntable prices started at around $400. And while used turntables might be a way to get into vinyl for less, turntables are rather delicate devices, so used buys can be risky. If you're ready to take the plunge and explore new vinyl frontiers, you need a decent turntable to hear what the fuss is all about. The Orbit Basic will take you there.

I first heard about the Orbit when … Read more

Mint app brings its money moxie to Windows Phone

Following in the footsteps of Vine and Instagram, another well-liked Android and iOS app has made the leap to Windows Phone. This time it's Mint, which makes its debut on both Window Phone 8 and Windows 8 today.

If you're not familiar, Mint is an online service that pulls in transaction data from your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans to help you keep track of your spending and create financial goals, such as paying down debt or saving for a new home.

The Windows Phone app comes five years after Mint launched its first mobile app, for the iPhone, … Read more

Koss KTX Pro 1 headphones offer spectacular sound for as little as $10

When I first set eyes on the Koss KTX Pro 1 headphones I wasn't expecting much. The silver plastic on-ear has an all-too-generic look, but as soon as I started listening the sound had my full attention; they were very decent! Most cheap on-ears sound claustrophobic and pinched, but the KTX Pro 1's sound was big and spacious. The 60-ohm design is exceptionally comfortable, and the foam ear pads exert minimal pressure, so you can wear these things for hours without fatigue setting in. Like all budget headphones the KTX Pro 1's cable lacks an inline mic … Read more