CommonCents

CommonCents

Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 32 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
4.12.73.818
File Size:
12.69MB
Date Added:
August 13, 2014
Price:
Free to try (45-day trial); $44.95 to buy (Buy it now)
Operating Systems:
Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7/8
Total Downloads:
40,920
Downloads Last Week:
64
Product ranking:
Additional Requirements:
Microsoft.NET 4.0

Editors' review

CommonCents from EnDevelopment is a personal financial tool based on the tried-and-true envelope budget system, which traditionally involves putting money for expenses aside in paper envelopes so that you're forced to live on whatever is left over. Such cash-oriented budgets enforce old-school financial discipline, but they have limitations, especially when it comes to record-keeping. CommonCents improves the envelope method with a comprehensive suite of tools for managing everything from cash and credit cards to banking, loans, and mortgages, not to mention complete transaction histories and real-time account and envelope balances.

CommonCents' main interface, My Vault, features a main display divided into four resizable panes. The program's main view and its general approach toward recording and displaying information is an interesting hybrid of spreadsheet and Windows app, with a tree view for navigation plus customizable tables that have the familiar feel and functions of a spreadsheet program, such as Excel. The program is divided into 11 Managers that configure and control not only the Vault but also Account, Envelope, Income, Budget, Backup, Reconciliation, and other features. Clicking each calls up a dialog with checkboxes and other options that simplify setting up your personal information: You just check or uncheck items as needed. There doesn't seem to be anything left out, from Dining to Insurance to Taxes, but you can assign any expense or item you need to. Indeed, we were particularly impressed with the way this program manages to combine the total flexibility of a spreadsheet tool with excellent assistance and ready-made solutions. It had us budgeting in no time flat, and it shows the real appeal of the envelope method.

Nearly everyone can benefit from a good budgeting tool. CommonCents' combination of comprehensive coverage, flexibility, and ease of use with the commonsense envelope method definitely sets it apart from the crowd and earns our recommendation.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of CommonCents 3.3.73.520. The trial version is limited to 60 days only.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

    Results 1-10 of 32

  • 2 stars

    "Visually Nice but Lacking Functionality"

    March 02, 2014   |   By farnkc

    Version: CommonCents 4.10.71.808

    Pros

    Very appealing to the eye.
    Clean and well laid out.
    Easy to start fresh and use.

    Cons

    Won't import QIF files properly.
    Won't allow transfers in paycheck splits.

    Summary

    I am looking to replace Quicken and attempted to use CommonCents. It is very appealing to the eye and has a clean interface. Envelopes are easy to set up and buttons are all in the right place. But the multiple attempts to import data from Quicken failed. I tried multiple formats. Any progress made was mostly manual. I imported/entered 1.5 months of data but could not get the numbers in all accounts/envelopes to work out. A major show stopped for me was the inability for CommonCents to transfer splits out of my paycheck to multiple savings accounts; CommonCents insisted all items in the split be assigned a category, not a transfer. This isn't real life for me. Sorry to not be able to use this software as it's visual appeal made it pleasant.

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  • 1 stars

    "pathetic support"

    January 11, 2014   |   By raghu_tandon

    Version: CommonCents 4.8.66.733

    Pros

    nice outlook. nice features specially the % section in budgiting.

    Cons

    I contacted the support staff through the ticket section. its been five days. i also sent a reminers. no response till date. pathetic pathetic support. certainly not purchasing this product.

    Summary

    use it only if u r a computer wizz. if u r looking for technical support better u knock on some other door steps.

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  • 5 stars

    "Excellent personal budgeting tool"

    June 22, 2013   |   By eld128

    Version: CommonCents 4.3.52.636

    Pros

    Intuitive user interface, robust, excellent support

    Cons

    Split transaction window slow to open

    Summary

    I have used envelope style budgeting for many years, and see it as the best way to manage one's finances. Financial management software by big name suppliers (such as Quicken) do not support this approach, so I've used several programs by smaller vendors over the years. I have used CommonCents for about four years now, and am very satisfied. For the majority of my work, entering transactions and tracking account and envelope balances, I find the user interface intuitive and efficient -- easily the best of any other program I have used. It is easy to store and execute common transactions for speed and consistency. Auto-complete features have gotten even better with version 4, and really make the job easy. When I first explored using the program (version 2.0), I had trouble installing it, which proved to be a problem with my computer rather than the software. Nevertheless, the customer support was great and solved the problem. I have had no problems since; the program does what it is supposed to do reliably.

    There are web-based alternatives, but you are out of luck whenever the network connection is slow, the server is down, or the provider decides to call it quits (you could lose years of records). I believe you're better off with a program you control on your machine. As an experienced user who has tried several alternatives, I think CommonCents is the best available.

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  • 1 stars

    "No support, restore from backup doesn't work"

    May 17, 2013   |   By cman1391

    Version: CommonCents 4.3.51.634

    Pros

    Easy to install, easy to use. It did a good job reporting my expenses and gave a detailed report of where my money was going.

    Cons

    Had a system crash last month, but save the data to a backup drive. Common Sense could not restore from the backed up data (Data Vault). I was able to get around this by copying the entire vault from a backed up zip drive. I was unable to recover the user key so I used the trial copy and submitted a critical help desk ticket. No reply at all.

    Summary

    I would not recommend this software. I am transitioning to either Hello Wallet or Quicken.

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  • 5 stars

    "Great for budgeting for online payday loans"

    May 15, 2013   |   By Payday-Loans-Online

    Version: CommonCents 4.2.46.580

    Pros

    Great software for budgeting finances.

    Cons

    No cons found

    Summary

    Lacey S.
    <a href="https://www.loanmeit.com>Payday-Loans-Online</a>

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  • 1 stars

    "Losing functionality with new versions"

    April 22, 2013   |   By cnetmilo

    Version: CommonCents 4.2.46.580

    Pros

    Cheap
    Option for manual import or automatic
    Lots of envelopes and accounts allowed
    Easy envelope setup, transfers

    Cons

    Reporting is abysmal
    New version messed up manual imports

    Summary

    Version 3.0 of this software was okay, but not great. The user interface was clunky and buggy, variously requiring the use of arrow keys and tab key to modify and move between fields. Screens would automatically scroll to the bottom after data entry, rolling the edited field off the screen. Worst of all was the reporting. All reports were done through generation of a .pdf file. To view the report on screen required the use of the "Preview" button, which showed just that - a preview of a .pdf file. This was on top of the fact that the report options were ridiculous. There was no way to show expense trends or envelope balances over several months. That, to me, is one of the most useful things about an electronic budget record - being able to get a picture of my expenses over different time periods and using different parameters (by bank account, by envelope, by payee, etc.) It was possible to generate a report for any given time period (e.g. a certain month, last 3 months, 3rd quarter of last year), but these reports simply showed every transaction in that time period. So a report of the last 3 months showed dozens of transactions in each envelope, but without any breakdown by month or even a total expenditure for that time period. The report formats were equally frustrating. A "report" would generate a tabular list of expenses that could span 1/2 dozen pages. This is not a convenient way to visualize expenses and get an understanding of where my money goes. A "graph" would create a pie chart and a legend. Given that I have 30 or more envelopes, the pie chart tended to repeat or have very similar colors, making it impossible to match the pie color to the color in the chart. Neither the pie nor the legend were ordered by value, so I couldn't even easily determine the envelopes with the highest expenses.

    Unfortunately, version 4.0 kept all of those problems but also messed up the manual import capability. When I download transaction data from my banks and try to import it, the "Payee" field is not filled in. Thus, I have to try to categorize my transactions using only the date and amount of the transactions. I don't know who remembers their transactions using only that data. I tried 3 different file download types (.qif, .qfx, and .csv) but none of them worked.

    At version 3.0, I would have given this software 3 stars because of its potential. Seeing the "improvements" that have come with the new version, this software no longer has any value for me and does not offer any hope of getting better.

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  • 1 stars

    "Importing data from financial institutions impossible"

    April 06, 2013   |   By BigDogScruffy

    Version: CommonCents 4.2.46.580

    Pros

    I wouldn't know.

    Cons

    Wasted 45 minutes trying to import data from my financial institutions. Only 2 even appeared to be recognized by the program. The program could not connect with either. I'm not interested in manually entering all this data. Discarded the program and cut my losses at this point.

    Summary

    Good luck importing data.

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  • 5 stars

    "Outstanding and very Powerful Budgeting tool"

    February 08, 2013   |   By hchudson1246

    Version: CommonCents 3.13.99.667

    Pros

    Outstanding customer support
    Has all you need in one easy to use bundle
    Intitutive approach to budgeting
    Everything on one screen makes learing and use easy
    Ability to import statements is a definite plus

    Cons

    I really cannot think of any

    Summary

    When I originally started Budgeting, I could not find asnything that met my needs, therefore I wound up writing my own under VB.net. When I transistioned to Windows 7, my budget programs would not work, therefore I went in search for another one. I tried YNAB as well as looking at others. YNAB was extremely difficult to use, others lacked the features that I needed. I was beginning to think I one again would be unable to find anything. I come accross CommonCents, and discovered right away that it was what I needed. I have read reviews that says it is difficult to use, I find the oppposite, it is actually extremely EASY to use. Everything you need is right in fron of you. You do not need to go thru multiple menus to get to where you want to go. It has a outstanding import capabiity to allow you to import bank transactions. I had one issue when I was trying it out, and to my amazement I had a reply the next morning! I do not believe I have ever had this kind of response from a software company. It appears to be bug free and oes not appear to be any glitches. All in all, I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to get their finances under control. As with any software with the features that CommonCents has, you will need to take time to learn it, but when you do, I believe you will find, as I found, it is really easy to use. It is well worth the $34.95 that you will to pay for it!

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  • 5 stars

    "Powerful and easy to use (once it is understood.)"

    December 05, 2012   |   By jayvee1000

    Version: CommonCents 3.13.99.667

    Pros

    Easy set-up and access to all accounts and easy entering of data. Great budgeting using envelopes with continued visualisation of status. Excellent reports which can be tailored and memorised as neccesary. No problems with importing bank transactions.

    Excellent tutorials on the Web Site. A searchable help file is very well written and has not let me down.

    Cons

    Different from all the others and takes a bit of getting used to but it is well worth the effort.

    Summary

    Microsoft Money won't run under Windows 8 and I have spent a lot of time finding a replacement. CommonCents is the only one which ticks all the boxes.

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  • 3 stars

    "Robust but kludgy and hard to understand"

    November 27, 2012   |   By kyle_powderly

    Version: CommonCents 3.13.99.667

    Pros

    Very robust feature set; one of the few envelope-based personal financial applications that doesn't require web/cloud-based use or storage

    Cons

    GUI is crowded; input and reconciliation methods are awkward to set up; sometimes hard to make heads or tails out of a button, menu, or feature; not at all intuitive to use; Help file lacks search capability; cannot edit a transaction when viewing in an envelope; no on-line forum or operational FAQ or such; would love to see a mobile app developed for use on iOS and Android

    Summary

    There are few personal finance software applications out there for people who use the envelope system of budgeting, and almost all of them require the user to do their work on-line. For those of us not comfortable with the security (or lack of it) in on-line systems, CommonCents offers an affordable and robust PC-based application. There is a LOT of power under CC's hood, and possibly more features than the average home user will ever employ, but it's good they're there.

    The downside is this program seems to never have been tested on people who didn't actually build it and know it's inner workings. Set-up takes some work, and the learning curve is steep. There is a LOT on-screen at one time, which is not bad in-and-of itself but the screen real estate comes across as very cluttered...a question of aesthetics and design. Some features are not readily apparent nor found easily.

    The Help feature is thin...there's no ability to search for a specific question or problem. The tutorials at Commoncentssoftware.com are nice, but there needs to be help beyond that. The FAQ at enDevelopment's website is a handful of questions designed to get the visitor to buy the product, there are no usage FAQs, and there is no forum or other community for user-to-user support.

    Five stars for robustness and capabilities; minus two stars for it being difficult to use.

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  • Results 1-10 of 32

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