Not everyone has the time or patience to deal with a full-blown personal financial application. One of the key benefits of using such a program is that it can give you a more accurate position of your personal finances than relying on a local ATM or your online bank account. But that means having to update it whenever you make a transaction, which requires a certain amount of discipline on your part.
Chronicle takes a slightly different, and more hands-off approach – it's designed solely to remind you what bills are due, when they're due and how much you'll need to pay. If you're regularly paying out $30 or more in late payment fees then it'll pay for itself within weeks of being installed.
It's incredibly simple to use: input your monthly salary, then start creating bills: name, category, when they're due, how much you pay and how the bill is paid – if it's done online, insert the URL and then when the bill's due, clicking the Pay button whisks you off to the website. Double-click a bill to reveal more information about it, and to view your payment history. You can also set goals here – a great way to try and pay off debts or build your savings over a specific period.
The program will remind you whenever a bill is due to be paid – reminders are automatically added to iCal and will sync to your iOS device ensuring you're always on top of things. Although the program is primarily geared towards dealing with regular bills, it also makes sense to use it to record one-off transactions too, like fuel, food and entertainment. That way you get to keep an accurate picture of the overall state of your finances. And while Chronicle may lack the bells and whistles of more powerful personal financial tools, its simple, intuitive approach to budget-making is more than adequate for the average family household.
The trial version runs for 30 days, and Chronicle is sold on both the Apple App Store and through its own website – the App Store version is cheaper, but doesn't feature the Chronicle Agent, which provides alerts through the menu bar.