Buxfer (www.buxfer.com) is the free online personal finance software that I’ve been using for the past two years. It offers budgeting, planning and online money management. This is one of the best online finance tools for those who live outside US and/or prefer imputing bank transactions manually. The great and unique feature of this is the ability to track split bills and IOUs with friends and roommates, and this became very useful after I started sharing a house with friends.
Buxfer was launched in 2007, but due to unknown reasons (may be loosing popularity) the founders abandoned the project and left to work for Facebook. When this news got public I emailed one of the founders Shashank Pandit, and asked about the fate of Buxfer. His reply was,
From: Shashank Pandit
Date: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 4:41 PM
Subject: Re: Buxfer Closing Down
Rest assured, we will notify you if we were to shut the service down and give you the chance to download your entire data. For now, we don’t have any plans to shut down. Curious: where did you hear this from?
It was not until late 2010, I started having major problems with Buxfer. Random short outages were happening time to time, but it was acceptable until that point. But during the last week of 2010 things got messy and the website went down for more that two days. I thought this is my time to move on, and switched to a simpler Google Spreadsheet. I tried other similar websites, but only a few of them support non-US accounts and non of them have proper IOUs as Buxfer has. Managing too many transactions on a spreadsheet can be a pain, but it can be more reliable and in control than these cloud services.
Buxfer suffered another long outage during last week for four days, and even lost some of their data. They posted an update on my account that some transaction details were lost as a result of this. I checked my account to find that all my transactions after December 26th were lost. Luckily I downloaded all transactions on December 31st and started using Spreadsheets to manage my transactions from 2011.
Buxfer was offline for the last four days. Our hosting provider had severe availability issues because of which our servers were down. We had to migrate our service to new servers in order to get the site back up. In the process, some data might have been lost and we sincerely regret that.
One would not expect this from a finance software, but it’s explained by the following statement, which shows the current state of Buxfer as a company. For the first time they have accepted (even though it was already known) that this is now a part-time project for them.
Since the past year, Buxfer is being maintained part-time by one of its original founders. The goal of Buxfer is no longer to make a profit, but to continue to serve its users the best way it can. The membership fees we charge are barely sufficient to cover the costs of running this service. Many of you have written to us saying that it might be better to shut down the service instead of providing a service with lack of proper support. If that’s what most of our users feel, we are planning to shut down Buxfer in the near future.
I guess its time for another great service to part from the Internet. I believe this project could be open-sourced and live long as a personal hosted service. It’s unfortunate that a useful product like this is going to die, but its the way things are on the Internet, and we learn to live with it.