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Spend Analyzer Tool from Discover® Card
Published Friday, March 6, 2009 as a Paid Product Review

A Clear Colorful Tool

Where are you spending your money? That’s the million-dollar question on everyone’s mind these days. In an effort to cutback, conserve, or prioritize it’s necessary to see the whole picture. When it comes to money, in order to see where it goes, you need to know where it went.

That sounds so simple, but can be very cumbersome without the proper tools. One company that is making that easier to do is Discover®.

Discover® has created a Spend Analyzer, which can be found on their website under the Tools & Advice tab.

According to the site, “The Spend Analyzer makes it easier to track and compare your spending – so you can make smart choices.” The Spend Analyzer will allow you to “compare spending in different categories, such as gas or supermarkets…over different time periods.”

My husband and I have been Discover® Card-carrying members for over 15 years. We use the Discover® card for almost all of our everyday purchases: groceries, gas, and household essentials. It’s also our go-to card for fun things and big purchases like plane tickets or hotel accommodations. One of the things that attracted us to Discover® Card was their Cash Back Bonus program, which is essentially money in our pockets for things we’d be buying anyway.

I’ve been visiting the website every month for years, so I was excited to check out the new Spend Analyzer tool. I’m a sucker for graphs and charts, but I don’t have the patience for something that has a lot of steps or takes forever to load. I was curious to see how detailed it would be. Would it be helpful, fast, and easy to use?

Yes!

I was not disappointed. In fact, I’m impressed! The tool is located at the same place where I pay my bill online, so I didn’t have to learn any new usernames or passwords. The vivid colors assigned to each category make the graphs pop off the screen. The information loaded very quickly on my rather antiquated machine, and it was extremely simple to use. In no time, I had all kinds of information at the tip of my fingers with just a click of my mouse.

I could sort things by category and time-frame. Hovering the mouse over each item gave me more specific information, or I could click on the different items to get even more information. I could look at our spending habits for the month or a broader date-range.

This tool takes all the mystery out of the budget. The numbers are what they are, and seeing them in full color makes them easier to spot. Once you see them, it will be easier to prioritize them for the future.

What is the largest spending category? It’s right there. Where are we spending our money most frequently? It’s right there. How is this month differing from where we were last year at this time? It’s right there. How much does our spending change in a certain category throughout the year? It’s right there.

One of the most amazing things about the information I found was how well the Spend Analyzer sorts the different spending categories. For example, we go to a large name brand store that sells both household items and groceries. Sometimes the trips to that store are for things like toilet paper and shampoo, and other times, we also pick up some food while we’re there. The tool is intuitive enough to separate out those visits that were primarily household items and the visits that were for groceries. Amazing!

Are you the kind of person who prefers to hold the information in your hands? Do you need to flip through the pages and scribble notes directly on the paper or lay them out on the kitchen table to see the big picture? Well, the Spend Analyzer gives you that option, too. You can save and print the graphs and charts, and you can even choose which layout you prefer.

If you’re a current Discover® Card Member, check it out! You won’t be disappointed. If you’re not a Discover® Card Member, check out the demo! This could be a really cool tool for you to add to your budgeting process.

Whether you’re trying to get your finances under control, or you’re trying to see if the changes you’ve put in place to streamline your spending are working, or you’re just curious to see what your spending looks like in full-color, this tool is for you. The first step in a successful budget is getting a picture of where your money went, and the Spend Analyzer not only gives you a clear picture, it gives you one in vivid color.

For more info, click here for the Spend Analyzer Demo!

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This is a paid review from BlogHer and Discover.

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