Chronicle: An elegant way of tracking your bills

Sang Tang
S. Tang|04.25.10

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Sang Tang
April 25th, 2010
Chronicle: An elegant way of tracking your bills

Let's face it: paying bills is not fun. There's the $75-plus monthly AT&T bill (assuming $40 voice + $30 data + $5 text messages) for your iPhone, the $25-plus broadband bill that your iPhone, iPad, and Mac use, as well as a host of other recurring bills that make life that much more fun and, well, livable: gas, electricity, water, car payments, etc. While paying your bills and watching your bank account decrease at the same time may not necessarily be fun, LittleFin Software's Chronicle makes it a bit more enjoyable.

It goes without saying that there exists a host of personal finance apps and services, such as Intuit's Quicken and While both are feature rich and do a great job at effortlessly tracking your spending habits as well as suggestions on how to save money, they may not suit everyone's needs. If all you want are simple reminders that a bill is due, and an easy way to track it, then Chronicle may be the app for you.

While Chronicle does mainly one thing -- tracking and paying bills -- it does it very well. This is facilitated by an elegant and intuitive user interface that requires very few clicks to get from Point A to Point B. An "Overview" dashboard allows you to look at the bills paid during the month with their amount, as well as bills that will be due soon. Adding a bill is as simple as clicking on the "New Bill" button. There, you enter the name of the bill, its recurring schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, and twice per month), and have options for the bill amount, URL, notes and reminders. With reminders, you have the option of receiving a reminder for when a bill is due, and can set the interval for this reminder. This reminder comes in the form of an iCal reminder, as Chronicle will create its own calendar in iCal, which you can sync with your iPhone.

Chronicle tracks each bill that's been paid and logged on a monthly bar chart. And if you're working toward paying off a rather large bill, say a car payment, there's the option to set a "goal." There, an updated pie chart shows your progress toward paying it off.

However, Chronicle is not withouts its faults, and one annoyance is the size of the icons of bills. When adding a bill, associated icons are 16x16 pixels small, making them difficult to distinguish from each other. However, LittleFin says that it may allow an option for different icon sizing in a future update.

Often, tech products and services are judged against each other by the sheer number of features they offer: the one with more features is the bigger dog, and many times is triumphant in comparisons. However, sometimes delivering more feature brings less of a user experience. Chronicle turns this on its head by offering a more rich user experience by going feature-less.

Chronicle is available for $20.95 at LittleFin's website. However, TUAW has 10 copies to give away to readers. Here are the details of the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, leave a comment telling us about the bill you least look forward to paying.
  • The comment must be left before Wednesday, April 28 , 2010, 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Ten winners will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Prize: One license for a copy of Chronicle, a $20.95 value.
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