A couple of months ago, I posted a list of 16 alternatives to Microsoft Money. GRS readers left nearly 200 responses evaluating the various personal finance programs available on the web and for the desktop.

One feature that many users crave is the ability to project their future cash flow. While it’s important to track where your money’s gone, some folks find it valuable to predict where money will go in the weeks or months ahead.

Why would you want to track your cash flow? The power of positive cash flow cannot be overstated. Back when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, I was spending as much as I earned. Or, more often, more than I earned. It was only when I was able to create — and maintain — positive cash flow that I could repay my debt and begin to save. Positive cash flow is how we build wealth.

Last week, I received a press release from an outfit called Green Sherpa touting their new personal-finance tool. Green Sherpa:

  • Uses a check-register format to track your transactions.
  • Automatically categorizes your spending.
  • Allows users to edit transactions and categories as needed.
  • Supports split transactions and bank reconciliation.
  • Allows users to set and track financial goals.

But the feature that caught my eye (and the reason I’m writing this) is Green Sherpa’s ability to project cash flow. This sounds like something that might be useful to certain GRS readers. Here’s how the website describes the functionality:

With Green Sherpa, budgets are a thing of the past, literally. Budgets only represent an AVERAGE, or IDEAL, month. In reality, cash flow is more fluid than that. Green Sherpa’s Cash Flow Projection feature allows you to create a forecast of future cash flow based not only on your historical spending but, more importantly, on your future PROJECTED expenses and income. This feature lets you enter one-time anticipated expenses, or create more complex structures such as bi-weekly or bi-monthly schedules.

I could see this tool being very useful for certain people, especially those who struggle to budget with an irregular income. If your income is variable, a cash-flow management tool can help you stay on-budget.

So, what’s the catch? Though nearly all of its competitors are free, Green Sherpa costs money. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial, but after that it’s $7.95 per month ($5.95 per month if you sign up for a year at a time).

Some of you will be happy to pay $7.95/month in order to obtain a good cash-flow projection tool. Not me. I’ll stick with desktop Quicken for now.