Debtinator Frequently Asked Questions
- General questions
- Is this program free?
- No. it's shareware. Fairly inexpensive shareware - only $27.95. You can evaluate a lot of the features, but if you want to really make use of it and use it long term, you're obligated to register. If you properly handle and pay down your debts, you can easily save hundreds or thousands of dollars and shave years off your payments. Surely $27.95 is worth that, right?
- How do I register?
- Multiple ways. Go to the application's preferences and hit the registration button. Or click on the included web shortcut. Or visit us at http://www.bassetsoftware.com/
- I'm paid twice a month - on the 15th and the 30th, how can I enter that?
- Just set this up as a custom repeating item. Show me how
I have seasonal income. I shovel snow in the winter, and mow lawns in the summer. How can I enter that?
My business' income is seasonal. I always have more sales in the fall than any other time of the year. How can I enter that?
My heating bill goes up in the winter and down in the summer. How can I enter that?
Just set this up as a custom repeating item. Show me how
Note that the defining bit of information is the dollar amount. So if your gas bill is $100/month in the winter and $25/month in the summer, you'd need to set up two different items for it - "Gas - Winter" and "Gas - Summer", for example. Then set each of those for the appropriate dollar amounts and the appropriate time periods.
- I'd like to have a multi user license. How do I purchase one?
- For that, you'll need to email me separately to arrange it, but I'll be happy to provide one.
- I'd love to see (insert cool feature) in the program!
- That's awesome. Please let me know. Naturally, We can't promise that all requests will make it into the application, but we certainly love to hear them. The more ideas we get, the better the program can become for everyone. Definitely send 'em in. Our track record is also pretty good on the subject - most things most people request make it in there.
- I need to set up maximum payments, right? Otherwise, I'll run out of money, right?
Actually, maximum payments aren't required to keep you from going bankrupt, the program's smart enough to pay as much as it can, but never so much that it can't cover the future.
If you set a maximum payment of $500, but can actually afford $600 w/o going bankrupt, the app will still only send $500 and keep that extra $100 in the bank.
If you can only afford $400 in a month, it'll only send $400, regardless of the max.
I put in the maximum payments option for cases where you have a debt in the middle of a reporting option that you want to "skip over".
For instance, your mortgage may have the 3rd highest interest rate of your debts, but you don't want to overpay on it ever, figuring that your money is better invested elsewhere. So you can set a maximum payment on the mortgage and then it'll get skipped over when a report is determining who to overpay. That way, you can run any report you want and it won't be overpaid.
But to keep you from going bust? Maximum payments aren't necessary in that case.
- My minimum fee is interest + a percentage of the balance. Can I do this?
Yes. On the debt screen, go to the complex view (the little gear button in the lower left). Choose the minimum payments tab, and then click on
the checkbox for "Interest accrued". When that box is checked, it will include whatever interest accrued in your payment.
You can then select "Sum of" and add in a percentage of the balance. Show me how
- Pay on most recent payday? What does that mean?
- Instead of letting funds sit in your bank account until the due date of your bills, you can just pay them as soon as you get paid. This way you avoid the temptation of spending it.
- Binding to payday doesn't work! I got paid on the 15th, and I buy gas once a week! The first time, it set the bill to the 15th, but the second it didn't. What gives?
- That's intentional. It won't shift a payment date to earlier than the previous event in the series. This pops up if an expense occurs more often than income does. It's assumed that expenses (or debts or transfers) are billable items and that you can't pay your second bill before you even get it, so it enforces you wait.
- Can I password protect my files?
Yes...but not from within Debtinator. This is something that's on my list of neat features that might be good to implement, but in all seriousness I'm
in the debt management business, not the encryption business, and I don't know if I want to try to implement security in this manner. If there's a huge public
outcry in favor of it, I could be persuaded to bump it up.
In the interim, here's a reasonably easy way to protect it (and anything else you want). Open up Disk Utility (Appilcations -> Utilities) and create a new disk image. Make it whatever size you think is appropriate and enable encryption. Then just copy whatever files you want onto the disk image and delete the originals.
To "lock" it, just eject the mounted disk image. Then, to re-access the files, double click on the image file and it'll prompt you for your password. And then you're good to go. Very standard, well implemented, solid encryption and password protection.
- Is there anything else I can do to manage my debt more effectively?
- You betcha! Call your creditors and negotiate lower rates. That is the #1 best thing you can do. If you have a credit card at 25% and you can knock it down to 14%, you've just saved a ton of interest. You may even end up restructuring how you pay your debts as a result. It never hurts to ask. The worst that will happen is they refuse, and if that happens you can always call back in 6 months and try again. Or, if possible, you can take your business elsewhere. Lending is a negotiation and everything is always subject to change. Just ask.
- I can't type in values greater than $999. What gives?
You're using a foreign currency format and not running 10.5.5. If you can upgrade your operating system to 10.5.5, then do so. Otherwise, please read on for a work around for earlier OSes.
This is Apple's bug, not mine. One of their developer technologies is called "Bindings" (don't worry about the specifics), but there's a bug in the implementation regarding bindings in conjunction with some international number formats. Basically, if you're using a currency format that uses spaces for your thousands separator (in the US it would be "$1,000", you may be using "$1 000"), it'll choke and refuse to use it. This issue has been resolved as of Leopard v10.5.5.
You can go into System Preferences and then International and choose English as your language, United States as your format, and US Dollar as your currency and the problem with go away. You may need to do this anyway, because other apps certainly can have this issue.
Alternativley, you can set an option to shut off currency localization only within Debtinator. Make sure Debtinator isn't running, and then open up Terminal (Go to your Applications Folder, and then Utiltiies, and then Terminal). From there, type in:
defaults write com.bassetsoftware.Debtinator usCurrencySeparators 1
That option makes Debtinator always use commas for your thousands separators and periods for your decimal separator. It shouldn't affect your currency symbol. Clearly not ideal, but it gets around Apple's bug.
To shut it off, make sure Debtinator isn't running, and then go back to terminal and type in:
defaults write com.bassetsoftware.Debtinator usCurrencySeparators 0
But upgrading to 10.5.5 or higher is clearly the optimal solution, if possible.
- My mortgage escrows taxes. How do I store this?
- On the debts screen, switch to the complex view. From there, choose the "Advanced Options" tab and then enter the escrow amount. There are additional report columns that are good to enable if you're using escrow values - it will break down the payment (say $1,000), and then how much went to escrow ($200), and how much went to your loan ($800).
- Something went wrong! My file's gone! Help!
Debtinator backs up your files for you as often as you'd like. Open up the Preferences, then choose Advanced Options. You can then choose to backup before every save (big safety net, but may be over kill)
or only before file format upgrades (which is always smart to leave on since it helps protect you from bugs). You can also choose the backup directory there, and open it up to recover a file that was damaged.
Of course, it's good to have your own backups via Time Machine or the like yourself, as well.
- I got a prompt about some items being archived because they're unactive! Where did they go?
If Debtinator sees something that it won't need to worry about again, it will archive it. Archived items are invisible, but still in the file. That way you can maintain a record of things
that you used to do, but don't handle any more.
For example, you could have set up a budget to handle Christmas expenses. You don't want to just delete it, since that would wipe out the transaction history. But you don't care about seeing it year after year either. So you can archive it, which hides it from view. You can always recover it by unarchiving it at a later date.
Most data in the system can be archived. Just right click on it and you'll get an option to archive it (or unarchive it, if it's already archived), and whether you want to display all data, or only unarchived data in the interface. Archived items show up highlighted in brown.
- I bought a license, but it's still telling me I need to register! What gives?
- You need to type in your license once you receive it. Launch Debtinator, then go to the Debtinator menu, and choose Registration. Type in your name and code there, exactly as listed in the email.
- I bought a license but it says the code is invalid! I want a new one!
- The code is fine. Just make sure that you type in your name and code exactly as listed in the registration email. I recommend cutting and pasting.
- I want my money back!
- Sorry, this is just too ripe for abuse, so we have a strict no refunds policy. You have plenty of opportunity to try out the app before you buy it, so make sure you're making the right decision. If you find any bug or have any problem, we're happy to work with you to isolate the issue and turnaround a fix. Bugs are normally fixed within hours of their being reported, so there's never much downtime. In short, don't worry, you won't be abandoned.