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Anyone envelope budget / bucket budget? Seeking a way to replace YNAB
Old 09-05-2016, 05:17 PM   #1
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Anyone envelope budget / bucket budget? Seeking a way to replace YNAB

Part of what helped us get to where we are is curtailing our spending years ago and going on an envelope budgeting type system. Not the actual envelops with cash in them for different categories, but using electronic software.

That software, YNAB, went subscription based this year (with less features) and I am searching for an alternative. But more than not really wanting to pay a monthly fee, I also am not sure what to do with money that pools.

For instance, we don't need to move funds from investments to our checking to only assign into a category that won't be used for years (new car) or months and months (home repairs).

We both feel better being proactive, as in assigning X amount of money in 20 or so categories, then tracking that amount. This gives peace of mind knowing we have Y amount of money in a category before spending it. The services such as Mint or our credit card that categorize spending is looking backwards, not forwards. Not the same peace of mind / knowing exactly where you are.

Did anyone use YNAB? Do you still?
If you use something else to keep track of spending categories, what is it?
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:23 PM   #2
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When I left using Quicken (got more detailed than I really wanted), as I was looking I downloaded and wanted to try envelope budgeting with free software. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how software/system worked. Figured that was a blind spot on my part as many of the reviewers said they loved the software and made perfect sense.

I ended up using a program (Windows only) called Budget Advisor (not free, about $25, one time purchase, but free trial) which works fine for my needs. Been using Budget Advisor for years.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:27 PM   #3
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I ended up using a program (Windows only) called Budget Advisor (not free, about $25, one time purchase, but free trial) which works fine for my needs. Been using Budget Advisor for years.
I'd hoped whatever solution I have would allow smartphone access, but I will look at Budget Advisor too.

I don't mind paying for a product, just YNAB's going to a subscription based model that was more $$ than paying for updates every 2 years, while at the same time removing functionality and adding in stuff that was superfluous, ... let's just say I am vetoing them.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:51 PM   #4
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I stuck with old, pre-subscription ("Classic") YNAB and am keeping it until it is pried out of my cold, dead fingers.

You can probably fire up your old YNAB and just start a new budget.

Then again, I've never worried about downloads or a version to run on my cell phone.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sunny View Post

We both feel better being proactive, as in assigning X amount of money in 20 or so categories, then tracking that amount. This gives peace of mind knowing we have Y amount of money in a category before spending it........
If you use something else to keep track of spending categories, what is it?
I've commented on other threads that I am a zealous budgeter. Repeating monthly bills such as utilities basically stay in our money market account. But we also have a "Less Frequent Bills" budget sitting in Ally earning some interest. I track the components on a spreadsheet So, at any given time we know how much we currently have for car expenses (repair and replacement), vacation, large home repair/maintenance bills, etc.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:46 PM   #6
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I created a really simple budget system years ago and it is going to help me retire at a relatively young age of 58. I run it off a Google Docs spreadsheet. I have only 8 categories or envelopes. The first one filled is always savings. I lump a number of things into what I pay via credit card and the rest are utilities, HOA, etc. I also have a mad money category. Once I meet my savings goal and pay all my bills, anything left over goes into mad money. We take vacations from the mad money fund, fund cars, buy one off stuff and truly "mad" things. The end result is I always meet my savings goal (about 70% of take home pay), pay all my bills and still have money left to just spend for whatever we want, all with only managing 8 categories. We never overspend and almost always have funds each month to contribute to the mad account.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:54 PM   #7
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My Mother did it in the 1940's, 50's, 60's etc. Used real envelopes. Part of where I learned cheap er frugal growing up.

heh heh heh - I guess some things never go out of style.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:59 PM   #8
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I've never found budgets to be useful. I've always been frugal and never spent money on things that were out of my financial abilities. If I did put a budget together, I suspect it would remind me that I'm not spending enough in certain areas, which might encourage me to spend more than I really have any desire to.

For folks who struggle with overspending, I'm sure they can be useful. If I did have to put one together, I'm sure an Excel spreadsheet would work fine. I do use quicken, but I've never taken the time to set up the budgeting feature in it.


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Old 09-05-2016, 08:56 PM   #9
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This one started about a year ago - EveryDollar - Dave Ramsey Budget Tool - daveramsey.com

I used this for a while when it first came out and it has a lot of nice features. It's free to use. If you want it to connect with your bank there is a small fee.

I liked this one but stopped using it because we only have 10 bills a month and except for one bill, our city utilities, the bills are the same every month.

We do use a cash system for 2 categories, Groceries and Other, which for us is just miscellaneous local cash spending that doesn't fit in the Groceries category. I have a large index card box with dividers and I put a months worth of cash for Groceries and Other in the box and just keep the cash and a list of what it's been spent on throughout the month.

DH felt detached from household finances when we used credit or debit cards and said he'd pay attention to money if it was actual cash. So I made the change so that he would (or would pretend to) get involved. Then I decided I also like using cash.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny View Post
I'd hoped whatever solution I have would allow smartphone access, but I will look at Budget Advisor too.

I don't mind paying for a product, just YNAB's going to a subscription based model that was more $$ than paying for updates every 2 years, while at the same time removing functionality and adding in stuff that was superfluous, ... let's just say I am vetoing them.
Budget Advisor is just a buy once, use program indefinitely software. Simple budgeting, no pulling info from online accounts or anything. For me, all I really need though no need to reinvent the wheel, IMO.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:18 PM   #11
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I have used YNAB for years. I don't actually mind the subscription model but tried the new version and didn't like the lesser functionality. So I've kept my Classic version and it still works fine. At some point I guess it won't but for now it does so I'm sticking with it. I looked at alternatives and didn't like anything. They are adding more features to the new subscription based program (and I really liked its mobile app) so I may try it again in awhile and see if it has gotten to a spot where it is OK for me.


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Old 09-07-2016, 12:07 PM   #12
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You may also want to look at MoneyDance. A Quicken "lookalike" in all functionality except reports, which are somewhat limited. You can buy once and never update without fear that you will lose functionality. They also have compatibility with smart phones.

They upgrade yearly, but offer free upgrades to those who bought the upgrade the year before. So, if you are sure you need an upgrade in year three, I believe it's offered at 50% off. They have an active community on their site, where you can ask questions and get answers from users or the technical staff.

Current price is $49.99. See moneydance.com
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:46 PM   #13
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Moneydance has served me very well for about five years now.
I especially like using its smartphone app to enter transactions on the spot and have them instantly synced with my laptop at home.

Its budgeting functionality is simple but effective.
It also lets me use the one basic interface for all my financial accounts (banks, credit cards, brokerages, loans, etc.)

I recommend it, and you can try it for free.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:54 PM   #14
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We use a combination of Quicken (2010 version) and Excel spread sheet for the monthly budget items. Basically it just shows our monthly income and then the anticipated bills for the month, then recalculates discretionary money we have left.
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Old 09-07-2016, 02:04 PM   #15
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We use a combination of Quicken (2010 version) and Excel spread sheet for the monthly budget items. Basically it just shows our monthly income and then the anticipated bills for the month, then recalculates discretionary money we have left.

We use this exact method minus the Quicken.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:42 AM   #16
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I use the envelope system with two Excel spreadsheets, one for tracking the expense and the other to track the balances for each envelope. All I do is enter the data into the Expense spreadsheet and the linked Balance spreadsheet is automatically updated. The actual money is pooled together into checking and savings accounts.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:56 AM   #17
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I recently hooked a tenant up with Mint, because she's having so much trouble understanding why she can't make her payment. I had to explain to her how envelope budgeting worked, and this helped:

https://storify.com/austinginder/env...nside-mint-com

I really like the mobile app: https://www.mint.com/
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:28 AM   #18
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We don't really budget in the classic sense, meaning we don't let a budget dictate our spending. We do track expenses by category and use this to make long-term projections. We use Fidelity Full-View to track and categorize transactions, and then transfer monthly category totals to Excel. Occasionally, if one particular category is trending up or down relative to history, DW and I will have a discussion and decide to either adjust our spending a little or start projecting the new level of spend.

We keep enough in our Fidelity cash management account to cover 3 months expenses, and another 4-5 months at Ally earning 1%. We make no attempt to set money aside for specific purposes. We just spend what we want and replenish those 2 accounts when necessary. Once or twice per year, I update the projections in Excel and make sure the overall retirement plan is sustainable.
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:04 PM   #19
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Another one sticking with YNAB Classic. If it stops working I might try to roll my own in a spreadsheet. That is what YNAB used to be before they made the app.

I think maybe you can download the spreadsheets from YNAB if you like.
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:07 PM   #20
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Add me to the list of people sticking with YNAB Classic. All functionality including mobile still works fine (for now). Have not found anything that works nearly as well.


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