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Budgeting apps
Old 04-29-2019, 12:48 PM   #1
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Budgeting apps

Looking for recommendations, and is anybody using them? Seems none have great reviews, but understand when happy just go along and don't rate, but unhappy want to tell the world.
Computer consensus here seems to be Mint, Quicken, or spreadsheet. I only get on our computer about once a week so an app would be better, but if we have to use computer we could. Already use Quicken for investments, but not budgeting. Could upgrade to Quicken online status, or best rated app seems to be everydollar?? But at $129 a year seems very high, and Dave Ramsey has enough money without me giving him more.
Trying to get expenses exact with only around 1246 days to go. Thanks
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:56 PM   #2
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I switched from Quicken to AceMoney which can import from Quicken. I'm happy with it.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:59 PM   #3
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I still use Microsoft Money with an excel plug in that extracts the transactions into a spreadsheet I created to track the budget. I have 20 years of budget data available in Money
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:13 PM   #4
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We've been using YNAB for the last four years or so. We have the original software version which we love but they no longer do the software updates so I anticipate we will have to transition to the web based pay as you go plan.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:20 PM   #5
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We just use spending Tracker it's an app on the phone.

I just track every dollar spent. and see how much per category each month we have spent. It's handy free/cheap and works well.

I transfer the monthly sum of each of my 20 categories to the computer spreadsheet to have many years of values to compare and make nice pretty graphs.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:22 PM   #6
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Mint is not bad for your needs. I prefer Quicken, but it's not as automatic as Mint, or Personal Capital.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:45 PM   #7
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FYI the mint app works very well. I set up my mint account on a computer but often check spending etc on my Iphone.
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Old 04-29-2019, 02:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lawrencewendall View Post
I switched from Quicken to AceMoney which can import from Quicken. I'm happy with it.
Is AceMoney time-bombed like Quicken in terms of down loading of account data? It doesn't seem to be, but I would like to make sure before purchasing.
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Old 04-29-2019, 02:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by copyright1997reloaded View Post
Is AceMoney time-bombed like Quicken in terms of down loading of account data? It doesn't seem to be, but I would like to make sure before purchasing.
What do you mean by time-bombed? I can pick a time frame (YTD, last 30 days) or set dates.
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Old 04-29-2019, 03:03 PM   #10
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If you already have and use Quicken, I would use that. I’m assuming you use the check register function to recorded all your expenses? If not, you need to do that. Play with the accounts a bit to set up categories and you’ll be all set. We basically just download our transactions to a spreadsheet and analyze our spending.

Keep your categories limited to a small number. If you have a different category for every expense, your not really getting the benefit of a budgeting program. To me, there’s two basic categories, necessities and all other. Food, housing, transportation and medical are the main necessities. We probably have about 30 total categories.
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Old 04-29-2019, 03:10 PM   #11
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Regardless of what budgeting software you choose, the important thing is to start using one, get familiar with it and be consistent about using it and tailoring it in a way that feels right for you.

Id guess three months of experience with your data will give you a good base.
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Old 04-29-2019, 03:11 PM   #12
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I have never understood the need for this type of budgeting. 30 items?

Maybe I am lazy. The only thing I did was take a tape from my bank statement every month to see what our spending was. Only one number concerns me-the total spend. I still do it after 8 or so years of retirement. It takes five minutes a month max. We only care about the trend or the annual spend because monthly can fluctuate because of travel product purchases.

We were/are only interested in what the total spend was/is. We knew generally what was basic and optional. Plus our if we ever needed to our credit card also gave a breakdown. I cannot imagine breaking down, let alone tracking, our spending on food, restaurants, clothes, etc. Not sure what the purpose is. Sounds like a lot of extra work with no real value to me. We do, on a regular basis check on our recurring charges expense like cell, communication, insurance, etc but that is at most once a year to check on competitiveness/service, etc.

Am I missing something here?
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Old 04-29-2019, 03:13 PM   #13
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I used Quicken for awhile but really felt its budgeting was sub-par and I didn't like the interface. I used YNAB which is a subscription product. It works really well for short term budgeting (the next month or two) and for recording what I've spent and for looking up what I've spent. It is not great for forecasting, but doesn't pretend to be. So I use a spreadsheet for forecasting and that works great. I looked at Mint but too limited for budgeting.

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Originally Posted by brett View Post
I cannot imagine breaking down, let alone tracking, our spending on food, restaurants, clothes, etc. Not sure what the purpose is. Sounds like a lot of extra work to me.
Some people find it hard to imagine that other people have different needs and desires. I like having the historical information. I like being able to forecast future spending. To me, more data is better than less data. I also record everything I eat in MFP. I record workouts in my Apple Watch. I don't spend a lot of time on these things as most of it is very easy since I have done it for so long. If you don't find this type of information valuable and won't use it to make future decisions then you won't understand the purpose and it would be extra needless work for you. That is fine. But, for me, I do use this information on a daily basis so it is worthwhile for me.
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Old 04-29-2019, 04:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by brett View Post
I have never understood the need for this type of budgeting. 30 items?

Maybe I am lazy. The only thing I did was take a tape from my bank statement every month to see what our spending was. Only one number concerns me-the total spend. I still do it after 8 or so years of retirement. It takes five minutes a month max. We only care about the trend or the annual spend because monthly can fluctuate because of travel product purchases.

We were/are only interested in what the total spend was/is. We knew generally what was basic and optional. Plus our if we ever needed to our credit card also gave a breakdown. I cannot imagine breaking down, let alone tracking, our spending on food, restaurants, clothes, etc. Not sure what the purpose is. Sounds like a lot of extra work with no real value to me. We do, on a regular basis check on our recurring charges expense like cell, communication, insurance, etc but that is at most once a year to check on competitiveness/service, etc.

Am I missing something here?
See bolded above. I would agree that after 8 years of retirement that you should be comfortable budgeting at a very high level such as total spend. However, the OP is getting ready for retirement and the good models have categories of expenses and inflate the various categories differently (i.g. healthcare is inflated higher than food).

Not sure how you know “generally what was basic and optional.” if you only look at the total. Leads me to believe you categorize things more than you think. Just because you do it casually and do it in your head, doesn’t mean you’re not doing it.

Pre retirement categories were important. Post retirement, I primarily want to know the expenses that are needs so that if anything happens and I need to tighten up, I know what I need to do. For example, my total budget is $80K but my needs are about $50K. Transportation is about 10 percent of that. So, if times get tough, I’m working my way down to $50K. If the stuff hits the fan, I’m down to even less as I get rid of one car and tighten up on all else. Hopefully never happen, but there’s comfort, to me, in having a handle on it and having a plan.
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Old 04-29-2019, 04:21 PM   #15
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I mainly track total spend, not categories. I look at the monthly numbers but they can be very misleading due to several significant items that are paid quarterly and annually... plus the large discretionary items that have no specific timing.

We don't really constrain our spending to a budget. Basically, we have a non-discretionary baseline that rarely varies more than $1K or $2K per year. Then there's a huge discretionary bucket, which includes large items like travel, home improvements, a new car (this year), major repairs, etc.

At the beginning of each year, DW and I discuss and align on how to use the discretionary bucket. The new car this year means less travel but we still have some major home improvements that we will do, and there's a large plumbing repair that we've been deferring that we decided to get done.

Once a year in January, I update a bunch of spreadsheets that analyze spending by 19 categories. The category totals go into a master spreadsheet with almost 30 years of history in that format. This information sometimes motivates me to take certain actions like shopping the insurance or making some energy-saving repairs. But mainly I just track the annual totals relative to a figure that roughly aligns with what the various retirement tools say we can safely spend.
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Old 04-29-2019, 04:29 PM   #16
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Mint does the job for what I need. This may be an excellent poll question.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by copyright1997reloaded View Post
Is AceMoney time-bombed like Quicken in terms of down loading of account data? It doesn't seem to be, but I would like to make sure before purchasing.
I also tried Ace Money and found it clunky and primitive. Just another data point.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:23 PM   #18
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I like having the historical information. I like being able to forecast future spending. To me, more data is better than less data.
Good answer.
I break it into 11 categories.
*I don't include recurring monthly bills, like electricity, natural gas, car payments, house payments, etc*

Alcohol:
Automotive & Related: Gas, Carwash, Antifreeze, Bulbs, Tires, Washer Fluid, Repairs, Etc
Big Ticket Items: Appliances, Televisions, Sump Pumps, Etc (($300.00 Or More))
Charitable Giving:
Fast Food:

Gambling: Scratch-Offs, Pull-Tabs, Fantasy Football, Superbowl Numbers, Casino, Etc
Groceries:
Household Items:
Medical-Dental-Vision:
Miscellaneous: B-day & Christmas Presents, Printer Ink, Magazines, Stamps, Tax Software, Lawn Care, Snow Plowing, etc

Personal: Haircuts, Toothpaste, TP, Deodorant, Skin Lotion, Shampoo, Body Wash, Cologne, Clothing, Vitamins, Etc
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
I mainly track total spend, not categories. I look at the monthly numbers but they can be very misleading due to several significant items that are paid quarterly and annually... plus the large discretionary items that have no specific timing.

We don't really constrain our spending to a budget. Basically, we have a non-discretionary baseline that rarely varies more than $1K or $2K per year. Then there's a huge discretionary bucket, which includes large items like travel, home improvements, a new car (this year), major repairs, etc.

At the beginning of each year, DW and I discuss and align on how to use the discretionary bucket. The new car this year means less travel but we still have some major home improvements that we will do, and there's a large plumbing repair that we've been deferring that we decided to get done.

Once a year in January, I update a bunch of spreadsheets that analyze spending by 19 categories. The category totals go into a master spreadsheet with almost 30 years of history in that format. This information sometimes motivates me to take certain actions like shopping the insurance or making some energy-saving repairs. But mainly I just track the annual totals relative to a figure that roughly aligns with what the various retirement tools say we can safely spend.
So if you are spending more than your budgeted, your only action is "stop spending so much".

If you used categories you would know why, and could make appropriate specific adjustments.

I get that you may not see the value in doing so. I am trying to explain why I and others perceive value.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett View Post
I have never understood the need for this type of budgeting. 30 items?

Maybe I am lazy. The only thing I did was take a tape from my bank statement every month to see what our spending was. Only one number concerns me-the total spend. I still do it after 8 or so years of retirement. It takes five minutes a month max. We only care about the trend or the annual spend because monthly can fluctuate because of travel product purchases.

We were/are only interested in what the total spend was/is. We knew generally what was basic and optional. Plus our if we ever needed to our credit card also gave a breakdown. I cannot imagine breaking down, let alone tracking, our spending on food, restaurants, clothes, etc. Not sure what the purpose is. Sounds like a lot of extra work with no real value to me. We do, on a regular basis check on our recurring charges expense like cell, communication, insurance, etc but that is at most once a year to check on competitiveness/service, etc.

Am I missing something here?


+1. ....income-expense based on a well thought out budget. On track or not... I record every expense..only takes seconds in YNAB .
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