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View Poll Results: How Do You Track Your Personal Spending/Budget
Quicken (or another commercial software package) 85 60.71%
My own spreadsheet or other home-grown solution 37 26.43%
Other, not worried about it, my balances are all positive... 18 12.86%
Voters: 140. You may not vote on this poll

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IBank
Old 02-25-2012, 09:05 PM   #41
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IBank

With so many MAC users out there I'm surprised there is no comment about IBANK. Lion works much better with IBANK than Quicken and there is an easy conversion. Although not perfect I really like using it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:05 PM   #42
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I used MS Money for many years to track my investments. Even when I did not trade, I still wanted to know my daily net worth, which was spread out across his/her 401k's, TIRAs, Roth IRAs, brokerage accounts, I-Bonds, etc...

My wife, who has always been taking care of bills and expenses, has her own spreadsheet to keep track of outgoing money. As we always under-spent our income (except the times when there was no income and we had to live off our savings), we never had a budget, and this was more for accounting and tracking purposes.

I switched to Quicken 2 years ago, when MS Money went defunct. This time, I set up Quicken so that it also downloaded our checking account and American Express card transactions.

With Quicken's auto-categorizing the expenses, without doing any manual entry, I can now see what we spent on food, gasoline, insurance, etc... Occasionally, I would go in to re-classify some expense items, such as separating out fuel and maintenance cost for the RV from those for the cars for better tracking. I would be too lazy to do what my wife does with her spreadsheet.

The ability to call up any past expense item or category is really neat. I have always underestimated what we spent for any category. None of this knowledge has changed our spending habits yet, but it is interesting to see where our money goes.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:08 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by joeprintz View Post
With so many MAC users out there I'm surprised there is no comment about IBANK. Lion works much better with IBANK than Quicken and there is an easy conversion. Although not perfect I really like using it.
You do have a friend on this thread who also uses ibank

Poll: Do you use Quicken (or commercial equiv) to track spending/budget?
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:22 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by joeprintz
With so many MAC users out there I'm surprised there is no comment about IBANK. Lion works much better with IBANK than Quicken and there is an easy conversion. Although not perfect I really like using it.
I just started using iBank 4, importing 18 years of banking and investment history from Quicken with only a little fiddling needed. Mostly stuff like changing "Buy" to "Buy to Close" on option activity and similar corner case stuff.

Quicken 2007 was the last Mac version other than the almost useless Quicken Essentials, and it doesn't run on the latest versions of the Mac operating system. Quicken Essentials can't track investments beyond downloading and showing your portfolio current value. Cost basis? Whazzat? Rumor is that now that the company that does iBank has hired two Mac programmers from Intuit, the Quicken company, that the Mac products are dead.

IBank takes a little getting used to compared to Quicken, but it definitely does the job. It handles OFX data downloads along with the usual QFX and similar formats, so it can get online data into its registers. Prints checks, generates reports,etc just fine. (I bolted together some tax reports for last year that work quote well.) The underlying database iBank uses is the very well tested SQLite package.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #45
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We just started using Mint to track spending/bugets. We didn't really use anything previously so it is a big improvement.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:26 AM   #46
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We use mint a lit too, I think just due to bad discipline/not stayingvon top of anything else. I had a spreadsheet that created financials but didn't stick with it and mint is so great to see net worth and different buckets
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:42 AM   #47
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We use Excel for budget creation/updates and Quicken to track the results. IOW, don't use the budget tab on Quicken. I guess we're (or at least me) are more anal on the forcast side and just use Quicken to provide high-level matching against the detail budget.

It just turned out that way over the years.

BTW, to "davef", if you use Yodlee and also FIDO, you can see the same budget info/expense on the FIDO side. Yodlee/FIDO have a relationship and FIDO uses Yodlee to provide account information for their Full View screens to provide the same budget/reporting upon an auto refresh.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:42 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by joeprintz View Post
With so many MAC users out there I'm surprised there is no comment about IBANK. Lion works much better with IBANK than Quicken and there is an easy conversion. Although not perfect I really like using it.
You missed me...I use iBank.

I like it too but I like Quicken better. The transition went very smoothly from Quicken to iBank. I don't know if and when Quicken for Lion will happen, but if it does, I hope the transition BACK goes just a smoothly. Course by that time, I might just stay with iBank.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:21 AM   #49
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I did two years of my own spreadsheet before retirement to better adjust my budget and do a reality check to see if I was ready to fire. Last year I decided it wasn't worth the work. It gave me a better handle on some recreational expenses, but my regular expenses were easy enough to budget for, and the less common ones (major home repairs, etc) just have to be estimated and spread out over the years.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #50
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I am somewhat old school... I use Notepad, Excel, and Calc to track all of my spending. I tried Quicken once quite a while back but found it to be too complicated for my needs as my finances are very simple, and getting it to do what I wanted was tedious.

I've paid all of my bills online for years, and instead I have a monthly text file with line items for each of my bills. As bills get paid I move them from the "Not Paid" section to the "Paid" section, with the confirmation number next to each one in case I need it, and I keep a running total going so I can compare the balance to what shows up in Checking.

For long-term planning I have an Excel spreadsheet that breaks down my transactions monthly and lets me project out expenses for a year or more. Given that I get paid monthly as well it works great.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #51
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I've tried it twice (years ago), but never thought it was worth the discipline, so I built my own spreadsheets. But now that we almost never write checks any more, and downloading transactions is far more readily available, maybe we need to reconsider.
Just wonder how many of you use a commercial software to handle your personal spending?
I've been using Quicken for nearly 20 years, and if you've been using your own spreadsheets then you're not gonna be happy with Quicken.

I used to download checking account transactions, but their cryptic comments on the payments may not be what you'd like to read. Quicken also "encourages" upgrades every three years or so by expiring the download feature. If you don't use downloads then you don't care, but otherwise you need to buy a new version, install it, convert over your data, and so forth.

What frustrates me are the small errors that build up over the years. I don't thing Quicken was ever designed to handle 150,000 transactions but it's tremendously annoying to have the program insist that my money-market account share value is $0.999996.

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Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
I just started using iBank 4, importing 18 years of banking and investment history from Quicken with only a little fiddling needed. Mostly stuff like changing "Buy" to "Buy to Close" on option activity and similar corner case stuff.
The underlying database iBank uses is the very well tested SQLite package.
Interesting. I don't know if Q09 even handles options trades-- I've just been selling call options as a short-term cap gain.

My daughter's been annoyed with Quicken Essentials. Maybe she'll be happier with iBank on her Macbook...
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:01 AM   #52
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The primary purpose of any accounting system is to have an independent reference point against which to reconcile the reports from the custodians of your assets.
I agree, but spent too much time keying stuff. Net worth and ROI stuff go into Excel, and day to day transactions go into MYM (a very old copy). I tried Quicken and the Microsoft one when MYM was abandoned by Nations Bank, but there was nothing new there, and neither gave me what I wanted for asset tracking (roi and asset allocation). I like not having to be on the annual upgrade$ track!

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Old 02-26-2012, 11:05 AM   #53
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Once again I find myself voting differently than most on a poll here on the forum. For me closely tracking spending seems too much like work. And you know what I think about work.....I would rather eat dirt. I do occasionally glance through the CC bill and the checkbook so that I have a general idea where the money goes. Many years ago I thought my two daughters had one horse and we were renting another for one of them to ride. I was looking through the checkbook and noticed stable expenses were kind of high. I asked DW about it and she confessed that they had bought a second horse and not told me about it.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:17 AM   #54
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Used Quicken for many years

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I've used Quicken for many years. I manually input the day's receipts into Quicken each evening. I also download transactions from all my financial institutions daily. The manual inputs should match the downloaded inputs. If not, I investigate. When we go on a road trip, we use a card with a $0 balance and use it for every expense (no matter how large or small) on the trip. I don't input manually or download while on the trip. When we get home I put the card away and download transactions from the credit card company to Quicken. That way I have a very detailed trip journal

I input recurring bills into Quicken 30 days before the due date. I keep enough money in my main checking account to pay all bills in the next 30 days. All bills are paid by electronic transfer. My bank will send a paper check through USPS to anyone at no charge to me.

I use the quicken spending reports for expense control and budget purposes. I can look at my expenses by current month, last month, last 12 months, last year, or by custom range. The chances are very good that our future expenses will be about the same (adjusted for inflation) as our past expenses. Note that the expenses are normally organized by category, not by payee.

I use the Quicken investment reports to track my investments on a daily basis. We have investment accounts at more than one institution.
+1
this pretty much covers it for us. I also do month end reports for our spending and investment income. Paste it into spreadsheet so I can monitor spending versus income, and look at the charts I have created over the years. I can see spending in each category year over previous years and month over month.
I wish Quicken would fix their bugs, each time I upgrade, I hope, but am disappointed, again. I have tried other software, but always come back to Quicken (since ver.1). Now it's the only game in town IMHO, until I get a smart phone and some apps...??
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:19 PM   #55
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I've been using Quicken for nearly 20 years, and if you've been using your own spreadsheets then you're not gonna be happy with Quicken.
That would be me. I have been using Excel for this purpose for a long time, and have developed spreadsheets that I like. Every few years I think of trying Quicken but so far I have not bought it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I used to download checking account transactions, but their cryptic comments on the payments may not be what you'd like to read. Quicken also "encourages" upgrades every three years or so by expiring the download feature. If you don't use downloads then you don't care, but otherwise you need to buy a new version, install it, convert over your data, and so forth
(emphasis mine) Interesting! I did not realize that it is possible to not use downloads with Quicken. Knowing that, I'll need to look at Quicken again. One of my objections to Quicken is my reluctance to provide it with my account information. I'd rather enter transactions manually since I don't have many of them.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:16 PM   #56
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That would be me. I have been using Excel for this purpose for a long time, and have developed spreadsheets that I like. Every few years I think of trying Quicken but so far I have not bought it.
That's where I am too. I noticed the poster who said he/she entered transactions in Quicken every day, that doesn't appeal to me at all. We update our transactions in Excel monthly, takes no more than an hour. Categories are entered with cascading drop down menus, so no chance of mismatches. Budget is built in, and all reporting is done with Pivot tables, showing totals and variances (red, green & diminished conditional formatting) in several slices and dices. It doesn't sound like we'd save a lot of time with Quicken even with online transaction downloading, but I'm going to do some research this week. It sounds like it's largely a function of how well the user knows what can be done with Excel or another commercial spreadsheet.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:34 PM   #57
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I tried Quicken many years ago and found it to be a pain, so I constructed my own Excel spreadsheets to do the job instead. The benefit is that they do exactly what I want. The drawback is that there is probably some very useful function that I haven't thought to include.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:30 PM   #58
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Some like the envelope method which forces one to not spend more than what's allocated for that month. Often that was the way budgeting was done in the old days with physical envelopes. Virtual envelope software is out there like this one:

Budget (Windows) Snowmint Creative Solutions LLC

Often, they get high reviews and are said as easy to use. I must have a mental block as I understand the concept with physical envelopes, but get lost when I've tried using the program.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:36 PM   #59
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We just started using Mint to track spending/bugets. We didn't really use anything previously so it is a big improvement.
I also just started using Mint. It integrates pretty seemlessly with my online banking from Schwab as well imports my Amex and PenFed credit card.

I am not all anal and tracking this stuff, but it does provide a pretty good overview of my spending.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:40 PM   #60
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Used to use Quicken, but my version wasn't compatible with Mac Lion os, and the program became useless. So I've gone the past several months budgetless. I started an excel based system today, downloading csv's from bank and credit card, then categorizing, etc. It took me a few hrs to do the last three months. I like it better than Quicken - I categorize each expenditure manually in the spreadsheet system which forces me to pay more attention to the transactions. It seems like it may give me a better understanding of my spending habits.
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