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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%
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Poll: Do you use Quicken (or commercial equiv) to track spending/budget?
Old 02-25-2012, 09:14 AM   #1
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Poll: Do you use Quicken (or commercial equiv) to track spending/budget?

This has to have been asked, but I didn't see it using Search.

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?

Only asking about spending/budget - not if you also track investments with Quicken or commercial equiv.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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As indicated on another thread, I use Quicken and virtually all my bank, credit card and investment account transactions are automatically imported to Quicken.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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As indicated on another thread, I use Quicken and virtually all my bank, credit card and investment account transactions are automatically imported to Quicken.
For maybe $20 a year($60/3), I think you just can't beat everything that Quicken does. I have used Q for over 10 years, with seamless transitions. With one step downloads, CC's Bank, Vanguard, quotes, everything downloaded with one password. With all the budget, return information I had in one place made me realize FI and RE was do able.

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Old 02-25-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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We have all our assets at Vanguard, so investment tracking would be redundant? But I'm getting the impression it's time to rethink Quicken for personal spending/budget...I'm looking forward to the responses here.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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Before, I have just used the back of the envelope method for calculating our spending in any given year (Net - Savings = Spending), because anything more detailed was unnecessary, and like you said, not really worth the time and effort.

This year I am actually tracking our spending by category and I'm using Excel, for the most part. My goal is not to constrain spending; I am using it to assist with retirement planning. I may go to something different if I find that I want to/need to continue the exercise in retirement; but I'm hoping that is not the case.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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We keep track of account values in MSMoney, but not a budget. For personal spending beyond utilities, we just put everything on a few credit cards. The cards have nice year-end statements that can help with budgets, but we don't even look at those anymore. If we wanted to make it easier, we could use a different credit card for each major spending category like eating out, vacations, medical.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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I have an old version of MS Money that I have been using for many years. I do not download since it didn't download in the categories I wanted. I manually input off receipts and from my different accounts. I do not keep my investments in MS Money, mine are in Vanguard too. I just keep track of income and spending.

I run reports occasionally, but do print my end of year report and keep them for comparison. It's interesting to see how things change from year to year.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
We have all our assets at Vanguard, so investment tracking would be redundant? But I'm getting the impression it's time to rethink Quicken for personal spending/budget...I'm looking forward to the responses here.
I am mostly VG as well (not totally - yet) and I have Quicken pull transactions from Vanguard (anal I guess). Effortless once you set it up, which is easy.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by grasshopper View Post
For maybe $20 a year($60/3), I think you just can't beat everything that Quicken does. I have used Q for over 10 years, with seamless transitions. With one step downloads, CC's Bank, Vanguard, quotes, everything downloaded with one password. With all the budget, return information I had in one place made me realize FI and RE was do able.

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+1 plus I think the Quicken Lifetime Planner (retirement planner) is very good other than it is a static analysis. Also, it draws from the investments and liabilities (like my mortgage) in Quicken. I use Firecalc and others for dynamic analysis.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:04 AM   #10
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I'm trying to change from spreadsheet to quicken right now. Once before in the early '00's and again last year, both times gave up, but I've concluded the effort to keep up the spreadsheet is too much and I'm interested in the detail quicken offers.

Initial setup is proving to be very challenging, as is trying to reconcile the accounts. I expected this part to be much easier.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:05 AM   #11
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I use Quicken, and have for years. It is a powerful piece of software that offers lots of flexibility and details as far as reporting goes.

I also use spreadsheets in parallel (just in case Quicken goes away).
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:17 AM   #12
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Until 2007, it was more back-of-the-envelope stuff with soem spreadsheets to review annual, not day-to-day spending (not including a spreadsheet which mimicked my checkbook register). But starting in mid-2007, I had to start doing some tracking which the back-of-the-envelope method could no longer handle. This was good once I began to plan for my ER in 2007-2008 because I did not have to modify the spreadsheet very much to plan my ER budget.

I worked for 23 years with spreadsheets so I have always felt very comfortable with creating, modifying, and using them to suit my needs.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:30 AM   #13
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Regarding Quicken - with entries back to 1995 or so...

Are there global ways to "correct" transactions, without having to go into each one?

Over the years, some of the payees haven been put in twice (maybe a typo). I would like to clean this up, but I assume I can't just delete a "payee" without messing up data. Can the two versions of Home Depot be merged into one, for example, and the transactions come out looking right in reports?

Thanks for any comments.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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Maybe that question should have been posted elsewhere....
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:34 AM   #15
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I started using Quicken in 2004. A little tedious to set up the first time, but a breeze once it is set up. It makes tracking of expenses easy and it helped me make the ER decision in Jan 2008. My version is eight years old, gotta think about upgrading soon.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:39 AM   #16
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I was a serious Quicken user for many years, but I just finally got fed up with its idiosyncrasies.

Beginning with Jan 1 this year, I switched to Moneydance.

I just re-entered the critical details of investments and started fresh.

Moneydance doesn't have quite all the bells and whistles of Quicken, but it'c close enough that I'm really satisfied. It's more user-friendly in many ways (although with its own little quirks as well). It also runs on any kind of computer or operating system.

So far, I've only had to fire up the old Quicken twice to research some stock transactions while doing the taxes, and I keep finding more things I like about Moneydance.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:54 AM   #17
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I use another software program.

Home Budget Software made simple - Free one month trial

For my budgeting needs, it does a fine job. My other requirements (checkbook balancing, investment tracking), I do that separately which is easy with a spreadsheet for checkbook, Vanguard for investments.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:18 AM   #18
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I use You Need a Budget. For years I used Managing Your Money, then Microsoft Money, then tried Quicken and back to Money.

They were all good at tracking spending and giving me a historical record. They were all terrible at budgeting.

It wasn't until I got YNAB a few years ago that I really had a program that really helped with budgeting. For budgeting, YNAB just really blows everything else (including Quicken IMO) out of the water.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:29 AM   #19
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I was a satisfied Quicken user for years till I retired and realized I needed to access acct info while I was travelling (I never bring a laptop). I looked around and found the free web app at BudgetPulse. It's basic compared with Quicken, but it does everything I need, and I've been using it ever since.

BudgetPulse doesn't access your other accounts. You have to enter transactions manually, which is exactly what I want.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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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.

At the first of each month I run a paper Quicken net worth report and place in my "If I Drop Dead" file. DW and our adult children know the month's net worth statement includes all of our assets except the 2 $100 bills in the secret compartment of my wallet.
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