Budgeting Tools

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Budgeting Tools

Postby Jtguido » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:52 am

Can anyone recommend a budgeting tool to do analysis on various scenarios?

I need to work with my spouse to analyze budget with regards to purchasing home, saving for edcuation, etc. Would like to make factual decisions rather than emotional ones.

Thanks
Jtguido
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:25 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby livesoft » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:55 am

Microsoft Excel?
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
livesoft
 
Posts: 34219
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby dbr » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:12 am

livesoft wrote:Microsoft Excel?


Yes, spreadsheets exist for just such needs.

I think it can be very helpful to set up the analysis yourself because it forces you to think about what you really want to know.
dbr
 
Posts: 14336
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:50 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby ddunca1944 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:22 am

I use two tools for budgeting. For forecasting/planning I use an excel spreadsheet. For daily spending decisions, I use YNAB (You Need a Budget). One complements the other.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:49 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby VGSailor » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:27 am

I agree with the excel recommendation.

Set up it up so that you can enter in your monthly income and expenses. If you use mint, it can help greatly for categorizing things.

For example, you could have a Bills category, with sub-categories for Electricity, gas, phone, internet, etc. You can use mint to get what you spend on average for each of these categories, etc. etc.

I take mine a step further and have setup a cash-flow forecast to see how money goes up and down with time. I can do what-if scenarios, where I can see what happens to my "net checking balance" over time if I were to for example increase my monthly grocery bill by $x a month or make a one time large purchase. I then keep track of my checking balance to see if it follows what I have forecasted. I find that so far, I have followed the forecast fairly well, so this helps me plan out when I can make lump-sum investment contributions. For example, I try to keep my checking balance above a certain minimum...and then when it goes above $5,000 said mark, then I take that amount out and put it into investments (e.g. Roth).
VGSailor
 
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby Frugal Al » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:40 am

While some here don't like Quicken, I think its budgeting, forecasting, reporting (budget, cash flow and balance sheet), graphing, and spending categorization work great. Once it is set-up it takes minutes per month to maintain. Also, for those not financially inclined, it helps them come to grips with the real burdens of depreciation and interest expenses.
User avatar
Frugal Al
 
Posts: 1433
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:09 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby jtodell224 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:49 am

ddunca1944- how is YNAB any different than Mint? Looks cook, but why spend the $60?
jtodell224
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby rotorhead » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 am

I use Quicken for portfolio management, but don't find its budgeting tools all that helpful. It's tax planner is a bit better. I made my own budget spread sheets using Excel; a great program. I created a monthly spread sheet for day to day expenses. At the end of the month I transfer the totals to an annual spread sheet. I also put income and taxes on the annual sheet. At the end of the year I've got it all there. Additionally I use the previous year's actuals for forecasting current year probables. Works for me.

One tool you might find very useful is the 50/30/20 budget concept. Here's a link to one site http://www.debtguru.com/money-management/budgeting-by-the-numbers-the-503020-budget. There are a number of others - just Google 50/30/20 budget, and you'll see. This is a great tool for helping one put it all in perspective.
rotorhead
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:59 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby letseatpaste » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:51 pm

jtodell224 wrote:ddunca1944- how is YNAB any different than Mint? Looks cook, but why spend the $60?


Mint tracks the money you already spent, YNAB helps you make plans for the money before you spend it. It's a really flexible and powerful tool for active budgeting. It's especially good if your income or expenses tend to vary from month to month.
letseatpaste
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:49 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby ddunca1944 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:40 pm

letseatpaste wrote:
jtodell224 wrote:ddunca1944- how is YNAB any different than Mint? Looks cook, but why spend the $60?


Mint tracks the money you already spent, YNAB helps you make plans for the money before you spend it. It's a really flexible and powerful tool for active budgeting. It's especially good if your income or expenses tend to vary from month to month.


+1

In addition, I don't want to put my account numbers, user id's and passwords out there on the internet. With YNAB, it all stays on my computer (unless I choose to download transactions). They have a 34 day free trial so anyone can try it out and see how it works for them. In addition, they have sales and special offers.

I particularly like the iphone app - when I'm out and sbout, I can see at a glance how much I have left to spend in any category. Prior to YNAB, I used Quicken, but did not like its poor budgeting features.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:49 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby Frugal Al » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:11 am

ddunca1944 wrote: Prior to YNAB, I used Quicken, but did not like its poor budgeting features.

Quicken's budgeting features work well. It's not as simple as a task specific budgeting program would be. Quicken has many other financial features, though. So start with YNAB, and eventually you'll want to track your net worth with a program that is more comprehensive. One thing I don't quite understand is that those that complain about Quicken's cost will pay MORE just for a program that ONLY does budgeting. Still, YNAB looks interesting.
User avatar
Frugal Al
 
Posts: 1433
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:09 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby lostinjersey » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:10 am

I used to use mint.com. Now I use YNAB. Agree with the pp's - it's a great tool for controlling your budget. Love the iPhone app as well!
lostinjersey
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:29 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:20 am

Frugal Al wrote:
ddunca1944 wrote: Prior to YNAB, I used Quicken, but did not like its poor budgeting features.

Quicken's budgeting features work well. It's not as simple as a task specific budgeting program would be. Quicken has many other financial features, though. So start with YNAB, and eventually you'll want to track your net worth with a program that is more comprehensive. One thing I don't quite understand is that those that complain about Quicken's cost will pay MORE just for a program that ONLY does budgeting. Still, YNAB looks interesting.



Another issue for me was my switch to a Mac. I tried Quicken for Mac and was very disappointed. I have yet to find a good, comprehensive finance program for Macs. YNAB runs fine on my Mac. But I would love to find a comprehensive program that would track our investment accounts.
Last edited by ddunca1944 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:49 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby More Please » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:28 am

I love ynab. I didn't want my account # posted anywhere (Mint).
I post my expenses as I spend, very easy to do. As a result, I have found I spend too much at Lowes and on house maintenance.

I use a Mac and YNAB works well.
More Please
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:13 am

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby Fclevz » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:46 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:Another issue for me was my switch to a Mac. I tried Quicken for Mac and was very disappointed. I have yet to find a good, comprehensive finance program for Macs. YNAB runs fine on my Mac. But I would love to find a comprehensive program that would track our investment accounts.

Have you checked out iBank?

Cheers,
Fred
Fclevz
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:28 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:56 pm

I did download a trial of ibank, but have not been able to download transactions to it from Vanguard. They seem to be set up to download in a Quicken format or csv only.
ddunca1944
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:49 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby LadyGeek » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:01 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (discussion is now about Quicken, etc.).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19563
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby scone » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:36 pm

I love FinanceWorks, which you can get in bank/CU on-line banking systems. (My version is free at the CU.) The best thing about it is, no data input, and no downloading, unless you want to. For my part, anything that makes record keeping really easy is vastly preferable to tedious line by line typing. I can sign on to the CU at any time, check our accounts, and check to see how we are doing in every budget category. I can see for myself which checks have cleared, and which bills are about to be paid. (It works well with auto-pay.) I know where the money is going all the time, which is comforting. It's all about peace of mind.
"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." -- Preacher Roe
scone
 
Posts: 863
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:46 pm

Re: Budgeting Tools

Postby stan1 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:47 pm

The thing about building it yourself in Excel is that forces you to really examine and understand the data.

You'll have a much better understanding of the data if you do the modeling and calculations yourself, rather than just the data entry.

Plus you can customize the results any way you like, and in case you don't use Excel a lot at work you will learn some new skills.
stan1
 
Posts: 3509
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:35 pm


Return to Personal Consumer Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alex Frakt, Dutch, jdasch9, jdb, mageedge, Taylor Larimore, wt8008 and 72 guests