Page 1 of 1

Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:12 pm
by Offshore
Can someone recommend a software program that tracks household expenses. I am about 10 years from retirement and it's time to know where all of our expenses lie, month to month. The program shouldn't be complicated. If it's too cumbersome, I won't stick with it.

The only qualifier is the program should be Apple compatible.

Thanks!

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:14 pm
by Random Poster
Why does it need to be a software program?

Just write down everything you spend on the day that you spend it, and after a year or two of doing so you should be able to see where all of your expenses are.

All you need is some paper and a pen or pencil.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:25 pm
by Offshore
I was hoping for a little more sophistication than a notebook. For example, every month's entries would include food costs, entertainment, fuel, utilities, insurance premiums etc., etc.. At year end, if one wondered how much was spent on just food for the entire year, this number could be obtained with a mouse click, versus adding up 12 months of entries.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:28 pm
by littleken
Microsoft excel

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:30 pm
by ddunca1944
I use and love YNAB (You Need A Budget). It runs on Macs or PC's (I have a Mac). I also use and love the iphone app that lets me enter transactions on the go and it syncs with the desktop app over the cloud. Not really necessary, but very useful.

You can download transactions or enter them manually.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:33 pm
by ieee488
littleken wrote:Microsoft excel
Or LibreOffice Calc if you don't want to buy Excel.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:37 pm
by investingdad
We use Quicken.

We pay almost all of our bills with our credit card. So when we download all the transactions each month (there are many), they're sorted into the right categories. You have to tell Quicken what a transaction counts as (groceries, dining, etc) so it knows in the future but once you've done it you don't have to do it again.

It's very powerful for tracing how much you spend by category, year to year, to different vendors, down to the dollar. In conjunction with a credit card, Quicken works very smoothly and easily.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:49 pm
by jay22
Mint.com is all you need for that.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:52 pm
by ddunca1944
Just a note - Quicken for Mac is nothing like Quicken for PC. In fact, that why I abandoned Quicken adter switching to a Mac.

Some folks like Mint. I did not want to upload my account numbers and passwords to the internet. I prefer to keep those to myself. Also did not want to be bothered by all of the advertising.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:55 pm
by Offshore
Great info guys! I've read reviews on Moneydance, iFinance, YNAB, SEE finance and Quicken, but the reviews do not give real-world experience. I appreciate the feedback!

ddunca1994- do mean to say to use Quicken you have to upload your personal info to the net? Wow!

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:01 pm
by ddunca1944
No, but to use Mint you do.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:32 pm
by jeffyscott
ieee488 wrote:
littleken wrote:Microsoft excel
Or LibreOffice Calc if you don't want to buy Excel.
Or google drive spreadsheet, if you don't want to download anything or worry about back-ups and want to have access from any computer.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:15 am
by mhc
jeffyscott wrote:
ieee488 wrote:
littleken wrote:Microsoft excel
Or LibreOffice Calc if you don't want to buy Excel.
Or google drive spreadsheet, if you don't want to download anything or worry about back-ups and want to have access from any computer.
A spreadsheet of any kind is easy. I have a row for each type of expense, a column for each month, and a worksheet for each year. I also use the spreadsheet to make sure I pay my bills every month.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:30 am
by ieee488
Does your credit card company add up the expenses in categories for you, or do you have to it the hard way by using a calculator?

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:42 am
by lwfitzge
I use Mint.com... I also use its apps for iPhone and iPad.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:57 am
by 1210sda
mhc wrote: A spreadsheet of any kind is easy. I have a row for each type of expense, a column for each month, and a worksheet for each year. I also use the spreadsheet to make sure I pay my bills every month.
I too follow the same approach as mhc. In the top part of my SS, I have those expenses that occur monthly. Below that I have a section for my "non-monthly expenses". Here I include such things as property tax payments, estimated tax payments, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, etc, etc.

This second section helps keep me on track so that I don't forget to pay bills that don't occur regularly every month (for which there is a tendancy to overlook). I don't want to pay late fees or penalties.

1210

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:52 am
by TerryDMillerMBA

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:11 am
by Toons
Quicken 20 year user,it works if you use it :happy

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:24 am
by rixer
I think this might work for you. I use it and you don't have to enter personal info like Mint.
I think I found it on Google doc's.
http://www.free-financial-advice.net/create-budget.html

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:56 pm
by Frugal Al
Toons wrote:Quicken 20 year user,it works if you use it :happy
+1 If I had to enter all spending into an Excel spreadsheet I'd give up on it. Like Investingdad, I do so little cash spending that it's just a miscellaneous amount and the downloading of credit/debit card data is fast and easy. The ability to quickly sort and categorize spending and purchases, cash flow graphing by month, and loan amortization, along with its reasonable investment tracking functions makes it a bargain if one considers the total functionality.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:08 pm
by rr2
On my Mac, I use an application called Moneywell. It works great for budgeting and tracking as it has the ability to download transactions from your financial institutions just like Quicken. It uses the envelope budgeting system.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:14 pm
by Sidney
Offshore wrote:I was hoping for a little more sophistication than a notebook. For example, every month's entries would include food costs, entertainment, fuel, utilities, insurance premiums etc., etc.. At year end, if one wondered how much was spent on just food for the entire year, this number could be obtained with a mouse click, versus adding up 12 months of entries.
When I wanted to track ours, we just started putting everything on 2 credit cards. We tend to use the same "vendors" all the time anyway so I just download the transactions from the CC company, add a few check and DD transactions and run a quick pivot table. I don't have to enter much data manually. Takes me about an hour or two once a year.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:26 pm
by runner9
Microsoft Money

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:38 pm
by Lieutenant.Columbo
1210sda wrote:...In the top part of my SS, I have those expenses that occur monthly. Below that I have a section for my "non-monthly expenses". Here I include such things as property tax payments, estimated tax payments, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, etc, etc.

This second section helps keep me on track so that I don't forget to pay bills that don't occur regularly every month (for which there is a tendancy to overlook). I don't want to pay late fees or penalties
1210sda,
do you split any of the expenses by "discretionary" vs "non discretionary"?
like "discretionary groceries" vs "non discretionary groceries" or "discretionary clothing" vs "non discretionary clothing", etc...
if so, which ones?
thank you

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:07 pm
by mass88
An excel spreadsheet. You can easily build a simple spreadsheet that allows you to log your expenses and then have it total the categories up on a monthly basis and you can see how you're doing. I have found the less automated everything is, the more I pay attention.

One tab would be a transaction journal where you would list each transaction and assign a category for it. Then on another tab you could have a Profit and Loss Statement to sum the transactions based on month and category to see how you did for the month.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:23 pm
by Goinganontoday
I love You Need A Budget. We've used it for almost four years and it's been fantastic.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:16 am
by Mom 2 Groms
We also use YNAB and recommend it to everyone that we talk finances with IRL. We have YNAB4, so it doesn't sync to accounts online, but with the new version syncing is optional.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:23 am
by frugalfraggle
I use Banktivity, it's Mac only and strikes a good balance between ease of use and power. www.iggsoftware.com. It's made by some x Intuit folks.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:35 am
by CyclingDuo
frugalfraggle wrote:I use Banktivity, it's Mac only and strikes a good balance between ease of use and power. http://www.iggsoftware.com. It's made by some x Intuit folks.
Curious if anyone uses something like 360 Financial View or Fidelity's Full View which can do the same thing and is free for those who have accounts. Similar services at other institutions as well. Wells Fargo has the "My Expense Report" that tracks everything related to your bank account/credit card. Bank of America and others have similar as well.

Why pay for an outside program if you already have something included with your bank or brokerage? Either way, you have to set it all up and get used to using it - be it pad and paper, Quicken, iBank/Banktivity, 360 Financial View, Full View, My Expense Report, etc... .

The Mac/Apple only iggsoftware Banktivity(formerly iBank) looks like a subscription service. The iPhone version says $39.99 per year. Do you know if the subscription is per device (one for both spouses), and the laptop - or do you have to pay for each device?

TIA

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:23 am
by AlwaysAStudent
Another vote for YNAB.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:27 am
by Lieutenant.Columbo
CyclingDuo wrote:Fidelity's Full View
CyclingDuo,
does Fidelity Full View require access to credit card and bank accounts?
Thanks

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:41 am
by clutchied
If you want a system that requires very little from you just use Mint and hook up whatever cards or bank information you want; i.e. where you spend your money from.


Mint churns through it all and categorizes items for you and will produce monthly reports. It really is an amazing system. I think I have almost 6 years of data now and it is just about the most useful financial tool I've ever had.


You can develop budgets and it tells you how you've done compared to your budget.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:28 pm
by Mom 2 Groms
CyclingDuo wrote:
frugalfraggle wrote:I use Banktivity, it's Mac only and strikes a good balance between ease of use and power. http://www.iggsoftware.com. It's made by some x Intuit folks.
Curious if anyone uses something like 360 Financial View or Fidelity's Full View which can do the same thing and is free for those who have accounts. Similar services at other institutions as well. Wells Fargo has the "My Expense Report" that tracks everything related to your bank account/credit card. Bank of America and others have similar as well.

Why pay for an outside program if you already have something included with your bank or brokerage? Either way, you have to set it all up and get used to using it - be it pad and paper, Quicken, iBank/Banktivity, 360 Financial View, Full View, My Expense Report, etc... .

The Mac/Apple only iggsoftware Banktivity(formerly iBank) looks like a subscription service. The iPhone version says $39.99 per year. Do you know if the subscription is per device (one for both spouses), and the laptop - or do you have to pay for each device?

TIA

I personally don't like the generic tracking tools that come standard with my credit card or bank account. My budget is detailed, and I like having control of the categories. With YNAB, I also have the ability to allocate dollars to a specific category even if I don't spend the dollars for several months. Two examples of this in my budget are car repairs and Christmas gifts. I budget $175/mo for car repairs, even if I don't send my vehicle to the shop every month. When I have a large repair, there isn't a huge hit to my budget and I don't have to change any of my other spending because I've planned for an known variable. Christmas is similar, I budget 1/12 of my Christmas spending every month, but I spend most of it in November or December.
I also prefer it to a spreadsheet because the app syncs with my budget on my computer. When DH are I are out and we think about going out to eat, or a impulse buy, we can check our budget to see how many dollars are available to spend in the appropriate category before we make a decision. It really helps with the discipline of sticking to a planned budget.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:29 pm
by PFInterest
excel, google sheets, libre office

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:31 pm
by mptfan
Google sheets.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:22 pm
by CyclingDuo
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
CyclingDuo wrote:Fidelity's Full View
CyclingDuo,
does Fidelity Full View require access to credit card and bank accounts?
Thanks
Yes. So does TIAA, and B of A.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:14 pm
by Lieutenant.Columbo
CyclingDuo wrote:
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
CyclingDuo wrote:Fidelity's Full View
CyclingDuo,
does Fidelity Full View require access to credit card and bank accounts?
Thanks
Yes. So does TIAA, and B of A.
thank you
1. do you know if Fidelity Full View does a good job a categorizing expenses (like will insurance payments be listed under "insurance")?
2. can one enter cash expenses manually into Full View?
Thank you.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:21 pm
by inverter
YNAB. Simple, intuitive, and cost effective. Syncing makes it easy on you.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:28 pm
by Oriolesfan
I am very happy with Mvelopes. I have used it for over four years. The envelope budgeting concept works better for me than anything I have used in the past, like a spreadsheet, quicken, and mint. Mvelopes learning curve was a little quirky to start, but once it becomes familiar its very, very easy to use, love the reliable bank and credit card downloads. Support has been good as well. Like having versions on mobile, windows, mac. Free version and paid version avalable.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:43 am
by CyclingDuo
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
CyclingDuo wrote:
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:
CyclingDuo wrote:Fidelity's Full View
CyclingDuo,
does Fidelity Full View require access to credit card and bank accounts?
Thanks
Yes. So does TIAA, and B of A.
thank you
1. do you know if Fidelity Full View does a good job a categorizing expenses (like will insurance payments be listed under "insurance")?
2. can one enter cash expenses manually into Full View?
Thank you.
Yes to #1.

#2. We don't use cash except for very small food and snack purchases ($1 coffee, bag of peanuts, a sandwich wrap, beverage or snack here and there). So our cash purchases for that are an ATM cash withdrawal with the debit card - and those ATM/Debit withdrawals are recategorized as food in Full View since that's all we use the cash for when it comes to a purchase. In addition to debit/credit card purchases, we use ApplePay which Fidelity does a great job with, along with other cash management options.

Re: Tracking our expenses

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:29 pm
by Lieutenant.Columbo
CyclingDuo wrote:Yes to #1.

#2. We don't use cash except for very small food and snack purchases ($1 coffee, bag of peanuts, a sandwich wrap, beverage or snack here and there). So our cash purchases for that are an ATM cash withdrawal with the debit card - and those ATM/Debit withdrawals are recategorized as food in Full View since that's all we use the cash for when it comes to a purchase. In addition to debit/credit card purchases, we use ApplePay which Fidelity does a great job with, along with other cash management options.
thank you very much for explaining this