Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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Slovus
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Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by Slovus »

Hi Everyone - long time reader, first time poster here. I'm curious to know what current personal finance software the Bogleheads are using. I am trying to find something that will help me consolidate my banking and investment info into one place, and to help with tracking expenses and budgeting. I'm a long time spreadsheet junkie, but would like to get into the 21st century with some of my financial tools. Any thoughts are appreciated.
core4portfolio
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by core4portfolio »

Fidelity FULLVIEW
Allocation : 80/20 (80% TSM, 20% TBM) | Need to learn fishing sooner
jco
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by jco »

I use youneedabudget.com. I'm not sure if it imports investment accounts, but for my bank and credit cards it has been extremely helpful for staying within our monthly budget and planning for the future.
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TheAccountant
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by TheAccountant »

I have my own spreadsheet that I use and have developed over the course of several years. It uses daily balances so I never have more $ in checking than necessary. It's stored in the cloud so if I am on vacation or away from home I can still budget.

I also calculate NW using my own setup. This is more primitive - just a stock Mac Numbers sheet tailored to meet my needs.
mhalley
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by mhalley »

Personal capital and YNAB.
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by lindsayinsf »

I use Google Sheets - it's in the cloud! Like Excel for the 21st century. :P :P Seriously though, as the other poster mentioned, that means it can be accessed from any device.

I have three types of Google Sheets - weekly budget, monthly net worth, and annual projections. I have a shortcut on my phone to my weekly spending which is customized how I like it and fairly simple, so then I can type in an amount immediately after making a purchase. For net worth, once a month I update my numbers manually and it takes about 10 minutes. I also check my credit score and can add whatever I like to it.

I used to use a service called Hello Wallet (combo of budgeting and net worth) which connected to all my bank accounts, but it would break every so often or having trouble syncing. It became more trouble to get it to work correctly than manually inputting everything.

If I wanted to keep a more detailed budget I would use YNAB (You Need a Budget). They have videos online for everything related to budgeting and their software. I only track one category and have a "save first, spend the rest" approach so don't feel the need to track multiple categories.

I have seen many personal finance bloggers and YouTubers recommend Personal Capital. I'm a bit wary of sharing my data across services so it's not for me. Google already knows everything about me anyway. :oops:
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Kenkat
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by Kenkat »

Quicken is a popular choice and what I’ve been using for nearly 30 years now.
jambadoc
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by jambadoc »

Another YNAB and personal capital user here. I used to use mint, but found it limited and glitchy. YNAB does things differently it has a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get it come I think it works way better. It's not free, but I found it worth it.
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galawdawg
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by galawdawg »

Been a user of Microsoft Money since its initial release in 1991. Support was discontinued a number of years ago and you can no longer pull data directly from financial institutions, but if you are a spreadsheet user currently, you may find that it more than meets your needs.

Microsoft now provides it as a free download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloa ... x?id=20738

It runs fine on Windows 10 or earlier versions.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Another vote for YNAB. I don't keep investments in there though, that's just not what it's for.

I keep track of my investments in a spreadsheet.
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cowdogman
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by cowdogman »

Quicken for about 30 years.

If you like spreadsheets (I do!), try Tiller. I tried it last year and liked it, but decided it was too much work--and I was worried about accuracy--my accuracy, not Tiller's, in modifying the spreadsheets.

I've tried Mint, Personal Finance and YNAB. I just don't like having no offline copy of my financial data. That's why I'm still with Quicken, old school as it is.

Good luck.
classicindexer
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by classicindexer »

We use YNAB for budgeting and an Excel spreadsheet to track investments across all of our retirement accounts. I could never find one tool that was good at both. I do use Personal Capital occasionally to manually input numbers from Fidelity FullView for retirement planning (Monte Carlo simulation).
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aj76er
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by aj76er »

I use MINT for aggregating our spending and tracking budgets. It’s free and does a good job. I used to use a google sheet but got tired of manually entering all our spending.

For portfolio rebalancing and NW overview, I use a really, really simple google sheet. Although I’ve arranged our portfolio so that a spreadsheet is unnecessary: I add up all our accounts, then divide by 4. This the amount of bonds that go in my 401k. It is also the number of international equities that go in my taxable. The rest is all in US equities (total mkt or S&P 500, whatever is available per account). A portfolio with N assets only requires N-1 calculations, so in a 3 fund portfolio, the 3rd asset falls in place automatically after the other 2 have been rebalanced :)
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle
runner540
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by runner540 »

classicindexer wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:01 pm We use YNAB for budgeting and an Excel spreadsheet to track investments across all of our retirement accounts. I could never find one tool that was good at both. I do use Personal Capital occasionally to manually input numbers from Fidelity FullView for retirement planning (Monte Carlo simulation).
+1.
Exactly what we do. YNAB has a learning curve but is worth climbing it.
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Vulcan
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by Vulcan »

galawdawg wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:50 pm Been a user of Microsoft Money since its initial release in 1991. Support was discontinued a number of years ago and you can no longer pull data directly from financial institutions, but if you are a spreadsheet user currently, you may find that it more than meets your needs.

Microsoft now provides it as a free download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloa ... x?id=20738

It runs fine on Windows 10 or earlier versions.
Another long-time MS Money user.
I still have my records from 2000, when I started using it, and I am now contemplating recommending it to our soon-to-turn 18 son.
I do not believe anything else comes close for ultimate control of your overall financial picture.

I do use mint as a consolidation service to keep track of bank and credit card accounts (I don't want them to have passwords to my investments) without logging in to multiple web sites, but would never trust any online system to be the single source of truth for my long-term financial recordkeeping. What if they are gone in 10 years?

The concept of single source of truth is an important one here.

Only you can know what should be accurate information about your accounts and spending.

If you rely on financial institutions or online service providers to accurately track and categorize your money and expenses, you will never catch mistakes, and will end up with inaccurate budgeting data (garbage in - garbage out).
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
brcarls
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by brcarls »

I haven't tried any "personal finance" software for a few years, but in the past every time I tried MS Money, Mint, etc I was frustrated because it didn't do what I wanted (or I couldn't figure out how to get it to do what I wanted). The big thing missing was a forecast... They were all great at showing the past, but most important for me is forecasting cash flow so that I don't keep too much or not enough cash in my checking account. This forecast is important if you have monthly bills and bi-weekly paychecks like many people.

I have been just using a Google Sheets spreadsheet that maintains a running balance of my checking account. I have entries for about a year in advance with all of my normal spending and income plus anticipated spikes like taxes and insurance payments. When a bill shows up I just update the guesstimate with the actual and put an "x" in a column for "reconciled" when it actually is paid from my checking account.

I do use Fidelity Full View for looking back and seeing where money went... but it doesn't do the cashflow forecast that is valuable to me.
Last edited by brcarls on Sun Feb 23, 2020 2:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

I use You Need A Budget (YNAB) for budgeting. It is an excellent product and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

It does not handle investments (well). For that I use a spreadsheet; other options include Personal Capital, Fidelity Full View (I am experimenting with it), possibly Mint, others.

For those that raise concerns about not having an offline copy, YNAB lets you export all your information to a CSV file which can be used by any spreadsheet software. I do this about every 3 months or so just for peace of mind, but I don't find it necessary.
elvisimprsntr
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by elvisimprsntr »

IMO, if I don't have sufficient net positive cash flow that I think I need budgeting SW, then I am living beyond my means. Time is more well spent (pun intended) looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. I do have all my assets under one roof with Fidelity and link other accounts (401k, mortgage, etc.) via FullView so I can see everything on one dashboard.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

elvisimprsntr wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:44 pm IMO, if I don't have sufficient net positive cash flow that I think I need budgeting SW, then I am living beyond my means. Time is more well spent (pun intended) looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. I do have all my assets under one roof with Fidelity and link other accounts (401k, mortgage, etc.) via FullView so I can see everything on one dashboard.
So you’re deriding the need for budgeting software, but you’re using Full View, which provides most of the functionality of and can basically be used as budgeting software?

Do I have that right?
elvisimprsntr
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by elvisimprsntr »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:38 pm
elvisimprsntr wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:44 pm IMO, if I don't have sufficient net positive cash flow that I think I need budgeting SW, then I am living beyond my means. Time is more well spent (pun intended) looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. I do have all my assets under one roof with Fidelity and link other accounts (401k, mortgage, etc.) via FullView so I can see everything on one dashboard.
So you’re deriding the need for budgeting software, but you’re using Full View, which provides most of the functionality of and can basically be used as budgeting software?

Do I have that right?
FullView is not budgeting SW. It's a dashboard to see where your coins are in one place, at a fixed moment in time.
Last edited by elvisimprsntr on Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
onourway
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by onourway »

elvisimprsntr wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:44 pm IMO, if I don't have sufficient net positive cash flow that I think I need budgeting SW, then I am living beyond my means. Time is more well spent (pun intended) looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. I do have all my assets under one roof with Fidelity and link other accounts (401k, mortgage, etc.) via FullView so I can see everything on one dashboard.
Meh, I thought the same for years. I was wrong. A budget is just a tool putting you fully in charge of your finances. There is a reason successful businesses worry about both budgets and positive cash flow.

I use You Need a Budget like others, and a spreadsheet for investments.
mrb09
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by mrb09 »

classicindexer wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:01 pm We use YNAB for budgeting and an Excel spreadsheet to track investments across all of our retirement accounts. I could never find one tool that was good at both. I do use Personal Capital occasionally to manually input numbers from Fidelity FullView for retirement planning (Monte Carlo simulation).
Exactly what I do as well. My YNAB budget knows about my take-home salary as deposited into Ally bank, but nothing about deposits into my Fidelity accounts. My budget is just for managing monthly/yearly expenses. My spreadsheet (google sheets in my case) handles asset allocation across investment accounts, and I don't bother to count the cash I have in Ally bank. I update my spreadsheet by hand a few times a year, to rebalance at my bonus time and my birthday (which just happen to be about six months apart).
ThePensiveInvestor
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by ThePensiveInvestor »

runner540 wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:23 pm
classicindexer wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:01 pm We use YNAB for budgeting and an Excel spreadsheet to track investments across all of our retirement accounts. I could never find one tool that was good at both. I do use Personal Capital occasionally to manually input numbers from Fidelity FullView for retirement planning (Monte Carlo simulation).
+1.
Exactly what we do. YNAB has a learning curve but is worth climbing it.
Same - YNAB and Google spreadsheet. Can't say enough good things about YNAB.
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FiveK
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by FiveK »

Quicken augmented by Excel.
jajlrajrf
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by jajlrajrf »

I'm using Gnucash. Love it.
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by Nearly A Moose »

jambadoc wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:09 pm Another YNAB and personal capital user here. I used to use mint, but found it limited and glitchy. YNAB does things differently it has a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get it come I think it works way better. It's not free, but I found it worth it.
Agreed. I use YNAB for daily budgeting. I still have Personal Capital, but I use it very infrequently now. In fact, I use it primarily to pull quarterly aggregate values for my credit cards and bank statements, which I use to populate a spreadsheet to track net worth in ... Excel!
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.
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galawdawg
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by galawdawg »

brcarls wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 2:11 pm I haven't tried any "personal finance" software for a few years, but in the past every time I tried MS Money, Mint, etc I was frustrated because it didn't do what I wanted (or I couldn't figure out how to get it to do what I wanted). The big thing missing was a forecast... They were all great at showing the past, but most important for me is forecasting cash flow so that I don't keep too much or not enough cash in my checking account. This forecast is important if you have monthly bills and bi-weekly paychecks like many people.

I have been just using a Google Sheets spreadsheet that maintains a running balance of my checking account. I have entries for about a year in advance with all of my normal spending and income plus anticipated spikes like taxes and insurance payments. When a bill shows up I just update the guesstimate with the actual and put an "x" in a column for "reconciled" when it actually is paid from my checking account.

I do use Fidelity Full View for looking back and seeing where money went... but it doesn't do the cashflow forecast that is valuable to me.
I have found MS Money's cash forecasting ability to be spot on. Perhaps it is because I literally enter every single expenditure in MS Money with the appropriate budget category, enter recurring bills and have an annual budget, but I find that the cash flow forecast that projects out twelve months is always on the money (absent some unexpected large expenditure). It uses your pattern of spending as well as your budget to see what you are likely to spend in each bank or credit card account over the next year and the resulting balances. It also has a lifetime planner section that helped me plan for retirement and future investing and spending needs.

But then again, I'm not sure how many people want to go into the appropriate account register and enter every expenditure (such as Wells Fargo Visa, $1.06, McDonalds, Dining Out...when getting a cup of coffee on the way to work at the McD's drive through lane!) So the robustness of the tools in MS Money does vary based upon the level of detail you provide.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

elvisimprsntr wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:14 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:38 pm
elvisimprsntr wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:44 pm IMO, if I don't have sufficient net positive cash flow that I think I need budgeting SW, then I am living beyond my means. Time is more well spent (pun intended) looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. I do have all my assets under one roof with Fidelity and link other accounts (401k, mortgage, etc.) via FullView so I can see everything on one dashboard.
So you’re deriding the need for budgeting software, but you’re using Full View, which provides most of the functionality of and can basically be used as budgeting software?

Do I have that right?
FullView is not budgeting SW.
Not according to Fidelity:
https://www.fidelity.com/cash-managemen ... w/overview
Create and manage your own budget
Use budgeting and reporting tools to set goals, track spending, and categorize expenses.
Granted you might not be using it as such, and I much prefer YNAB for budgeting. But it really is a bit much to berate people for using budgeting software, when you yourself are using software that can do budgeting!

For what it is worth I agree with other posters who say that software such as YNAB can be very important in looking for ways to make real cuts in unnecessary expenses. Since I started using YNAB I know where every single penny has gone, and I can slide and dice that data however I see fit.

To me, that's a huge benefit.
furwut
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by furwut »

aj76er wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:20 pm I use MINT for aggregating our spending and tracking budgets. It’s free and does a good job.
I’ve also used Mint for many years, only recently stopping. I agree it does a good job outside the occasional glitch with a specific bank or two.

But, as a Public Service Announcement, it is not free. I believe they extensively collect data on your finances and sell to 3rd parties. You may not care, or may think it’s too late to preserve any privacy anyway and that’s fine.
bhough
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by bhough »

I have become a little paranoid about privacy, so I went the other way. I have an Ubuntu desktop and set up a mysql database/apache server with a php/html front end for a home intranet. I have a database for bonds, post-tax stocks, 529 acts and checking. I made it so my wife can see our current balance. I do have to manually enter the checking acct data into MySQL through a php page though as I haven’t figured out how to reliably download transactions into MySQL (I can do it once, but can’t do it intermittent as it overwrites my previous data). The cool thing is that I have written a php page that brings together these databases into one networth page.

Probably less work to just write everything down in pencil once a month,...but at least it is stored on the server in my house and not somewhere else.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

bhough wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:53 pm I have become a little paranoid about privacy, so I went the other way. I have an Ubuntu desktop and set up a mysql database/apache server with a php/html front end for a home intranet. I have a database for bonds, post-tax stocks, 529 acts and checking. I made it so my wife can see our current balance. I do have to manually enter the checking acct data into MySQL through a php page though as I haven’t figured out how to reliably download transactions into MySQL (I can do it once, but can’t do it intermittent as it overwrites my previous data). The cool thing is that I have written a php page that brings together these databases into one networth page.

Probably less work to just write everything down in pencil once a month,...but at least it is stored on the server in my house and not somewhere else.
Works great for you, but unfortunately isn't an option for 99.9% of people out there.
Raraculus
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by Raraculus »

galawdawg wrote: Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:50 pmBeen a user of Microsoft Money since its initial release in 1991. Support was discontinued a number of years ago and you can no longer pull data directly from financial institutions, but if you are a spreadsheet user currently, you may find that it more than meets your needs.

Microsoft now provides it as a free download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloa ... x?id=20738
Thanks for the tip and link!

I had Quicken for many years. However, I switched computer desktops and bought a new Quicken version. Turns out that this version was the 'Starter' and not 'Deluxe' edition. I was not able to import my old Quicken (QDF) data. I decided to start from scratch instead.

However, MS Money was able to import this old Quicken (QDF) data! I finally can see my old transactions and see how much i've been improved in my finances since then.
iowahokies
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by iowahokies »

I am a long-time Moneydance user for both budgeting and investment tracking. It is similar to Quicken. I used Quicken for years but got tired of having to upgrade every few years to keep online access working. Moneydance doesn't have as many bells and whistles but it is full featured. I have no relationship to the company other than being a satisfied customer for the last 8-10 years. https://moneydance.com/
orlandoman
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Re: Personal Finance/Budgeting Software

Post by orlandoman »

+1 MoneyDance
"Don't Believe Everything You Think"
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