How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills.
doobiedoo
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by doobiedoo »

doobiedoo wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:39 am
NYCaviator wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:45 pm For people tracking their expenses in Excel, are you actually entering every transaction you make in a spreadsheet?
Yes.
That's the way I started doing it 39 years ago. That's the way I do it today.
It's actually easier today. I have almost 0 cash transaction today. In 1985, I had a lot of cash transactions each month.
NYCaviator wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:45 pm For people who are tracking their expenses in general (however they do it), why? (and I don't mean that sarcastically).
If you are hitting your savings goals, and are not living paycheck to paycheck,
is there any benefit in spending all of this time/money/effort knowing exactly where every penny went? ..
If you are hitting your savings goals and that's what you care about, then that's good enough for you.

If you are not hitting your savings goals, how do you know what to cut back on? In particular, where is the bang for the effort?
For that, you DO need to know where every dollar went.

The classic example is the daily $6 latte.
Maybe that does matter. Or maybe it's the car payment that matters. Or dining out. Or some other category.
Most [young] people do not have a good feel for what they spend their money on without tracking it.
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VgSince1982-2
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by VgSince1982-2 »

We're in the Quicken camp, but only for expenses and related cash flow. Our credit union checking/savings/MM transactions are downloaded as well as each credit card. Credit card bills paid from the credit union are shown as transfers, so overall it is a "closed system" of expenses.

Quicken has many features for asset management that we don't use, and while powerful, I think we'd be constantly working to keep things running. As it is, the portion of Quicken we use requires some (frustrating) maintenance such as credit cards needing to re-synced every so often.

And while categories are nice, and not difficult, I find the best value now is knowing how much overall we've spent. Being newly retired, the "how much do you spend?" question comes up often. Just before I read this post, I looked at the spending report for the first half of the year, being only interested in the total. We're in line with our predictions made based on our spending data taken from Quicken for years 2023 and 2022. :sharebeer

For investments, a home-grown spreadsheet completed monthly works for us. The spreadsheet has morphed depending on what percentages or tracking is in our focus at that time. Each month is saved in a separate tab to preserve each month's snapshot. (A side bonus is that we log into every account to fill out the monthly spreadsheet.)

L.
rambutan
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by rambutan »

I use a MacBook computer, with Banktivity. I do not use their IOS apps; just do everything on the Mac.

Originally used Quicken back in the days when I had a Windows PC. In recent years I moved to Banktivity, which has better features and better support if you are a Mac user. I am happy with it. I will note, however, that it requires a paid subscription and there's a learning curve if you are migrating from Quicken.

Banktivity supports legacy OFX bank interfaces and Yodlee for bank integrations (including the modern OAuth based Open Banking standard) in US. To be on the safe side, I only connect it to the banks using the OAuth-based Open Banking protocol. For my other accounts I manually enter transactions.
NYCaviator
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by NYCaviator »

This discussion had me looking at quicken (again), but $6/month on "sale" now??? When I had a subscription to try it out a couple years ago it was $30/year. If they've doubled their prices this quickly, that doesn't bode well for how they'll deal with future price increases.

For Mac users, is Banktivity decent? The poster above likes it, but I'm wondering if this is one of those vendors that'll hang around for a couple years and then go out of business.
lazynovice
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by lazynovice »

Billionaire wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:23 pm The amount I spend on lottery tickets would be downright depressing. Hence, one reason why I don't track expenses.
If you don’t track your losses, you can’t deduct them from your gains when you hit the big one! :D
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bertilak
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by bertilak »

MGBMartin wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:41 am Quicken for me since their very first version back in the 80s.
I’ve tried other tools but never warmed up to them.
Ditto.
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bertilak
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by bertilak »

VgSince1982-2 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:54 pm Quicken has many features for asset management that we don't use, and while powerful, I think we'd be constantly working to keep things running. As it is, the portion of Quicken we use requires some (frustrating) maintenance such as credit cards needing to re-synced every so often.
Yes, I have been running into needing to re-connect one particular credit card lately: Costco's Visa. Probably not (all?) Quicken's fault. Happened twice, I think.

I did recently have a case where an investment transaction seems to have been lost and I had to enter it manually. I noticed when the overall balances were out of whack. Sometimes a dividend reinvestment shows as a single reinvestment transaction and sometimes as two transactions: dividend then purchase. I don't know why this happens but it is probably a matter of how Vanguard presents the transactions, in which case Quicken is just echoing what Vanguard is reporting. One of those purchases is what got lost.
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dcop
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by dcop »

Excel, 26 years and counting. I update it daily with the click of one button by scraping Yahoo Finance API data.
Mopar440
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Mopar440 »

My wife. Simply
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bertilak
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by bertilak »

dcop wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 12:16 pm Excel, 26 years and counting. I update it daily with the click of one button by scraping Yahoo Finance API data.
I used to have a spreadsheet that snatched Yahoo data but the interface I used was discontinued, or somehow stopped working. That was several years ago. Can you give me any pointers on how to use Yahoo today?
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dcop
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by dcop »

bertilak wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:29 pm
dcop wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 12:16 pm Excel, 26 years and counting. I update it daily with the click of one button by scraping Yahoo Finance API data.
I used to have a spreadsheet that snatched Yahoo data but the interface I used was discontinued, or somehow stopped working. That was several years ago. Can you give me any pointers on how to use Yahoo today?
Go to rapidapi.com and signup for the yahoo finance API. It's free. You can capture the data with many different programming languages and then proceed to scape the whatever values you wish. API is the way I do it now but over the years I've done it programatically many different ways using Yahoo Finance. I enjoy doing it and realize it's not appealing to many.
howard71
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by howard71 »

I've tried most of the free aggregators and none of them provides me with the information I want. Specifically, a breakdown by asset classes I can choose myself and how much I am out of balance according to self-determined bands.

So since I have to figure all that out any way I just built my own spreadsheet.
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bertilak
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by bertilak »

dcop wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:51 pm
bertilak wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:29 pm
dcop wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 12:16 pm Excel, 26 years and counting. I update it daily with the click of one button by scraping Yahoo Finance API data.
I used to have a spreadsheet that snatched Yahoo data but the interface I used was discontinued, or somehow stopped working. That was several years ago. Can you give me any pointers on how to use Yahoo today?
Go to rapidapi.com and signup for the yahoo finance API. It's free. You can capture the data with many different programming languages and then proceed to scape the whatever values you wish. API is the way I do it now but over the years I've done it programatically many different ways using Yahoo Finance. I enjoy doing it and realize it's not appealing to many.
Thanks. I'll look into it!

How stable is that. It's been working 26 years?
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classpro
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by classpro »

I used Quicken religiously for many years from when it first came out. It was such a great program, inexpensive and free support.

But then they sold out to companies focused primarily on milking it - poor support, much more costly, whiz-bang features that made it slow, and even threatening your data if you didn't pay a subscription.

After working from an old version for some years, I decided to try a program called Moneyspire, which I have used for about three or four years. It was easy to import my quicken data, and it is very easy to enter transactions - they have a function where you can copy a previous transaction using the current date, and then edit it, which makes entry easy.

You can have unlimited accounts on your hard drive, but only one account accessible through email (and available on the android and ios app).

Reporting is not great, but it is the easiest program to use to copy data into a spreadsheet. Literally sort, copy and paste. They are actively improving the program, and upgrade costs are $40 per year.

I should say that I like entering transactions and reconciling them rather than just using bank information that is imported. That way I know if a charge is different than my receipt, and I am aware of outstanding items.

Moneyspire has been very responsive with questions.
523HRR
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by 523HRR »

Everything is in Quicken.
Bama12
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Bama12 »

Excel
jsapiandante
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by jsapiandante »

Excel to track investments, net worth, and general expenses. I update it monthly.

Then Empower (previously Personal Capital) app to track expenses in detail. I used to use Mint but got annoyed that certain accounts wouldn't sync properly.
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Toons
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Toons »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:21 am
Toons wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:13 am Quicken :happy
Yeah. I don’t budget, but it’s good to double check payments and money movements from account to account. Easy. I don’t mind the subscription model; not something that gets my knickers in a twist.
Subscription model is fine with me,,,
Everyone has to make a living
I am happy to support the cause :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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bertilak
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by bertilak »

Toons wrote: Fri Jul 12, 2024 12:48 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:21 am
Toons wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:13 am Quicken :happy
Yeah. I don’t budget, but it’s good to double check payments and money movements from account to account. Easy. I don’t mind the subscription model; not something that gets my knickers in a twist.
Subscription model is fine with me,,,
Everyone has to make a living
I am happy to support the cause :happy
You also get continual updates to keep up with all the back-end changes as financial institutions tweak their connection methods. Also bug fixes.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
gutterman
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by gutterman »

I use Countabout. It's designed for people frustrated with Quicken as you can import your quicken data. It's not as polished as Quicken but it works well. They have good tech support too
dvvader
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by dvvader »

YNAB for budget/expenses/operating cash.

Excel for investments.
Bogleheads® emphasize regular saving, broad diversification, and sticking to one's investment plan regardless of market conditions.
mrsbetsy
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by mrsbetsy »

We used Excel and now Google Sheets.

We have a small budget meeting every Friday. We have two columns: budgeted and actual. At the beginning of the month, we anticipate expenses and put it in column one. We have 27 categories in total with 16 of them fixed expenses. Every Friday, we calculate what we actually spent and keep a running total in column two. If we budgeted xx for entertainment and we ran out of the budgeted amount by week 3, we discuss whether we will pass on opportunities or surpass what we budgeted.

We know where every dime was spent since 2013. So we don't just track; we budget.
Lastrun
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Lastrun »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 6:49 am This discussion had me looking at quicken (again), but $6/month on "sale" now??? When I had a subscription to try it out a couple years ago it was $30/year. If they've doubled their prices this quickly, that doesn't bode well for how they'll deal with future price increases.

For Mac users, is Banktivity decent? The poster above likes it, but I'm wondering if this is one of those vendors that'll hang around for a couple years and then go out of business.
I would not just jump to it. A few years ago I went all Apple on my devices and had to determine whether to “downgrade” to Quicken for Mac from the Windows version of Quicken, or switch to something else. At that time, Quicken for Mac was truly inferior to the Windows version. I looked at Banktivity hard and decided not to use it. If my recollection is correct, it was because Quicken was noticeably better for investment tracking, but don’t trust me, which is why I say take a hard look at it.

Overall, Quicken for Mac has improved over the years.
mrsbetsy
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by mrsbetsy »

NYCaviator wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:55 am 1. Simplify and consolidate your accounts. You only need one checking account, one savings/money market, one credit card, and maybe a backup credit card. That'll make tracking things a lot easier.

2. Keep a cushion in checking. That way you won't need to constantly move money around to cover expenses and it allows you to automate things.

3. I use a spreadsheet to track how much money we save and compare that with our income so I have a general idea of our savings rate. It's really simple to do that.

I've tried Quicken but always got rid of it. For me, it just takes too much time to set up properly and keep running. Amex has a really good end of year spending report (and you can run it YTD too) to show what you are spending the most on. I glance at that a couple times a year just to see, but otherwise I don't really care. As long as I'm meeting our savings goals and have money to pay the bills, I don't need to know exactly how much I spent on dog food or dry cleaning last month.
I hope your one checking account and saving account are not at the same financial institution. We are going through the Patelco ransomware attack and all customers have been locked out of our account for 2 weeks with no end in sight. Wisdom shows me to diversify banking these days to more than one institution. Patelco was hit this time...who will be next?
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MN-Investor
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by MN-Investor »

I've used Quicken for years to keep track of my checking account and credit cards. For several years before my husband retired, I exported the Quicken data to Excel where I could consolidate categories of expenses in order to predict what our spending would be once my sweetie retired.

I have an Excel investment worksheet which I can update once a week, keeping only the month end data. It only takes me 10 minutes to update that worksheet. I would print that off, or a broad overview version of it, for my husband so he could also see where we were in our investments.

-----------------------------------------

An important observation: The best way to keep track of finances is the one that works for YOU. It's all fine and good to try some of these methods out, but if you find them onerous, try something else!

My sister's wife passed away last year from cancer. My SIL was the one who kept track of the finances. She was an experienced PC user and put expenses into Quicken. It was very tempting to coax my sister into using Quicken also, but my sister is not so much of a computer user. My sister would have been frustrated and miserable trying to use Quicken. However, my sister is extremely organized and has no problem organizing her expenses on pads of paper. That meets her needs and she has no problem updating data. I visited her this spring to do her taxes and she had all the numbers readily available. So everything works for her. And that is key.
The key to success - Save early, save often, invest well.
mrsbetsy
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by mrsbetsy »

NYCaviator wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:45 pm For people tracking their expenses in Excel, are you actually entering every transaction you make in a spreadsheet?

For people who are tracking their expenses in general (however they do it), why? (and I don't mean that sarcastically). If you are hitting your savings goals, and are not living paycheck to paycheck, is there any benefit in spending all of this time/money/effort knowing exactly where every penny went? I've tried quicken before because I always feel like I'm missing out, but the level of detail in the categories is absolutely insane. I don't know what valuable information would be gleaned from having all of your expenses in quicken.
We track 27 categories. Why? Because my husband is a spender and likes expensive toys, golf, craft beer, and dinner out. I'm a saver. We budget for his stuff and we budget for my savings goals. It stopped fights. Hard to argue when things are agreed upon in advance, we have receipts, and we already pinky promised and spit-shaked on the budget.

We are a match because he makes sure I have fun and I make sure we have a future.

36 years married and it works for us.
classicindexer
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by classicindexer »

YNAB for banking/HSA/credit cards. Mix of manual entry + direct import with banks/CCs that support OAuth. Love it.

Excel w/365 subscription for investments/retirement accounts it imports current ETF and mutual fund prices.

Fidelity FullView and Personal Capital to plan how much to save for retirement.
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id0ntkn0wjack
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by id0ntkn0wjack »

I switched to Moneydance after Quicken dropped its Mac support. A bit of a learning curve, but it works great for me now.
HeadlongFlight
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by HeadlongFlight »

I use a ridiculously complicated Excel spreadsheet. Not formulaically complicated, but just a lot of data. It serves as a checkbook ledger and budget tool, and a history journal of sorts.

I have about 160 columns for a multitude of predictable expenses, insurance, utilities, contingency funds, isolated raise amounts, triple-payday-month extras, sale of vacation time, tax refunds, and more.

This layout is duplicated across all the places where I have cash: checking, savings (both minimal), money market (most). The grand total of, say, the insurance fund for a particular car may be mostly in mm but some in checking, etc. and the total is "stacked" into its total figure. Worksheets within the larger workbook. Also sheets for Vanguard transactions and holdings and other investment stuff, but overall it is not some one-look net worth model.

Each paycheck involves sprinkling money into about 52 columns (funds), like mortgage, gas, groceries, some investments, general spending/pocket money, etc.

Every transaction that affects an account balance, or a credit card, is recorded. Bought gasoline? Deduct that amount from the gas fund, add it to the running pay-it-off credit card fund. Zero-sum row. Made the mortgage or credit card payment? That's a negative amount because it's money actually going out of the checking account. I can always reconcile these accounts to the penny.

There is always a negative-balance column for "The Envelope," which usually has $200-400 cash in it. Use cash for something? Pocket money for my wallet? Piano teacher? Gotta charge a column and add an equal amount back to the Envelope column. Run out of cash on hand, The Envelope fund reaches 0 because the stuff you used it for has been properly allocated.

Most everyday transactions run through a couple of credit cards, which I then pay off each month. While Dave Ramsey may argue that people spend more overall when they use credit cards and pay it all off, it sure feels like I'm spending the actual money to me when I record it all this way a day or two later!

It sounds silly to write it all out like that, but I love messing with it. Been this way for over 25 years. Welcome to my first-ever Bogleheads post. :D
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crinkles2
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by crinkles2 »

Forward looking cash flow management, I use YNAB. Essential for us, single income family.

Rearward looking, detailed tracking of expenses and investments, I use Moneydance. Cross platform, simple, and not a SaaS.
WWJBDo
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by WWJBDo »

I update monthly, in excel, values of bank accounts and investment and IRA accounts. There is only 1 checking account and only 1 savings account that does external transfers to pay anything.
I track monthly total cash out through the 1 checking account and the single savings account that is the source of external payment transfers and cash withdrawls and Paypal.
From the monthly data I am able to determine our annual cash flow expenses. This informs our expected future expenses.

Annually, from our tax return, I add a column each year to another excel page that reviews total income by source type, total taxes and net income. From that I subtract our annual cash flow expenses and am left with annual net cash flow. While I have no individual transactional information, this data tells me if we have gone off the rails.

For detailed information, I used to use quicken like others, but it became unusable when I switched to the Mac platform. Banktivity is an excellent Quicken replacement if you have a Mac. I have Banktivity, but rarely use it. Tracking individual expenses is not worth my time.

As an aside, I have in large letters at the top of my Spreadsheet the following useful reminder- I don't recall where it came from. Perhaps someone may chime in.
One Time Expenses--------------------------------------Monthly Expenses
$1,000 = 1 more day of work-----------------------------$10 = 3 more days of work
$10,000 = 2 more weeks of work--------------------------$100 = 6 more weeks of work
$100,000 = 6 more months of work------------------------$1,000 = 1.5 more years of work
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair
HIinvestor
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by HIinvestor »

We only track major expenses and inflows, like major home repairs, RMDs, 5 figure dividends, etc. We spend less than we have in income every year. We did retroactively check our expenses via looking at credit cards, just out of curiousity for a few years. We charge nearly everything and are satisfied with our savings and spending.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

My checking account keeps track of my checking transactions. My charge card tracks my charge card spending. My investments are tracked by vanguard. I don’t replicate what is already tracked.

I log on about once a week to check them.

A few times a year I rebalance to my 65/35 AA.

I have a spreadsheet I summarize our investments and another where I replicate my annual tax return for planning.

If I spend too much, I reduce my spending.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

HeadlongFlight wrote: Sat Jul 13, 2024 8:52 pm I use a ridiculously complicated Excel spreadsheet. Not formulaically complicated, but just a lot of data. It serves as a checkbook ledger and budget tool, and a history journal of sorts.

I have about 160 columns for a multitude of predictable expenses, insurance, utilities, contingency funds, isolated raise amounts, triple-payday-month extras, sale of vacation time, tax refunds, and more.

This layout is duplicated across all the places where I have cash: checking, savings (both minimal), money market (most). The grand total of, say, the insurance fund for a particular car may be mostly in mm but some in checking, etc. and the total is "stacked" into its total figure. Worksheets within the larger workbook. Also sheets for Vanguard transactions and holdings and other investment stuff, but overall it is not some one-look net worth model.

Each paycheck involves sprinkling money into about 52 columns (funds), like mortgage, gas, groceries, some investments, general spending/pocket money, etc.

Every transaction that affects an account balance, or a credit card, is recorded. Bought gasoline? Deduct that amount from the gas fund, add it to the running pay-it-off credit card fund. Zero-sum row. Made the mortgage or credit card payment? That's a negative amount because it's money actually going out of the checking account. I can always reconcile these accounts to the penny.

There is always a negative-balance column for "The Envelope," which usually has $200-400 cash in it. Use cash for something? Pocket money for my wallet? Piano teacher? Gotta charge a column and add an equal amount back to the Envelope column. Run out of cash on hand, The Envelope fund reaches 0 because the stuff you used it for has been properly allocated.

Most everyday transactions run through a couple of credit cards, which I then pay off each month. While Dave Ramsey may argue that people spend more overall when they use credit cards and pay it all off, it sure feels like I'm spending the actual money to me when I record it all this way a day or two later!

It sounds silly to write it all out like that, but I love messing with it. Been this way for over 25 years. Welcome to my first-ever Bogleheads post. :D
Welcome to the forum. I bet you can simplify your process and move towards Taylor the ultimate boglehead’s nirvana - simplify, simplify, simplify!

I like the quote “there is no sense in doing well that which we should not be doing at all”.

That being said your process appears to be working for you!
CloseEnough
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by CloseEnough »

I use a close enough approach. For investments, Schwab has a portfolio tracker tool which is pretty good for tracking allocations. I have three non-Schwab accounts which I've added into the Schwab tool and it breaks down stocks, fixed income, cash, international with some level of analysis. Not that deep, but close enough. I'm surprised the Schwab tool is not used by others here, while not as good as the Morningstar Xray I used to have access to through a work retirement plan, the Schwab seems adequate for basic tracking of allocations and, to some extent, returns. I like no Quicken, no excel, no other more complicated spreadsheets, financial tracking products, just don't think they are necessary. For me.

I have a macro idea of what spend is and can see more information if needed in bank checking, the two or three credit cards I use. I don't feel a need to break it down, there is some month to month variation in total spend, categories etc and the occasional lumpy expense related to travel, house, car. I have been saying for a while I should do a review of repeating expenses to see where I can cut, but have not gotten around to it. Maybe later in 2024.
greengorilla45
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Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by greengorilla45 »

NYCaviator wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:45 pm For people tracking their expenses in Excel, are you actually entering every transaction you make in a spreadsheet?

For people who are tracking their expenses in general (however they do it), why? (and I don't mean that sarcastically). If you are hitting your savings goals, and are not living paycheck to paycheck, is there any benefit in spending all of this time/money/effort knowing exactly where every penny went? I've tried quicken before because I always feel like I'm missing out, but the level of detail in the categories is absolutely insane. I don't know what valuable information would be gleaned from having all of your expenses in quicken.
1) Say you lose your job and are trying to find things to cut so you don't lose so much of your emergency fund. Seeing years worth of expenses and especially the past couple months in neat categories makes it super easy to find out where things are going. You can go as detailed as you like of course but I think there is a limit to that. I feel like it is something I would like in that kind of case but don't use it a LOT at the moment.

2) I think people using Excel for this are nuts. I'm in IT so I've seen excel used for a ton of things it shouldn't be and in this case there are so many tools purpose built for it I would never encourage anyone to start using excel (if you're already going on it, good for you- keep at it. Whatever blows your hair back.)

3) Gnucash to the OP. It's free, open source software. It works wonderfully, does a ton (but budgeting might be tough- I don't personally use that part), and can be used for business if you own/track one as well. I see no reason to pay for a commercial product myself and instead donate money annually to the Gnucash project. Super, super satisfied with it.

Compare it to Excel and it can import transactions, of course does all the adding/subtracting, etc. without needing formulas, prints out charts, transaction reports, income/expense reports, can make placeholder accounts, can use stock ticker symbols (ie. VTSAX) and while tracking your stock amounts can also automatically fetch online prices for those stocks so you have a dollar amount corresponding to your stock total. Also does lots, etc. etc. So, so much more usable right out of the box than a dinky spreadsheet and I would argue is easier to get started and easier to update. Again- please think about this before starting on excel/google sheets/librecalc.
LambertStrether
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2023 5:25 am

Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by LambertStrether »

I've just started using the Copilot app (Mac and iOS, no web version). It's similar to Mint, but is a paid app, and doesn't sell your data. It plays nicely with the Apple Card and Apple Card Savings accounts, while many other aggregators do not. Overall, I've been very pleased, but I wonder how long before it changes its name to avoid confusion with Microsoft's AI platform...

I use Wealthfront for my primary cash management (and no, I'm not afraid of the Yotta debacle). Like other fintech accounts, it allows for easy creation of dummy sub-accounts for various purposes with periodic sweeps; these don't show up in Copilot, but it would be nice if they did.
NYCaviator
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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:06 pm
Location: NYC

Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by NYCaviator »

greengorilla45 wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 7:53 am
2) I think people using Excel for this are nuts. I'm in IT so I've seen excel used for a ton of things it shouldn't be and in this case there are so many tools purpose built for it I would never encourage anyone to start using excel (if you're already going on it, good for you- keep at it. Whatever blows your hair back.)
I agree. I can't imagine manually entering every single transaction and transfer in a spreadsheet. That seems like a colossal time suck for minimal value. I did see a demo of Tiller Money. It looks like some proprietary Excel/Google Sheets templates that has a built in account aggregator.

My biggest issue with the account aggregators (especially Quicken) is that they break without warning and that's a headache. Plus, if I don't want to give Quicken my Fidelity credentials and there are a bunch of transfers out of my checking account, they may not get coded correctly.
kenai
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue May 02, 2023 12:41 pm

Re: How do you keep track of your personal finances?

Post by kenai »

I use the Numbers app on my Mac/iPhone/iPhone.

I don't track all transactions, only the monthly totals for my income and expenses from credit cards/insurance/rent etc... It doesn't matter how or where I spend my money for the month as long as my expenses do not exceed my income.

Yes, I manually put in all the numbers once a month but this helps me figure out what I have and where everything is going.
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