Author Topic: Budget Software  (Read 10309 times)

aj_yooper

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Budget Software
« on: May 06, 2013, 07:39:06 AM »
I have used Money and Quicken software in the past, but am interested in opinions about YNAB and Mint.  Mint sounds very cool, but I am anxious about putting so much financial information with passwords out there.  YNAB seems more protected.  Are there more reasonable alternatives?

Good qualities of the budget software would be:

Confidential.
Dependable.
Free, if possible.
Ease of use.
Good tracking and display of expenses.
Integration with stash.

Thank you.

projekt

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 09:43:57 AM »
I use Budget by Snowmint Software. It's a good envelope budgeting program. Budget can work with imported financial statements, but I don't tend to do that. I just type everything in manually and it doesn't take me very long. I have quick and definite answers to questions like "how long can we afford to go without income?". Budget costs $39.95 and I have not had to pay for an upgrade since I bought it. Works on Mac and PC. There is also an iOS version that I haven't tried, that will sync with the desktop version.

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 10:44:36 AM »
There's also GnuCash and Homebank to consider, both are free and open source applications ported to every major desktop OS. Best part is, they aren't dependent upon outdated and unsupported code that hasn't received security updates in over three years, or depends on the IE6 rendering engine and ActiveX to function and was designed around internet access (even though those features no longer function). Extra bonus, they'll keep being updated and continue to function on future OS updates as well so long as the project keeps developers... and both have pretty large open source communities lasting for a good number of years.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 10:47:20 AM by I.P. Daley »

tonyevans

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 11:32:20 AM »
I love YNAB. For the price it's a fantastic value. I've used GNUCash, Money, Mint, an excel mash-up of what I wanted, and once I found YNAB, I haven't look at any others. It fit the bill, so to speak.  I've been using it for about a year and have things pretty much hammer out. Usually, my biggest problem is not entering the transactions for my CC and checking account. Once I get behind, it can be overwhelming to try to play catch-up. This is why Mint is so popular, in my opinion. They make that part easy.

I really like the iphone app. Even though I use airvoice, I just sync the transactions when I get home/to work over wi-fi. This helps keep me caught-up.

They do frequent updates for bug-fixes and features as well. I'd say I see any update every month or two.

That's my quick response, anyway.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 01:05:20 PM by tonyevans »

SunshineGirl

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 11:35:16 AM »
I'm in the free trial period of YNAB and absolutely love it. You don't have to put any account numbers in, which is perfect if you have security concerns. On the flip side, you then have to manually enter your transactions, which I don't mind (yet), because it's interesting so far. I'm also getting some huge lessons in where all that extra money goes! 

smalllife

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 11:39:51 AM »
Personally I like YNAB.  I used Mint for about a year but took it down after data security issues and syncing problems with two of my financial institutions.  YNAB is flexible and does a great job of reflecting reality/planning for the short to mid term spending.  I don't have too many transactions and find that manually entering everything forces me to think about my spending.  It's at least worth the free trial (34 days to get you through a month transition no matter when you start).

arebelspy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 12:13:16 PM »
I don't budget.

I use Mint to glance at my spending and track it, but if Mint didn't exist, I'd just use credit card and checking account statements.

I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.
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Will

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 01:04:10 PM »
I don't budget.

I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. -Lewis Carroll
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 01:11:33 PM by Will »

arebelspy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 01:48:20 PM »
I don't budget.

I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. -Lewis Carroll

I know where I'm going.  Why would a budget help me get there?

The budget tells me I'm going to spend $461 on housing.  Whether or not it says it, I will spend that.  What did the budget do for me?

I make up a number, say $50, for clothes.  I don't need any.  Why should I buy some because it's budgeted in?  Or say I need a new jacket and boots, which will cost $100. Why should I not buy them because it's not budgeted in?

How about I just spend on what I want and need, and not have some random numbers on a paper dictate it?

Not sure how the ever popular "any road will get you there" quote is relevant at all.
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Will

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 02:17:56 PM »

I know where I'm going.  Why would a budget help me get there?

The budget tells me I'm going to spend $461 on housing.  Whether or not it says it, I will spend that.  What did the budget do for me?

How do you know where you are going?  Do you have a plan?  How is a budget different than a plan?  Do you plan on spending $461 on housing?   Yeah, whether you plan on it or not, it will still be the amount you owe.  The budget let you know where in the plan it fit in.

I make up a number, say $50, for clothes.  I don't need any.  Why should I buy some because it's budgeted in?  Or say I need a new jacket and boots, which will cost $100. Why should I not buy them because it's not budgeted in?

Why would you make up a number for clothes if you don't need any?  Believe it or not, having a budget doesn't turn you into a blithering buffoon who goes out and spends foolishly.  If you don't need $50 worth of clothes, your budget doesn't force you to go out and buy some because you have ceded all your mental capacity to it.  Or, for example, if you are at least somewhat aware of what you do need (perhaps a new jacket and boots which will cost $100) but you don't have the money for it, you could plan to save some of it this month and the rest next month.  So yes, if you cannot afford it, then you should not buy it.

How about I just spend on what I want and need, and not have some random numbers on a paper dictate it?

How about not everyone has the resources you do and cannot just go out and buy whatever their heart desires and whatever they truly need (because they've already bought everything they want)?  For people who drive, they follow maps or GPS to get from point A to point B efficiently because they cannot afford gas to just drive around all willy nilly hoping to eventually get there.  Or maybe there is a roadblock or a detour that forces a change in plan.  A plan??!?!  How silly of them!  But they still have a backup plan and other resources they can use.

And in all my time budgeting, I have never used "some random numbers on a paper" (or anywhere else, for that matter) to "dictate" what I spend. 


I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

If you are putting artificial constraints on your spending, then you wouldn't be budgeting correctly.

AJ

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 02:24:32 PM »
I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

That's a bit like a naturally thin person saying "I don't understand the point of calorie tracking. I don't want to put artificial limits on what I can and can't eat."

You (the general 'you') budget because wants typically exceed means, and a budget let's you preemptively run your cost-benefit analyses.

We threw a Cinco de Mayo party this past weekend. We decided ahead of time what we thought was reasonable to spend (aka Budgeted). We wanted to get decorations, tequila, and beef for tacos. But once we priced everything, we couldn't get helium balloons, top shelf tequila, and grass fed beef and stay on budget. So, we got dollar store balloons w/o helium, middle-grade tequila, and the grass fed beef. Yeah, if we were going to be 100% frugal we could have skipped the decorations and tequila and served beans. Heck, we could have skipped the whole party and saved all the money. Or, if we hadn't allocated a reasonable amount ahead of time, we could have bought exactly what we wanted in all areas and put less into investments for the month.

Budgets aren't iron-clad, but they provide a framework to guide your spending through the month. Folks who are living at an absolute subsistence level don't need a budget because they are only buying for absolute needs. Likewise, people that are "naturally thin" financially who have very few natural wants, or those who lean towards miser-hood and have a hard time spending anything, wouldn't need a budget. But most of us do buy some things that are wants, we don't buy all our wants, and a budget guides people through those choices.


aj_yooper

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 03:44:58 PM »
Thank you MMM Community for the quick response on budget software.  I am going to look at all of the suggestions, especially the free stuff.  Hadn't heard of Gnucash, Homebank, Budget, or the free Money Sunset.  My wife especially likes budget charts and tracking.

arebelspy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 03:59:14 PM »
Wow, appears I hit a nerve.  I didn't realize budgets were so personal to you, that it would offend you so much Will.

How about not everyone has the resources you do and cannot just go out and buy whatever their heart desires and whatever they truly need (because they've already bought everything they want)?  For people who drive, they follow maps or GPS to get from point A to point B efficiently because they cannot afford gas to just drive around all willy nilly hoping to eventually get there.  Or maybe there is a roadblock or a detour that forces a change in plan.  A plan??!?!  How silly of them!  But they still have a backup plan and other resources they can use.

This analogy seems silly to me.  In most situations, I know where I'm going.  I will take the most direct way to get there, and use the least amount of gas necessary.  Would putting a number on the gas I use change that?  No.

If I don't know where I'm going, I still want to take the most direct way, so I'll find out what that is.

With spending, I want to spend as little as possible and be as efficient as possible. 

Equating a budget with a map makes absolutely zero sense to me.  As is, it's not that I disagree with it, I just can't even comprehend how the two are remotely related.

A budget doesn't plan for me where I want to go, or how I want to spend money.  I will just spend what I need to spend.  What does a budget help with that?

Why would you make up a number for clothes if you don't need any? 

This is a great example.  I wouldn't.  So I budget $0 for clothes.  But the next month I need $75 worth.  No budget?  Great, go buy.  With my $0 budget?  $&*^.  If I up it to $75 in my budget, then the next month, I don't need any?  Or another $100 worth.

If changes monthly based on what I need, how is that different than what I'm doing now, not having a budget?

Sorry if you see this as a personal attack and feel the need to lash out again, I am genuinely confused.

Maybe someone else less emotionally invested can help chime in?

AJ's example helped a little, but I don't understand what having a budget has to do with it.  I have a cinco de mayo party.  I decide that I'm going to spend X on it.  Is having an entertainment budget of Y (which may be less than, or greater than, X) relevant at all?

Sure, you could have spent more, or less.  That's the case with every dollar you spend.  I don't see what a budget changes about that.

YMMV, obviously.
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AJ

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 04:54:45 PM »
Sure, you could have spent more, or less.  That's the case with every dollar you spend.  I don't see what a budget changes about that.

The difference with the budget was that we knew how much we had to spend. If we hadn't decided ahead of time how much we wanted to spend on that party, we would have bought exactly what we wanted in each area rather than making trade-offs.

A budget is just the on-the-ground tactical plan for achieving your strategic goals. I can juggle a lot of competing priorities in my head, but even I have a limit. So when I'm choosing a Tequila, I'm weighing the amount and the quality and how many people are coming and whether I want better tequila or better balloons or extra guacamole, and whether I want white or gold, and whether I want to try something new or go with an old stand-by...etc. I don't want to convolute the decision with whether this purchase will leave me with enough funds to meet my goals, or if I will have enough for groceries, or blah blah blah. I just want to know "I have $X available to party with. What's the most fun I can have with my $X?" having already decided ahead of time that I could spend $X while still meeting my goals.

This is a great example.  I wouldn't.  So I budget $0 for clothes.  But the next month I need $75 worth.  No budget?  Great, go buy.  With my $0 budget?  $&*^.  If I up it to $75 in my budget, then the next month, I don't need any?  Or another $100 worth.

But what if you don't actually need $75 worth of clothes, but you want them? And you don't need 20lbs of ground beef, but there is a decent sale and you want to take advantage of it? And you don't need a nice bottle of wine to celebrate your anniversary, but you want it? And you don't need an 85% savings rate this month rather than 75%, but you want it? You can't have them all - so do you just go with whichever one comes up first?

I'll tell you how it would go for us, and maybe that will help: When we set up our budget for May we knew we would have a party and an anniversary. We also knew summer was coming, and DH wanted to update his wardrobe because he has lost some weight and his old shorts don't fit as well as he would like (a want, not a need). So, we budgeted less for Groceries, knowing we could eat more rice/beans from the cupboard this month plus party leftovers. We did that so we could budget more for Clothing and for the Party and anniversary. Now, let's say hypothetically that tomorrow I find out about a great sale on beef. We would need to ask ourselves if we want to forgo the anniversary celebration and/or the new clothes to take advantage of the sale. Maybe it's a really great sale and it's worth giving up the other things to stock up. Maybe it's just a decent sale, so we just cut the other categories back a bit.

So, if we didn't budget, what would that look like? Well, I probably would have gone out and done regular grocery shopping, not realizing Hubby wanted extra money for new clothes. Then we would have spent the party money. Then the sale on beef comes up and we throw the rest of our available cash at it to stock up (seems like a good idea). Now we're out of money for our anniversary, and for Hubby's new clothes. Or, we take money that would otherwise have gone to savings to pay for those things.

You might already be doing that sort of thing in a less structured way. And I hope it would go without saying, but I don't think you *have* to budget (just like I don't track my calories). I'm just explaining why we do.

Will

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 05:08:53 PM »
Wow, appears I hit a nerve.  I didn't realize budgets were so personal to you, that it would offend you so much Will.

No offense taken.  Imply that people who budget their money are too stupid to buy what they need when they can regardless of what a budget says all you want.

projekt

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 05:27:45 PM »
This disagreement comes from the two different philosophies of "budgeting" and "spending plans". IIRC, This difference is highlighted in YMOYL, but I don't remember exactly what was said. This is how I understand it: the budgeting philosophy says that you hit limits and you try not to exceed them or postpone spending until things fall back within budget. The spending plan philosophy says that you consider every instance of spending and stop and ask yourself if it is within your life plan, because every cent is a piece of your life force and you want to spend it appropriately. They are asymptotically equivalent but each philosophy works out better for different people.

Here's my take: I have a budget because it tells me what my run rate will be in the future. Sure, I can look at past spending, but that doesn't always predict future spending. I know what is discretionary and what is mandatory. If I move and look for a new job (doing that now) I need to know when I should start getting worried that my savings are going to be exhausted. Now, if I had $400,000 in liquid assets, that wouldn't be as much of a concern, but I am not at that stage yet.

But I like envelope budgeting like Budget or mvelopes better than, e.g., Mint or Quicken, because the envelope style makes everything very clear. I don't need a budget line for clothes, which are pretty random purchases in my life. When I buy clothes, I divert from other envelopes in to the clothes envelope. Sometimes it will come from money destined for savings, sometimes it will come from envelopes that have gotten too fat from being unspent. The envelope style also makes it obvious when what I think I am spending is not in line with what I actually spend, because an envelope will either go negative or look fat. If I have quarterly or semiannual expenses, envelope budgeting slowly grows those envelopes until the spending is due.

Mint and Quicken simply tell me that my spending has exceeded or not exceeded my budget for that month, with no memory. They do not make it easy to plan for expenses that are not on a monthly schedule. (In my memory, at least. Things may have changed). I find this cognitively harder to deal with.

If I proceeded without a budget, I would do fine, I'm sure, but I wouldn't really know what I was spending on. If I used a plan like YMOYL, writing down every little expense and categorizing it on a regular basis, I'd be doing the same thing as I do now with less feeling like I have a plan.

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

arebelspy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2013, 05:48:38 PM »
So, if we didn't budget, what would that look like? Well, I probably would have gone out and done regular grocery shopping, not realizing Hubby wanted extra money for new clothes. Then we would have spent the party money. Then the sale on beef comes up and we throw the rest of our available cash at it to stock up (seems like a good idea). Now we're out of money for our anniversary, and for Hubby's new clothes. Or, we take money that would otherwise have gone to savings to pay for those things.

I guess that's the difference - if all of those things seemed worth it to us, yes, we'd have done them all.  They just probably wouldn't have been worth it based on what is important to us.  For someone else who wants everything, they might utilize a budget as a tool to decide where they can spend.  Makes more sense now, thanks.

This disagreement comes from the two different philosophies of "budgeting" and "spending plans". IIRC, This difference is highlighted in YMOYL, but I don't remember exactly what was said. This is how I understand it: the budgeting philosophy says that you hit limits and you try not to exceed them or postpone spending until things fall back within budget. The spending plan philosophy says that you consider every instance of spending and stop and ask yourself if it is within your life plan, because every cent is a piece of your life force and you want to spend it appropriately. They are asymptotically equivalent but each philosophy works out better for different people.

Ah, that does shed quite a bit of light on it for me.  We do consider when we spend money and decide if it's worth it, and, if it is, we spend it.  Regardless of any budget.   It's a philosophy thing, which is why I was having trouble grasping it.  When you have the spending plan philosophy (never heard it called that, but makes some sense) it doesn't make sense to put limits on what you spend, because all your spending is worth it.

Wow, appears I hit a nerve.  I didn't realize budgets were so personal to you, that it would offend you so much Will.

No offense taken.  Imply that people who budget their money are too stupid to buy what they need when they can regardless of what a budget says all you want.

Did you get fired, or your dog die or something?  I'm sorry you're having such a rough time that you're lashing out on the internet.   I didn't say anything about anyone being stupid, I was curious what advantages budgets give you and why one would use them.  AJ and projekt helped me understand some more.   I hope things get better for you and you have a wonderful week.
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nktokyo

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 07:11:46 PM »
I don't budget... I think. I need to spend X each money on food, rent, bills and the rest goes into a bank account or gets invested. That always seemed simple enough to me not to need software to track.


N

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 11:03:26 PM »
I use YNAB, and it has helped me a TON.
this is becuase I am not a naturally frugal person, and have a long history of overspending.
I need to plan out what I can spend on certain areas. I also have debts to pay (medical and credit card) that I have to figure in.
I need to check in and see the categories all the time, to keep me on track.
I can plan purchases ahead of time, track categories, etc.

Maybe someday it will not be this way, but for now it is very helpful.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 10:58:02 AM »
As I mentioned earlier, I'm in the free-trial period of YNAB and loving it. This is after 15 years of not budgeting at all -- which I didn't feel was necessary because we saved X amount and whatever was left over was spent or rolled over until we did spend it. Since there was no way we wouldn't meet our savings goals and no way we wouldn't have money to buy what we needed/wanted, and no way we spend very frivolously, a budget didn't feel necessary. This seems similar to how arebelspy operates. (?)

I am liking the budget now for several reasons. A main one is that in five years, my kids will be in college. That will be our opportunity to make some major life changes if we want. For reasons of stability, we'll keep the house we're in until they're off to college. We may keep it beyond that - may keep it forever, in fact - but in five years, we could potentially sell it and move to a different city, or different part of the same city. We might sell or keep our rentals. My husband might change jobs, start a business, stop working, keep doing what he's doing. I want to have good information on how feasible each of the potential options might be. Costs and opportunity costs.

I don't really have a sense as to how much I spend on kid-related activities and expenses, so that's something I'd like to know, since that will be going away in five years (granted, there will be other expenses). I want to get a very firm handle on what it costs us to maintain this house. Etc. I also know I want to spend MORE on travel these next five years and potentially MORE on home improvements. It's far harder for me to spend money than to save it, so YNAB, which makes you assign a job for every dollar, is cool in this regard. I set aside XX dollars for updating the bathroom and for whatever reason, I then feel better about spending the actual money.

Additionally, I know for my husband to potentially feel comfortable giving up his job, or to sell our rentals, he would want hard numbers that prove we can afford it.

So I guess my point is I suspect tracking what we spend will be helpful as we make some big decisions and changes over the next 5-10 years. It's not "budgeting" so much as tracking our expenses that's useful.

aj_yooper

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 05:38:41 PM »
This disagreement comes from the two different philosophies of "budgeting" and "spending plans". IIRC, This difference is highlighted in YMOYL, but I don't remember exactly what was said. This is how I understand it: the budgeting philosophy says that you hit limits and you try not to exceed them or postpone spending until things fall back within budget. The spending plan philosophy says that you consider every instance of spending and stop and ask yourself if it is within your life plan, because every cent is a piece of your life force and you want to spend it appropriately. They are asymptotically equivalent but each philosophy works out better for different people.

We use both techniques in spending, but cash flow issues surface periodically, like property taxes or unforeseens, so that makes me want to do a formal monthly plan.  I have been using the simple budget template in Numbers and it did help on what if expenditures. 

I got a free trial for YNAB and it appears very good so far.  My wife and I like the look of the budget,accounts display, and reports.  I am working on getting the point of sale Iphone app going.  The YNAB concept implies that each month, you have a meeting of the minds to determine that month's spending and saving decisions so it is a dynamic document.  Thanks again for the suggestions and discussion.

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 06:32:37 PM »
I use a spreadsheet on Google Drive so I can update it from wherever I am.  Our budget isn't so much about planning how much to spend as it is knowing exactly how much we have available to spend on investments.  We put in our projected income and expenses based on prior years, and if our end of year balance is projected to be, say, 40,000 more than we begin with, we know we can safely max the Roths as well as pile up money in the taxable investment accounts and still know that we will have the money to pay the house insurance and property tax in December.  We simply keep track of every dollar of income and every dollar of expenses.

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2013, 08:35:49 AM »
I have used Money and Quicken software in the past, but am interested in opinions about YNAB and Mint.  Mint sounds very cool, but I am anxious about putting so much financial information with passwords out there.  YNAB seems more protected.  Are there more reasonable alternatives?

Good qualities of the budget software would be:

Confidential.
Dependable.
Free, if possible.
Ease of use.
Good tracking and display of expenses.
Integration with stash.

Thank you.

MS Money Plus Sunset Deluxe is free for downloading here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20738

I use this to track my budget. It's basically just a glorified check register, but I really like the budget features and the cash flow forecasts. It doesn't really do anything online anymore since MS no longer supports it.

Aside from this, I also use Mint to track all of my online accounts in one place. It's really handy for tracking your bank accounts and investment portfolio in one spot, but I find the budgeting to be a bit lacking.

Joel

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2013, 09:12:17 AM »
Highly recommend using YNAB.

That comes from someone who is naturaly frugal, and is not paying off debt. But using YNAB to save and plan for the future.

SMMcP

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2013, 10:21:35 AM »
I don't budget.

I use Mint to glance at my spending and track it, but if Mint didn't exist, I'd just use credit card and checking account statements.

I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

Areblespy, You may have received the response you did to this post because often when someone says "I don't understand the point" they are coming from a morally superior place.  Having gotten to know you a little from your other posts, I believe you truly wanted to understand someone else's perspective.

Bottom line, I use a budget because I think it helps me meet my savings goals.  I really like YNAB for this because of its flexibility.  The software helps you make a "spending plan" that can vary greatly from month to month and the only contraints on spending are the ones you decide to create.  The key thing for me is to give a little thought to those decisions in advance.  For instance, with the budget I can see at a glance that if I spend less on eating out early in the month I can spend more on that trip I'm taking at the end of the month and still meet my savings goal.  Besides, some of us just really like to quantify things. It's sort of fun in a way.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2013, 10:30:33 AM »
I just downloaded my free month's trial of YNAB and I can already tell that I'll be buying it.  Shut up and take my money!  I love Mint for the overall picture of net worth, but wow, YNAB is the one for being in the trenches. 

INTERRUPTION!  I must punch myself in the face right now because there is a portly grandma on an adult trike huffing up the big hill that I'm too much of a wuss to ride up.  I am watching her out the window.  Badass.  Punch self.

Okay, what I like already about YNAB is that each month can be it's own show with totally different numbers.  I get paid every other week and also get quarterly bonuses, which are a pain to account for in some programs that assume you are going to do the exact same thing every month.  Hooray!   

arebelspy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2013, 11:08:48 AM »
I don't budget.

I use Mint to glance at my spending and track it, but if Mint didn't exist, I'd just use credit card and checking account statements.

I don't understand the point of budgeting (my spending is never the same month to month, and I don't want to put artificial constraints on my spending), but to each his own.

Areblespy, You may have received the response you did to this post because often when someone says "I don't understand the point" they are coming from a morally superior place.  Having gotten to know you a little from your other posts, I believe you truly wanted to understand someone else's perspective.


I can see that, and I apologize if it came off that way.  I really did get some food for thought from the various helpful explanations above about how budgeting helps them (and how it's a different way of thinking from mine).
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teamzissou00

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2013, 02:53:23 PM »
YNAB looks very cool. 

Spending money for budgeting software - odd.  Why wouldn't I make my own budget on a spreadsheet and manually input?  I'm speaking for the group that would manually input into YNAB anyway.  Does it do something special?

1 time cost or yearly fee?

smalllife

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2013, 02:55:02 PM »
YNAB looks very cool. 

Spending money for budgeting software - odd.  Why wouldn't I make my own budget on a spreadsheet and manually input?  I'm speaking for the group that would manually input into YNAB anyway.  Does it do something special?

1 time cost or yearly fee?

One time cost. 

You can manually input things into Excel, but the reports and the smoothness of adjusting categories is hard to replicate. 

WD

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2013, 09:18:15 PM »
I have been using YNAB for a few months and I love it for the following reasons:

1. YNAB is more than a budgeting software... it's like a budgeting philosophy. They teach you about "credit card float" which is to say that most people who use credit cards are actually living off of next months income. Therefore you are always paying off the stuff spent from the month before. They encourage people to live off of last months income therefore you know exactly how much you have to spend/save next month.

2. It has a one time fee and they provide free upgrades for the version you are using and if they come up with a new version, they offer a discount to upgrade to the new version.

3. YNAB is actually about setting a budget vs. tracking spending. I find that most other software track your spending verses actually trying to set a budget.

4. They have cloud syncing which allows you to track your spending in real time. I no longer keep receipts to check for errors because I have entered the transaction while in line at Costco or filling up gasoline. I only keep receipts now if I foresee the need to exchange something.

5. They give you a free 34 day trial to see if you like it. I used the trial and I was hooked within a few days..

I have a referral link if you want a 10% discount on the software: http://ynab.refr.cc/4TH7HRG. For full disclosure, the referral link gives me a bonus for referring people though that is not why I recommend the program. I really do love the program and it has definitely allowed me to track and budget my spending in a very easy way. If you curious about other reviews of YNAB, check out the reviews on Amazon, there are people who love it and some people who don't. Once you check the reviews, don't buy it on amazon as they charge more for it than if you were to just go to YNAB's website...

GoStumpy

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2013, 07:33:22 AM »
Yeah, there's really no comparison between YNAB and Excel...

YNAB actually started as an Excel document, back in 2003ish.  Many years of selling that for ~$20 and they finally hired developers to make it a stand-alone program.

There is a 34 day free trial, download & try it, and promise you it is much more powerful than something you quickly draw up in Excel... Not to mention it uses cloudsync via dropbox, so I can work on the same budget from my PC, my Laptop, or my smartphone...  I don't know if you can easily input transactions at the point of sale with an Excel document ;)

kkbmustang

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Re: Budget Software
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2013, 07:50:16 AM »
We're in the free trial and it's working for us. I like that my husband and I can both access it from our smartphones and it syncs. That way we can tell what the other is doing spending wise, how it affects line items in the budget and there are no communication lapses.