Author Topic: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?  (Read 518 times)

FLBiker

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Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« on: March 15, 2021, 07:04:11 AM »
I've read through some past threads, but I'm curious to know what folks are using now.

The particulars:
I'm looking for software that I can use to track spending.  Tracking income and net worth is also fine but not the priority.  Similarly, I'm not really concerned with setting a budget.  We're very closer to our FIRE number, but we recently moved from the US to Canada so I want to get an accurate picture of what our actual expenses are.  Historically, I have never been a budgeter -- I've always viewed one of the perks of living well within our means as not having to budget. :)  As FIRE approaches and we're in a new living situation, I realize that I need to bite the bullet and really track things.

Because of the aforementioned move, I need something that handles multiple currencies.  I'd like something I can import to, and I'd prefer something that isn't cloud-based (although that isn't a dealbreaker) and isn't subscription-based (I want to pay a one-time fee, if anything).

I downloaded and started to use homebank (http://homebank.free.fr/en/) and I like it pretty well.  I feel like it's reporting is kind of limited, but I may just export to Excel.

I'm going to look at GnuCash.  And I might try trial versions of Quicken or YNAB, but I don't like the subscription model, and it seems like historical spending isn't YNAB's strong suit.  I use personal capital for net worth (combine with Excel, now that we have multiple currencies) and I've used Mint but it doesn't seem to handle two currencies well.  I'm very comfortable with databases, and I don't really care if it's pretty, and I'd rather do monthly (or so) imports than track things with a mobile app.

Thanks for your help, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. 


the_gastropod

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 07:10:46 AM »
Sounds like Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app/) might be a good fit for you. Itís mostly focused on tracking your spending and it supports multi-currencies.

FLBiker

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 07:20:56 AM »
Sounds like Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app/) might be a good fit for you. Itís mostly focused on tracking your spending and it supports multi-currencies.
Excellent, thanks!  I'll definitely check that out.

--

Edit: a quick look, and it seems really promising.  The only thing I'm balking at is the subscription model.  Looks like $72 CAD per year, which isn't crazy, I just hate subscriptions.  I'll definitely do the trial version, though.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 07:22:56 AM by FLBiker »

FLBiker

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2021, 05:14:04 AM »
Just to update -- I think I'm going to go with gnucash.  I'd really like to avoid something cloud-based and subscription based, and (so far) I like the way gnucash learns how to allocate my imports.  Homebank was good as well, but I feel like gnucash is more powerful and more likely to be supported in an ongoing manner.  Plus, as an untrained business analyst, I feel like learning the basics of accounting is a good skill for me to pick up.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2021, 06:10:30 AM »
I've always used an Excel spreadsheet. I use Personal Capital to link all my accounts and see the transactions in one place. However, I might spend $100 at Walmart and one week it's all groceries, the next week it's $30 of groceries and $70 on kids clothes. So any system that tries to automatically categorize it will still need my input and looking back at a receipt to break things up.

It's a weekly routine for my wife and I to go through our spending for the last week and update the spreadsheet. It's usually only 5-10 transactions so it doesn't take too long. Some things are pretty much fixed prices every month so I can pre-fill them in. Here's how we categorize our spending - note that there's a summary line for utilities and another one for insurance. Loans used to be a summary line but those are all paid off now, so I just keep that category for historic tracking. 

Category
Rent
  Water/Sewer/Trash
  Electricity
  Natural Gas
  Internet
  Phone
Utilities
  Health/Dental
  Life
  Property
Insurance
Loans
Groceries
Gasoline
Auto
Medical
Education & Activities
Clothing & Shoes
Church/Charity
Entertainment
Household
Gifts
Restaurants
Beer & Wine
Miscellaneous

FLBiker

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2021, 05:27:33 AM »
Thanks Michael!  I may end up going the spreadsheet route.

The more I've used gnucash, the less I like the way it handles multiple currencies.  I feel like, if I do end up using it, I'm going to convert everything into the currency that most of our expenses are in (CAD).  Fundamentally, I only really care about expenses, so (at least initially) I'm not going to track income and investments.  I have a separate spreadsheet that I've been using for investments for years.

And I think I'd rather have the ease of auto-assignments than the accuracy of splitting every expense.  I realize that there will definitely be some blur between "Groceries" and "Household", for example, but I can live with that.

reeshau

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2021, 06:34:16 AM »
I know you said you don't like subscription models, but I have been a long-time Quicken user, and have had split USD and EUR for 3 years now.  Multiple currencies are a snap for putting transactions in the register.  Sometimes I am caught off guard when transactions from mixed currencies are reported.  (They get converted to the primary currency, although that may be configurable)

You may be able to find a copy of Quicken 2017, which was the last version before the subscription model.  But that version is technically out of support, and transaction downloads have been disabled.  (Though, you might still be able to manually import; I did not try)

FLBiker

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Re: Spending Tracking Recommendations Software in 2021?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2021, 07:38:44 AM »
I know you said you don't like subscription models, but I have been a long-time Quicken user, and have had split USD and EUR for 3 years now.  Multiple currencies are a snap for putting transactions in the register.  Sometimes I am caught off guard when transactions from mixed currencies are reported.  (They get converted to the primary currency, although that may be configurable)

Interesting, thanks!  What I'm hoping to be able to do is have something that would aggregate expenses from different currencies.  For example, I pay for my cellphone in USD, from a US acccount, and my wife's cellphone in CAD from a CA account.  In my dreams, I'd like for something to combine these when I look at my monthly spending report (perhaps my monthly average exchange rate, if not daily).  Homebank kind of does that, but it only allows one global exchange rate (which may be my best option).  With gnucash, it's easy to record the multiple currency accounts, but I can't combine the expenses, so I end up with a USD phone and a CAD phone, and there's no exchange rate applied.

I realize, though, that my situation is particularly weird -- I'm paid in USD, but I live in CAD, mostly.  I'll look at Quicken though.  Thanks!