Author Topic: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds  (Read 2045 times)

senorpanqueque

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We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« on: June 26, 2016, 09:22:18 PM »
My wife and I are both pretty involved in our finances. I love numbers, and anything to do with money, and she enjoys knowing what is going on.

For the past few years (since we got married), we have been working on getting things set up so we can see where our money is spent, properly allocate our incoming funds to various categories, and set up budgets to try to follow.

At this point, we do some sort of mix of the following:

1) Mint - tracks all of our purchases
2) Excel spreadsheet - I pull numbers from mint so I can manipulate it a little better
3) Asset allocation - we have a "formula" that the SO uses to divvy up paycheques into separate accounts (down payment, home, travel, etc.)

It's gotten to the point where it is frustrating and difficult to keep up with everything, and keep the information the same from place to place.

A few more things about our set up:

1) Our accounts (wherever possible) are joint.
2) We like to have separate accounts for a few different things as keeping the money in our main chequing account wouldn't work, and it is annoying to figure out how much we have saved for particular things if it is all lumped together in one savings account. Examples of accounts we have are:
  • down payment
  • new car
  • travel
  • tangerine funds for retirement (his and her)
  • retirement fund through my work
  • pension through hers
3) My income is constant, hers is not. She is currently paid over 10 months, and we don't know whether she will get full-time, full-year work until right before the school year starts.
4) We started this year having "fun money" for each of us, but I find this hard to track, because I still want to know where the money is spent.. so it's hard not to have it show up twice in places
5) We try to also allocate funds for irregular purchases for things such as gifts, car maintenance, etc.

Sorry for the long-winded post. If I were to pair it down to a few questions, they would be:

1) Given our situation, does anyone have a similar setup that you think might work for us?
2) I'm sure we are making things way too complicated on ourselves. How can we simplify while having lots of information at our fingertips?
3) How do you folks set aside money for a) big future purchases and b) irregular purchases?

Thanks in advance!

cakie

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2016, 10:14:14 PM »
When we first joined our accounts, we tried paying ourselves first, ie auto directing paycheck straight to savings, but we found it stressful. We have $1k buffer now and no automation, we find it simpler. Play money - i got confused with how to include it too, now i have it as a single expense line. I like to think of it as money already spent as soon as it is transferred. It helps that we each have an old cheque account with a different bank. We don't track what it is spent on once it leaves the joint account :)

lhamo

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2016, 10:38:18 PM »
For your different "sinking funds" for down payment, car purchase, etc., Capital One 360 has the ability to set up separate sub accounts within your savings account.  I use this to keep track of how much I have saved using coupons, rebates, cash back offers, etc.  -- keep track of the running amounts from my monthly spending tracking, and then transfer to that sub account at the end of the month.  I don't use Mint but in Yodlee MOneycenter which is similar it shows up as a separate account, anyway.

 

sparkytheop

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 10:56:27 PM »
I use YNAB (You Need a Budget) and I've found how to manipulate it to my liking.  I have non-budget accounts, credit card accounts (paid off every month, so I do that as a transfer from the checking account when I pay the bills), I have a line item for all my bills, my savings goals (eventual newer car,  kid's college, building a house, etc), I also have all my odd bills (non-monthly, like car insurance, life insurance), "slush funds" (car repair/maintenance, home maintenance, clothing, etc), and my hobbies (quilting, photography club). 

I have one line called "fun money" and I put all the stuff I buy "just because" in that section.  If I buy some household goods and a fun money item in one transaction, it's easy to split the transactions between the two line items.

I bought YNAB on sale last year, and, unfortunately, they have now gone to a subscription based software ($15/year?  Still, I hate subscription based software, I like one-and-done purchasing).

I think they allow free trials if you want to try it out.  It took me a little while to get it figured out, and I still tweak it, but I like it.

senorpanqueque

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2016, 02:21:40 PM »
For your different "sinking funds" for down payment, car purchase, etc., Capital One 360 has the ability to set up separate sub accounts within your savings account.  I use this to keep track of how much I have saved using coupons, rebates, cash back offers, etc.  -- keep track of the running amounts from my monthly spending tracking, and then transfer to that sub account at the end of the month.  I don't use Mint but in Yodlee MOneycenter which is similar it shows up as a separate account, anyway.

 

Ah, neat idea.. unfortunately we are Canadian.. probably should have mentioned that. Capital One is American only correct?

senorpanqueque

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2016, 02:24:01 PM »
I use YNAB (You Need a Budget) and I've found how to manipulate it to my liking.  I have non-budget accounts, credit card accounts (paid off every month, so I do that as a transfer from the checking account when I pay the bills), I have a line item for all my bills, my savings goals (eventual newer car,  kid's college, building a house, etc), I also have all my odd bills (non-monthly, like car insurance, life insurance), "slush funds" (car repair/maintenance, home maintenance, clothing, etc), and my hobbies (quilting, photography club). 

I have one line called "fun money" and I put all the stuff I buy "just because" in that section.  If I buy some household goods and a fun money item in one transaction, it's easy to split the transactions between the two line items.

I bought YNAB on sale last year, and, unfortunately, they have now gone to a subscription based software ($15/year?  Still, I hate subscription based software, I like one-and-done purchasing).

I think they allow free trials if you want to try it out.  It took me a little while to get it figured out, and I still tweak it, but I like it.

I've heard lots of great things about YNAB. Just can't bring myself to pay money for that sort of thing (even though it could probably lead to savings elsewhere..). Glad to know I'm not the only one with all of these accounts. Do you have any advice with how you could up with day-to-day purchases without it becoming tedious?

catccc

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2016, 02:49:10 PM »
Another fan of YNAB, although I am so bummed they moved to a subscription model.  But to be fair, my actual cash outlay for the software was only $24, and it's been a great value to me for 2.5 years.  I hesitate to move to the new version, because the old is so trusted and beloved.  I'll surely wait until the last possible moment...

I have a single savings account outside of YNAB, but in the software it is divvied up into smaller categories - annual savings, vacation savings, sinking fund for car insurance, sinking fund for quarterly utilities, etc.

I think you would both love YNAB, though.  If you both like to keep tabs on things, it's really great with the mobile access and syncing.

sparkytheop

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2016, 03:22:20 PM »
I just found out you can still purchase YNAB4 (the last, non-subscription version).

https://purchase.youneedabudget.com/

It's $60 (used to be able to find sales, I think I bought it for $20, but it would still be worth it because you can use it for years).

The subscription version is around $55/year.

Finally... for anyone in college, they can get YNAB4 free as long as they are in school.

You get a free 34 day trial no matter which route you go, so you can test it and see if it works for your purposes.

lhamo

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Re: We need help organizing out budget/allocation of funds
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2016, 04:02:07 PM »
For your different "sinking funds" for down payment, car purchase, etc., Capital One 360 has the ability to set up separate sub accounts within your savings account.  I use this to keep track of how much I have saved using coupons, rebates, cash back offers, etc.  -- keep track of the running amounts from my monthly spending tracking, and then transfer to that sub account at the end of the month.  I don't use Mint but in Yodlee MOneycenter which is similar it shows up as a separate account, anyway.

 

No, they seem to have a site for online banking in Canada as well:

http://www.capitalone.ca/online-banking/



Ah, neat idea.. unfortunately we are Canadian.. probably should have mentioned that. Capital One is American only correct?