Author Topic: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?  (Read 1780 times)

lexde

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2792
  • Age: 34
Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« on: September 25, 2023, 08:50:42 AM »
Hello fellow mustachians!

I am trying to look for an alternative to the current finance/net worth tracker(s) I am currently using. From 2016 until 2021 or so I was religiously tracking every penny in and out via YNAB. I still have my account, but have found that - for better or worse - I have not had to track as carefully now that my habits are fairly well established, so I am looking more for a passive net worth tracker.

I really liked Personal Capital (which is what I use in conjunction with YNAB) until it was bought out by Empower. Now, it seems as though there are always sync issues and/or compatibility issues with one institution or another.

I'd like something a bit more passive, that I can link my accounts to and check in on periodically. I know Excel is likely objectively the best tracker, but it is completely manual. I would like to be able to just take a look at my balances periodically and track net worth rather than meticulously tracking as I have done in the past.

Does anyone have alternatives to YNAB/Empower that they like? What do you use?

lhamo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3127
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2023, 09:04:51 AM »
I wouldn't say I like it -- it has far too many quirks and glitches -- but I have been using Mint for years now and it is adequate for basic net worth and expense tracking for the most part.

I still haven't sprung for a subscription, but I met one of the founders of Tiller at Camp Mustache a few years ago and their product is very geared toward FIRE oriented folk -- they also have a guide to google-based spreadsheets on their blog:

https://www.tillerhq.com/free-google-sheets-budget-templates/

What I PROBABLY will do in the next few weeks is spring for Planvision's services.  Their fee includes access to proper financial planning software.  I'm at the point where I could use a second pair of objective eyes looking at my plans for the next few years, so worth it to me:

https://planvisionmn.com/get-started/

Recent updates to an old thread about this latter option here:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/using-planvision-$189-per-year-for-financial-advising/msg3171656/?topicseen#new

Sandi_k

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1595
  • Location: California
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2023, 10:17:04 AM »
I wouldn't say I like it -- it has far too many quirks and glitches -- but I have been using Mint for years now and it is adequate for basic net worth and expense tracking for the most part.

I still haven't sprung for a subscription, but I met one of the founders of Tiller at Camp Mustache a few years ago and their product is very geared toward FIRE oriented folk -- they also have a guide to google-based spreadsheets on their blog:

https://www.tillerhq.com/free-google-sheets-budget-templates/

What I PROBABLY will do in the next few weeks is spring for Planvision's services.  Their fee includes access to proper financial planning software.  I'm at the point where I could use a second pair of objective eyes looking at my plans for the next few years, so worth it to me:

https://planvisionmn.com/get-started/

Recent updates to an old thread about this latter option here:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/using-planvision-$189-per-year-for-financial-advising/msg3171656/?topicseen#new

@lhamo - if you do sign up with Tiller, please post up. I've had a tab to their site open in my browser for months, and I still haven't pulled the trigger; I hate a subscription model SO MUCH.

That said, we did sign up with PlanVision a couple of years ago. You have to do all of the data entry yourself, but it is very reassuring. One small correction; the first year is now $239, but subsequent years hold at $8/month, $96/year. We really found it to be a valuable set of second eyes. Also - Mark preferred to meet with us both, so it wasn't just me in the meeting.

I have continued to update the investments in their tool, and it's been a nice aggregator. I have not linked our accounts, but I manually update the number of shares in each account's holdings on a monthly basis.

Tass

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3232
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Crossing some mountains
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2023, 04:13:41 PM »
Most of our investments are through Fidelity, so we started using Fidelity's "Full View." You can link non-Fidelity accounts or Fidelity accounts under another login, so for example I can see my husband's balances right alongside my own. For Fidelity accounts it will import all details like holdings to calculate asset allocation, whereas other accounts it appears to be balance only, but it is completely passive.

May not be worth it if you don't already have some kind of Fidelity account, and the planning function kind of sucks, but for balance tracking I think it's perfect.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2023, 04:15:25 PM by Tass »

MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11490
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2023, 04:56:57 PM »
Quicken.

solon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2363
  • Age: 1823
  • Location: OH
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2023, 05:42:58 PM »
Quicken.

+1 for Quicken. Yes it's old, but it does the job well.

jnw

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2020
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2023, 08:30:06 PM »
All the online tools I've seen are junk compared to the free Gnucash for tracking personal finances -- I have my own custom account trees, can generate some really nice reports, and track everything to the penny including all cash transactions.

Along with Gnucash, I also use a single page spreadsheet for cash flow / bill payment checklist for the checking accounts.

Once per month, in Gnucash, I adjust the unrealized capital gains/losses for my investment accounts.  So no need for personal capital.

No bugs ever, it always works and I reconcile with bank accounts (and spreadsheet) manually on regular basis.

(I used to use Quicken years ago and it was good. Are they online only now?  Anyways, I prefer Gnucash anyways since it's double entry bookkeeping.. kind of got used to that accounting method after doing my own little personal business.)


EDIT: Just create a thread to a link to my cash flow / bill payment checklist spreadsheet, if interested.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/here's-my-monthly-cash-flow-bill-payment-checklist/
« Last Edit: September 29, 2023, 10:23:22 PM by jnw »

lexde

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2792
  • Age: 34
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2023, 04:35:07 PM »
Thanks all! Iím checking these out this week.

MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11490
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2023, 06:07:54 PM »
(I used to use Quicken years ago and it was good. Are they online only now?
No, we continue to use a desktop version .

elysianfields

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Location: Asia
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2023, 10:05:15 AM »
All the online tools I've seen are junk compared to the free Gnucash for tracking personal finances -- I have my own custom account trees, can generate some really nice reports, and track everything to the penny including all cash transactions.

Along with Gnucash, I also use a single page spreadsheet for cash flow / bill payment checklist for the checking accounts.

Once per month, in Gnucash, I adjust the unrealized capital gains/losses for my investment accounts.  So no need for personal capital.

No bugs ever, it always works and I reconcile with bank accounts (and spreadsheet) manually on regular basis.

(I used to use Quicken years ago and it was good. Are they online only now?  Anyways, I prefer Gnucash anyways since it's double entry bookkeeping.. kind of got used to that accounting method after doing my own little personal business.)


EDIT: Just create a thread to a link to my cash flow / bill payment checklist spreadsheet, if interested.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/here's-my-monthly-cash-flow-bill-payment-checklist/

@jnw  I'm a long-time desktop Quicken user and its ability to download transactions from all my accounts saves me an enormous amount of time.  When I last looked at GnuCash, it seemed much more difficult to set up automagic transaction download.  Can you offer any insights?

jnw

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2020
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2023, 10:11:50 AM »
@jnw  I'm a long-time desktop Quicken user and its ability to download transactions from all my accounts saves me an enormous amount of time.  When I last looked at GnuCash, it seemed much more difficult to set up automagic transaction download.  Can you offer any insights?

As far as I know it's all manual.  I keep it up every day, any time I do a transaction. But I try and not spend that much b/c I am supposed to be frugal, so it's not an overwhelming amount of work for me.   I do reconcile with the bank as well every so often, by checking off the transactions in Gnucash once they've cleared. I make sure the online balances jive with the gnucash balances.   Quicken is a great program, I didn't realize they still offer it for desktop, which is nice.

EDIT: I think I prefer manually putting the entries in myself. I do a lot of split transactions and make sure everything gets put in the right categories/accounts.  If I just relied on downloading transactions every so often, I might forget what I bought or how it was spit up.  Also when I buy certain things I depreciate only a portion of it as an expense and put the remainder in a discretionary assets account.   I rather reconcile the bank with my own record versus the other way around; that way I can perhaps more easily catch any bank errors, etc..  I guess I just like the control and accuracy of manually entering in transaction the day they occur.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2023, 10:21:29 AM by jnw »

dandarc

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5482
  • Age: 41
  • Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2023, 10:28:55 AM »
I personally use Wave accounting - free and I like the interface, I have a business and it is handy to have both Business and Personal on the same platform. For personal, you could use their full-blown business setup or the default Personal that sets up automatically and is a subset of the functionality for businesses.

Oddly enough the only negative experience I've had is with a paid service there (irrelevant to the task asked about, but their payroll just couldn't get my W2 right - 2 years in a row with that BS and switched to a local company that is about 80% cheaper for my 1-person shop) - never had a problem with the free accounting software.

Wave is not very strong on reporting - I wish they had the graphs and charts on the dashboard set up in such a way as to give inputs and get those charts for exactly what I'm looking for. I mean, you can do that on all the reports, export to CSV, then make a chart in Excel. But I'd really like that expense-breakdown pie chart on the dashboard to just let me put in arbitrary dates. So if great reporting is a priority, might look elsewhere.

RWD

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6597
  • Location: Arizona
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2023, 10:54:23 AM »
@jnw  I'm a long-time desktop Quicken user and its ability to download transactions from all my accounts saves me an enormous amount of time.  When I last looked at GnuCash, it seemed much more difficult to set up automagic transaction download.  Can you offer any insights?

As far as I know it's all manual.

It is possible but looks like kind of a pain.
https://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Setting_up_OFXDirectConnect

jnw

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2020
Re: Finance Tracking - YNAB Alternative?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2023, 07:09:25 AM »
I just made this post about some Gnucash settings I use to make it behave properly for double entry bookkeeping:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/my-gnucash-preferences-settings/