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What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?

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I'm curious about others experiences with different Budgeting software. Did any other software change your life like YNAB did for me? When nYNAB came out and did you seek other options too?

Personally, YNAB is the only one I stuck with. I tried MS Money and Quicken but it didnít stick. I touched on Yodlee but it was that helped me see my spending and was the app I used the most; unfortunately their budgeting options lack the control I want and enjoy. I now use it to make sure I capture all my transactions. The misses loves that but I want her to get on board with Financier...

Personal Finance piqued my interest but didn't have everything I need. PocketSmith looks interesting but the price is far too high.

For a long time, I just had a spreadsheet. And it wasn't fancy. It was just more of a list for each paycheck that listed obligations and amounts. It wasn't zero based at all. I had about 5 savings accounts for some goals (new car, student loan payoff, IRA, Small Mortgage payoff (I had 2 mortgages on my condo), Dream Vacation). I got my first credit card in 1996. I didn't carry any credit card debt until 2007 (when I bought my condo). I would carry about $4000 in debt then get my tax refund and pay it all off and then it would slowly build up during the year until the next tax refund. Sure the smart thing would have been to adjust my tax withholdings to have more cash on hand, but I didn't think it through. I didn't track my credit card debt on my spreadsheet. I just listed the $800/mo I sent to the credit card company (my minimum payment was around $200). In 2012 I had a big job change and paid off the credit card debt by the middle of the year and haven't had any revolving debt since.

In 2012 or 2013 I gave Mint a try. I set up the various goals that linked to my various savings accounts. The first day I had it, I "set up a budget" insofar as I sort of set some limits on the various categories. But I never really ever looked at it after that because I still had my spreadsheet. Then I got paranoid about Mint having my passwords. Once I started YNAB 4 at the end of July 2014 I got rid of Mint and changed all my passwords.

Dave Ramsey first introduced me to the concept of zero budgeting... and it scared me.  I didn't want to be "that accountable".   

I stuck with the "Quickie budget" for a long time-- and it worked well enough as I would make it about the 20th of each month as the bills for the next month would come in and I would glance at the unexpected (insurance is due-- oh yeah).

I took the Financial Peace class a second time and that's when I was somewhat more determined to get the full benefit.  I wasn't dealing with debt problems but I knew that there was an expectation to get further along than the quickie budget.  And I knew paper method wasn't going to do it for me.  So I went searching.   I uncovered Mint in my discovery process and found it really didn't do squat for budgeting and many many of the items were not accurate upon import and it would take a lot of work to get it useful.

This is why I'm still not overly worried about auto import--- my first experience was that it won't know as accurately as me being more diligent in making entries as they happen and a phone app for that is brilliant.

So, I did fall in love with the YNAB process even as I fought with the budget a few times as I realized that I mentally double counted on job assignments for dollars sometimes and a zero sum budget really identifies when that happens.

Being able to buffer and budget for next month is a keen and helpful method and I wouldn't go about it any other way.   And when I know I'm budgeted and spending for this month and I'm budgeted and filled for the next month then my vision goes forward with the walled month views to project further out (conservatively).  And that helps me see and project with what is anticipated for needs and changes.   

I suppose the goals feature on different categories can help with the project concept (nYNAB reference) but walled months help my vision in a different way.  I was ecstatic with the speed and the months views of   

I used Quicken for about 10 years going back about 5 years ago. I don't know that I would consider it budgeting software as much as register software, but it obviously has a budgeting component. It was great for what it was and for when it was in its hay day, but it wasn't/isn't a very flexible budgeting tool at all.

I also tried Mint. Again not really a budgeting tool IMO.

YNAB came along and made everything click for me.

What YNAB4 (and probably prior versions although I wasn't around then) is to me is a budgeting philosophy supported by flexible and supporting budgeting software. I don't like the nYNAB philosophy. Thankfully Financier has come along with software that allows me to apply previously learned and preferred philosophy.

My initial attempt at budgeting came during the summer of 2007 right after I graduated high school. I had to borrow 3k from my parents to buy a car to get to my new job with the forest service as a wildland firefighter. The station was ~35 miles away from where I lived so I bought a cheap 14yo honda civic. During that summer, I made about 10k in 10 weeks, which for an 18yo kid was fantastic. I also worked A LOT and was gone those entire 10 weeks. Since the paychecks had a 2-week delay from when it was earned, I needed to last 4 weeks before I had any income coming in. As a result, I started using a credit card for all my purchases (mostly food, gas, and work supplies). I kept track of my credit card balance and my expected paycheck amounts and dates. I used an excel spreadsheet to make sure I would have enough money available to pay my statement balance in full by it's due date (based on when I expected to receive my income). Basically, I was spending money 4 weeks before I had it and living on the edge and I was using an excel spreadsheet that I called my "budget" to help guide me in that process.

During that summer, I put my first 2k away to start a Roth IRA, and then began chipping away at the debt to my parents while "managing" my credit card balance. I had scholarships that covered my first year of college, and I found a minimum wage job that I could work 32 hours per week. This was enough that I felt like I could pay for college and manage my life. In October 2007, I found what was then YNAB Pro. I decided to give it a shot as it seemed like it would be easier than updating my excel spreadsheet every month. It was around a one-time $40 fee at that time. YNAB Pro did not have a mobile app or different account registers. It even had an issue such that when you did not budget to $0, money would be created or disappear from your budget. The confusion it caused was absurd. There was also no real way to manage credit card debt either. However, it was better than my excel spreadsheet, but I still wasn't sure about the whole concept of a buffer. Instead I was recording my expense when they happen, and I had my expected paychecks already entered into the register on the dates I expected to receive them. I also got my parents setup on YNAB very early on as well as they were going through some tough times and my dad needed a way to manage their 30k+ of credit card debt.

I continued operating this way until the next summer's fire season. Luckily, I had no emergencies during that first school year and never ended up paying any credit card interest, but that budgeting method was a recipe for disaster. During my next fire season, we were busy yet again (2008 in Northern California!). I was able to pay off the debt to my parents, set aside money to pay for my next year's college tuition and $2k for my Roth IRA. I was also able to start marking income for next month (back then I believe it was called "primary income" when it was Rule 1 of YNAB Pro). Once I made that transition, I realized how little I had to worry about timing of paychecks and bills. It was fantastic and I would never consider doing it differently ever again.

Along the way, my career progression resulted in a significant increase in income and a "normal" 8-5 type office job as a CPA. I also met my now wife back in 2011. At the point in our relationship where we started discussing the possibility of marriage. I told her that she needed to start using YNAB in order for us to be on the same page with our finances, as I would never stop using the software and methodology (live on last month's income and having cash on hand for credit card purchases). She used the software for about 2 years before we got engaged, and shortly after getting engaged we combined our budget. She was never as on top of her budget as I was. I quickly found she did not always enter her transactions timely, so I started using Pocket Sense to download transactions into our budget and catch what was not manually entered.

During that time, I updated immediately to YNAB 3 and then YNAB 4. In fact, I actually played a key role in the alpha/best-testing of both dealing with all the bugs that happen in that stage. Even the alpha versions of those software that I tested had less bugs than the official release of nYNAB. Once rumors of nYNAB surfaced, I was excited to see what YNAB would be doing and remembered stating I would pay whatever price they wanted for the software as I knew it would be worth it.

And then nYNAB came out. I was deeply disappointed with the software and realized it was not ready for me to use. I posted my assessment of the new software including a list of seven major dealbreakers:
1. Conversion of YNAB 4 data (which was released in June 2016)
2. Bring back Income for next month
3. Walled months
4. Ability to enter future-dated transactions in the register and budget
5. Export of data (added early 2016)
6. Payee settings
7. Offline access via desktop app

Support and Jesse quickly responded and told me income for next month, walled months, and future-dated transactions would NEVER be coming back. As soon as I was told that, I realized that I'm going to be stuck with YNAB4 until the wheels fall off. I began experimenting with how I could build an excel spreadsheet that would meet my needs, but with 10+ accounts and needing mobile access and importing capabilities, I realized excel was probably not going to cut it. At that point, I decided when the mobile app for YNAB4 breaks, I could just train the wife to save her receipts, and we could continue using YNAB4 as long as needed, albeit less efficiently.

There were at least 2 groups of forum members that reached out to me regarding helping develop a new replacement software. Without any computer programming skills, I had no way to contribute but encouraged their progress. One of them emerged with some potential, DeguelloTex (a retired programmer), had built a very rough software that appeared like it was headed in the right direction. Of course, he took a break in March from development, and has completely disappeared since. So at that point, I just began hoping YNAB would change their ways with nYNAB or decide to keep YNAB4 alive for awhile longer (even if I had to pay money for them to keep it on life support). I was also starting to keep an eye out for alternatives. I played around with a few different software models, but nothing did what YNAB4 did for me.

And then FINANCIER emerged! Alex was doing everything I wanted to do but didn't have the capabilities to do. I'm still using my YNAB4 budget file until a mobile app, import capabilities, and scheduled transactions are released. However, I know that the switch from YNAB4 to Financier is inevitable and I'm very happy to be headed that way.
Long post. In short - Alex is great and Jesse now sucks.  parrot parrot parrot


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