Author Topic: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?  (Read 2294 times)

Offline Billy_McSkintos

What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:15:23 PM »
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 Mint.com 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.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2016, 01:02:45 PM by Billy_McSkintos »
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Offline jenmas

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 06:55:21 AM »
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.

Offline RPNnerd

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 09:55:43 AM »
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 financier.io.   


Offline Bruce

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2016, 09:59:15 AM »
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.


Offline Joel

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 12:19:04 PM »
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
Biking and budgeting my way to early retirement!

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Offline Bruce

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 12:40:39 PM »
Long post. In short - Alex is great and Jesse now sucks.  parrot parrot parrot

Now that's funny

Offline Alex

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2016, 12:45:26 PM »
Wow, awesome story. :) Thanks for posting it.

Has anyone tried https://www.everypocket.com/?
I am the Financier owner/admin/coder dude.

Offline jeremiahsvow

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2016, 01:06:08 PM »
Long post. In short - Alex is great and Jesse now sucks.  parrot parrot parrot

LOL!

PS: Great story.

Offline Joel

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2016, 01:14:22 PM »
Wow, awesome story. :) Thanks for posting it.

Has anyone tried https://www.everypocket.com/?

I had not. however, I just looked briefly and there are a few issues:
1. No account registers (just one massive account)
2. No Income for next month (see my post above)
3. No scheduled transactions
4. No import capabilities
5. No export capabilities
6. No iPhone app

It appears to be another spin-off that hopes to do what YNAB4 used to do and nYNAB does not do. It has walled months, the ability to enter future-dated transactions, and the red arrow. It seems like they deliberately did not create account registers. I don't know how I would possible reconcile my 10+ accounts as a result. There appears to be an android app but not an iPhone app.

I'm glad to see several solutions emerge to compete with YNAB. I would love to see YNAB the company go completely under as a result of them selling out.
Biking and budgeting my way to early retirement!

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Offline asromzek

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2016, 01:21:32 PM »

Joel has inspired me to tell my life story as well...

I attended college from 2000 to 2005. During that time I can't say I knew what I was doing with money. All of my tuition and a large chunk of my living expenses were covered with student loans. I worked a few part time jobs all the way through college, and almost everything I earned was spent on food, beverages, and entertainment. Anything I earned during the summers was spent on books. It was simple and easy, until I graduated...

I was lucky to have a good job right away, but I walked out of college with roughly $15 to my name. The only option I saw to get started was to apply for a credit card and cash advance my way to the deposit on my apartment, the processing fees on leasing a small truck, and some supplies & food until my first paycheck arrived two weeks later. I was making enough money right away to pay off that card, but I let ride for a year because I was now rich and could afford it!

Mistake #1 happened almost immediately. One of the perks for consolidating my student loans was a lowered interest rate (I think 0.50% less) if 100% of the payments were made on time. I was late on my first payment. Smart. At that time I was writing and mailing checks for almost all of my bills, and I had no system for managing them. A bill would come in, get put on a stack (somewhere in the apartment), and I paid it as soon as it surfaced again. I tried to keep a mental note of where I was at, and only had my checking balance to guide me. It was ugly.

After getting surprised by a few bills and smacked with some late fees and overdraft charges over the next 6 months, I decided that I needed a system. I got Excel out and started building a bill tracker. It started out as a simple list of bills with their dates & amounts. I would manually sort the list by date and did the math manually on how much money I would need. I got paid biweekly, so some months were a piece of cake with 3 paychecks, and other months were tight. It was better than nothing, and my late bills started to subside. I also started to move away from checks in favor of paying things online.

Being the programmer that I am, I started to enhance my document. I added tracking for more than bills like food, fuel, entertainment, etc. The bills section auto sorted by date with some macro magic, and the whole thing started to look like the budget and category list in YNAB/Financier. I added a transaction entry area, and started logging every thing coming and going, which was then tied to the category values automatically. Every time a change was made the main budget macro would fire and update the category balances and sort stuff out. It took a full year of programming and enhancing until I had a system that was working really smoothly. This was right around the time the YNAB spreadsheet was taking off, and I wonder how similar it was to mine.

A year after graduating from college I moved into an apartment with my sister and suddenly my finances got more complicated with a roommate. She was fresh out of cosmetology school and was starting out in about the same position I was a year earlier. I had this wonderful budget Excel document and I thought it would be a piece of cake to get her set up, too! Wrong. She was starting out in worse shape than I was, and she was easily frustrated when confronting reality. It took several months before she started making enough money to pay her fair share, and at least a year before she was able to save any money. Eventually, she learned to love the Excel document, and used it for several years after. That was a good learning experience for both of us, and really solidified the need to stay on top of my finances.

The Excel document got better and better, and I was really happy until I stumbled on YNAB3. I looked it over, and it seemed to do everything my document did without a single Excel macro. I played with the trial and was sold immediately. I ended up buying a license before the trial was up and sadly retired my long running Excel document. Not long after that, YNAB4 was released and I was thrilled with the possibility of syncing transactions with my phone through dropbox. The software was good, the rules were straightforward, and the company communicated with their users. It was refreshing to do business with a company like that, and their product was light years beyond what I could have programmed myself. All was right with the world.

Over the next couple of years I got engaged, married, and combined finances with my wife. I'm going to echo Joel when I say that I was excited with nYNAB was announced and significantly disappointed with the changes in philosophy and functionality. The attitude of the company also became much more disconnected and they're just not who they were during the YNAB3 & YNAB4 days. I had my suspicions that they lost some talent, which is the real reason their reputation has fallen off...

Unfortunately, and regrettably, I jumped on board with nYNAB hoping for the best over the last year. Most of the things I was hoping to see are either not returning or have been solidly disappointing (AoM??? No Income for next month??? Life Saverô themed reports???). If they had simply recreated their fantastic desktop software on the web, and then expanded on that, it would have been a home run. Instead, I started looking for alternatives, and here we are.

My nYNAB subscription ends on January 4th, 2017. I will not be renewing and do not want to revert to YNAB4, so Financier it is. The two things that will break me away from YNAB completely are the ability to import my transaction history going back to 2011, mobile budgeting/transaction entry, and yellow flags. I'm finally excited about my budgeting software again, excited as I was when I first discovered YNAB4. My advice to @Alex is this: focus on making good software, listen to your customers, and keep it simple. Do that, and you'll have support coming out of your ears.
/s implied, unless stated otherwise.

Offline Joel

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2016, 01:37:28 PM »
My advice to @Alex is this: focus on making good software, listen to your customers, and keep it simple. Do that, and you'll have support coming out of your ears.

Yup. Financier will market itself!
Biking and budgeting my way to early retirement!

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Offline Joel

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 11:17:08 AM »
Wow, awesome story. :) Thanks for posting it.

Has anyone tried https://www.everypocket.com/?

I had not. however, I just looked briefly and there are a few issues:
1. No account registers (just one massive account)
2. No Income for next month (see my post above)
3. No scheduled transactions
4. No import capabilities
5. No export capabilities
6. No iPhone app

It appears to be another spin-off that hopes to do what YNAB4 used to do and nYNAB does not do. It has walled months, the ability to enter future-dated transactions, and the red arrow. It seems like they deliberately did not create account registers. I don't know how I would possible reconcile my 10+ accounts as a result. There appears to be an android app but not an iPhone app.

I'm glad to see several solutions emerge to compete with YNAB. I would love to see YNAB the company go completely under as a result of them selling out.

I reached out to their support regarding this situation. It sounds like they are redesigning the way accounts work and they will have account registers at some point in the future. They also plan to add import and export capabilities, as well as an iPhone app after the Android app is polished. He mentioned they already have scheduled transactions and directed me how to use them.


When I asked about Income for next month, he didn't understand/know what I was talking about. So with that said, I have a feeling he was not a disgruntled YNAB4 user.
Biking and budgeting my way to early retirement!

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Offline Doomspark

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2016, 08:20:45 AM »
Ace Money - This was far and away my favorite for a long time. If it were still being actively developed, I'd still be using it.  It truly was an awesome program.

Microsoft Money -  I had the pay-for version for several years and I still have the free version installed.  It's fatal flaw, to my aging eyes, is the inability to customize the UI to make it easier to use - I can barely read it any more.  It also is a spending tracker, not a budget.

Quicken 2016 - Quicken's biggest advantage for me is that it does one-click transaction import from all my financial institutions.  This makes it easy to keep track of account balances. I don't like the nagging to buy more features and updates, and I really don't like the "budgeting" function.

Mint - This one's nice for one-stop overview of one's financial picture, but it's a lousy budgeting tool.  I still use it to track my off-budget account balances.

Budget - An implementation of the envelope method of budgeting.  Had lots of potential, but the developer isn't interested in fixing bugs.  It hasn't been updated since 2012.

YNAB4 -  Love this program for budgeting, but it's being sunset as of December this year.  I suspect the Dropbox function will cease to work next year some time.

nYNAB - No. Just no.
Understanding does not imply agreement.
Acceptance does not imply agreement.
Disagreement does not imply conflict.

Offline Whatsup

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2016, 07:28:37 PM »
Long post. In short - Alex is great and Jesse now sucks.  parrot parrot parrot

I haven't lol that hard in a while ;D

I had a fairly basic spreadsheet we used. It was kinda zero based but not quite 😜 It didn't take into account all of my accounts nor did it really do the future very well, it was more focused on 1 pay cycle at a time, I then had to mentally keep track or manually add up the transfers I did to another account. So I wanted something I could see at a glance that I could cover my electricity bill ever quarter without having to go into another account and manually add up all of the transfers. I wanted something I could use with my offset account. Up until YNAB we had two accounts. Our transaction account where our pays went in and our offset account. I kept my emergency fund in the offset and transferred our non pay cycle stuff in to the offset. Ie a portion of our electricity bill etc. Prior to YNAB we were relatively financial, I never paid interest on our credit cards and we had a healthy emergency fund of several months worth of income.

Another forum I use, people kept mentioning YNAB. Evetually it was mentioned that steam had a sale, so thought what the hell. Managed to get it for under $20. Never thought of trailing it first  :). But I guess that was probably a good thing and if I hadn't purchased it I probably never would have gone back to trial it again.

To be honest I initially had a hard time with it, particularly the credit card part. So gave up after a month or two. Tried agin later that year and gave up. Then on the first on January 2014, I forced myself to use it again. Cheated a little by ignoring the credit card and not putting it in, and just treated it like any other bill. It worked, been using it since then. I must admit though, I was a little troubled with the YNAB forum back then, there was an almost cult like following which I didn't like. People didn't seem open to adding features and you were either doing things wrong or what you wanted was against the rules whether it was or wasn't.  Unfortunelty little has changed there.

So then I heard about them developing a new update. Was looking forward to it, and like many people at the time, I just assumed I was going to update/upgrade. I guess I was expecting YNAB 4 in a new web based format along with goals and direct import. I got access to it in late November I think, and was disappointed to say the least. I was then even more disappointed and perplexed to learn a number of things would be dropped(walled months, running balance, multi month view, cheque columns along with others.) I was the even more perplexed with the attitude that jess and team were taking. It just didn't make any sense.

So like a lot of people I started to look around for options. I've come to rely on YNAB , and in particular the mobile apps.  Tried a few different apps, most I can't even remember there names. Nothing felt right.  I could probably make nynab work with a little more effort. But I don't see why I should have to. Nor do I feel like supporting a company that is so willing to throw its designs and users under a bus, and basically say it's my way or the highway.  I don't trust them not to make changes that are detrimental to my workflows because they say so at some time in the future.

So my initial plan was to stick with YNAB 4 until the mobile app stop working. Unfortunately I wasn't anticipating that the mobile apps would stop working so soon(mid 2017). With YNAB not willing to commit to updating that, I have to find another option.

Then I heard about financier! Ive been playing with it for a little while and am pretty impressed. I just need a couple of things to make the transition seamless, and I'm onboard.

So keep up the good work parrot

Offline jerryfmccarthy

Re: What Other Budgeting Software have you tried?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2016, 05:34:12 AM »
Wow, awesome story. :) Thanks for posting it.

Has anyone tried https://www.everypocket.com/?

The reddit channel for that appears dead now. No activity in over a month.