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Show HN: HoneyMoney – 100% more Bees than any other personal finance software (honeymoney.io)
121 points by iabdulin 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

As nice as the tool and the insights it provides, the pain point is manually entering all the transactions. It is 2018, and we still dont have a easy way of exporting our transactions from the bank in a standard way. Every bank wants to use their own way of exporting it.

I was seriously considering using Plaid API[1] to build an app that would download my transactions automatically, categorise it, and prompt me to only verify entries it classified with low-confidence. But, Plaid API at the time did not support all my bank accounts, which made the effort moot.

Another concern of mine is exporting such personal data to a 3rd party. Ideally, an open source tool that strictly runs on my laptop would be the best!

[1] - https://plaid.com

Entering transactions manually is THE POINT of HoneyMoney. You need to pay attention to your money to change your habits. Manual tracking forces you to keep your money under your regular supervision.

There're a lot of tools which will automatically import your transactions. HoneyMoney chooses the different way, trying to make tracking and planning a habit, promoting the idea that nobody can do this work for you.

It just tries to simplify the process and make it enjoyable.

That's all well and good, but I have too many daily transactions to make that feasible (too many accounts for that matter). IMO, that level of manual tracking is a bug, not a feature. If I want manual tracking, I can use Excel.

Accounting is neither simple nor enjoyable, and a computer can easily do it for us. Why not figure out how to make the process automated but still form the habit of actively tracking one's finances?

There're already tools which choose to do "automated" tracking. HoneyMoney caters to people who want to do it manually (more control, security, precision).

The thing is that Excel is not designed to help you with manual tracking. HoneyMoney is. For example, you can plan all recurring transactions and then you just confirm them as they happen. Or you can combine multiple transactions into one. Those things simplify the process a lot.

"Accounting" can be enjoyable. Some people do enjoy the level of control they get from doing their personal finances.

For example, you spend $120 at a restaurant last night. Today you enter that expense into HoneyMoney, and have a chance to see how this expense changed your situation, and think for a moment a second time about it, was it worth it or better not go there again. Computer won't do it for you.

In Europe the PSD2 regulations are just about to come into effect which means that all banks will have to provide a public API. You can also use an aggregation service like Tink (https://business.tink.se)

I really like Europe. Why is a cluster of countries functioning better than a single country?

You might ask some Greeks how they think it is functioning and you might change your view a bit.


I just learnt about PSD2. I live in Denmark. Unfortunately I don't see Danskebank to be a part of supported list on Tink.

I will look into how I can get an API for Danskebank account transactions.

Using a smartphone app, entering the transaction isn't really such a pain. Just bought a pretzel, 12 secs later I had it entered in the app.

What I want in contrast is a way of tracking complex expenses like supermarket receipts, maybe via OCR and automatic aggregation and categorization of items, even across different supermarkets. Preferably via app. That way I could check which items I should buy where and which items are the most demanding on my monthly budget. Any su

there's lots of transactions people have happen automatically - rent, utilities, etc.

In YNAB at least, all of those can be scheduled as recurring and you only have to mark them cleared when they've happened.

Utilities costs are almost always variable, so it would still require manually entering them in.

rent would probably make sense. my utilities change each month, so "recurring" as an event makes sense, but not the amount.

Switch banks, seriously, and tell them why. Banks are a dime a dozen. My local credit union exports in QFX, OFX, and CSV. Also has direct access (I use Ibank on Mac) so I don’t have to futz with exporting. As you said, it’s the 21st century. No excuse for this.

I started using Tiller for this recently. It’s essentially a shim later between Yodlee and Google Sheets. It doesn’t address your privacy concerns, of course, but I don’t think there’s any good solution outside of paying your banks for OFX access.

I don’t use any of their sheet templates. I just download the raw transactions with the Sheets API and munge then into my ledger-cli based analysis system.


In Europe, all banks implement the HBCI standard, which does exactly this.

HBCI is mostly a German standard though. It is a huge PITA to work with as well, clearly showing its age.

The most promising thing seems to be the API standard developed by the "Berlin Group" https://www.berlin-group.org/psd2-access-to-bank-accounts with quite a lot of banks being a member.

I quite liked the bunq API to work with (https://doc.bunq.com), but I wasn't really happy with their 7.99€/month pricing. In the past they also required a fixed IP, which wasn't really great for hobby projects.

A decent wrapper around multiple bank APIs seems to be figo (http://docs.figo.io/v3/index.html), the API looks good but I'm not sure about the pricing.

It's a PITA, but it works and it's a universal standard (in Germany, that is).

I'll take that over a proprietary API or an untrusted 3rd party wrapper.

What do you mean by "this"? I'm in Europe and all my bank accounts are very "closed", as in really difficult to build an API on. Good for security but hopeless for anything else like expense tracking.

They do offer CSV export, not even sure if that's in any standardised way.

Why not simply download the CSV of your bank statements on a monthly basis and process it however you wish? Just need a monthly habit for this to be working.

Personally, I use OFX, but that's just the beginning. For investment accounts, you need price and lot info, for loan repayments you need interest / principal splits, and for w2 income I have the gross pay split into a couple dozen accounts -- state and local taxes, various insurances, and retirement investments. Most of this stuff you can't even get from online banking APIs.

Because my bank doesn't offer CSV export.

Are there no budgeting apps that use plaid for transactions?

(full disclosure, I work at Plaid)

Some of the more popular budgeting apps that are built on Plaid include Empower, Clarity Money, and Albert.

I particularly like to use HoneyDue, which is built for couples!

You know, HoneyDue is one of those rare things where a blockchain (just between the couple's devices) would make sense.

Not sure if it uses Plaid, but I use YNAB and it connects to all the accounts that are important to me.

This is great copy writing / presentation. The non slick design comes across as being personal, cheerful and nerdy. I think it works very well for what you are trying to sell.

This is what I came to find. It was so refreshing to see some charming imperfections that make the design so much more personal, feeling old school while still maintaining a modern flow to the page.

Thank you!

Thank you. I'm trying to simplify the process and make it enjoyable. And just having fun while doing it :)

I use Mint but generally, am not trilled with it.

1. I have a hard time managing my bank account AND my main credit card. Mint seems to think me paying off my credit card bill is another expense, however Mint already tracked the CC charges so basically Mint thinks I run a massive loss every month (yes I've tried fixing this, multiple times)

2. Other than reviewing your newest transactions, and the occasional useful bill/fee reminder, I don't find much use for the app in regards to financial planning or analysis.

3. I don't like how Mint is basically used to slurp up my data, and sell me credit cards - it's obvious now how little they care about making it truly useful. The app has been in existence for years and barely nudges forward besides new UI.

The thought of manually tracking my expenses however is too much work. I find it hard enough launching the Mint app regularly to allow it to download my latest transactions.

Manually tracking expenses seems harder than it actually is. For example, I just collect all the receipts for 3-4 days, and then spend 5 minutes to enter them in batch.

All the recurring transactions are planned once, and then you just confirm them with the real amount.

Basically, we're talking about 15–20 minutes per week for increasing your awareness about money and to keep your financial life under control.

This is work, nobody will do it for you. You just need to decide if it's worth it to you personally or not.

Check out You Need A Budget.

YNAB is great except when tracking existing credit card debt and new debt. I found it a real pain to figure out what my monthly payments should be. It's doable, I just found it not straight forward at all. That and trying to figure out what a 'month' is - different payments coming in at different times for purchases from different times, I kept finding myself trying to override and do manual catch ups. I finally just stopped using it.

Seconded. You Need A Budget uses envelope style budgeting, and it's been great for me. Without even knowing it, I was using envelope budgeting with Simple.com but it was a pain in the ass. YNAB fit what I wanted to do nearly perfectly!

It’s a great app. Well worth $50/year.

$84/year for new customers, still worth it.

> 1. I have a hard time managing my bank account AND my main credit card. Mint seems to think me paying off my credit card bill is another expense, however Mint already tracked the CC charges so basically Mint thinks I run a massive loss every month (yes I've tried fixing this, multiple times)

Paying the credit card bill of $X from your bank account should be offset by the crediting of $X to your credit card.

Spend $100 on your credit card, Pay $100 to your credit card from bank, Credit card has +$100 credit

The only net spending here is the original $100. The line item of the $100 coming from your bank should not be counted as additional expense, since it should be offset by the line item credit on the credit card.

Fwiw, Mint seems to handle this fine for me.

I hear you, I'm sure it's solvable, yet I have spent at least a few sessions attempting to figure this out and Mint continues to tell me I'm "in the red" by several thousand dollars every month (when in fact I am not)

I'm not seeing the "credit" applied to my card, just the expenses. I thought that Mint was supposed to "ignore" CC bill payments - however something just still isn't right and it makes Mint almost completely useless to me.

I used to love YNAB, but once I started needing real support for multiple currencies, I had to stop using it. I haven't found a daily driver replacement since, and I've tried around 10 apps. I even started writing my own, although it's not done. Does HoneyMoney support multiple currencies?

Yep. All the currencies you want. Even bitcoin. It will even take into account your default currency when displaying it's symbol. For example, for me Canadian dollar is simply "$", but US dollar is "US$". For US it will be the other way around: "$" for USD and "CA$" for CAD.

like they once said about gender: currency is a text field.

Oh wow this is super cool. IME the hardest part of using this kind of accounting software is to keep using it over time, because entering transactions is super boring, and it's hard to build the habit.

Right now, since all my expenses come from one bank account, I export the data from the bank and use a bunch of excel sheets to keep track of stuff, but of course is a quite limited system.

I was wondering if HoneyMoney has some kind of import system? In this way I could just dump the exports in there like once a month.

I have the same problem about typing in transaction and here's my advice: don't.

Just do one transaction for "misc expenses" once a month or week and be done with it. Usually I do this by comparing the current and last balance and book the difference. If you feel like some transaction (rent, utilities, fuel for the car) did stand out you can still split out a separate transaction for it, but you don't have to.

You can get used to it quite quickly and it is really useful. By adding your expenses right after the purchase you're all the time up-to-date with your budget. You know where you're with your plans, whether they need any modifications or not. I restarted using YNAB this January after a 2 years long pause and now I have again money at the end of the month. :>

I've been using YNAB for years too, similar experiences, until I consistently manually added the transactions I found my accounts got worse and worse during reconcilable and my budget forecasts were ruined consequently.

Now I'm checking the accounts almost daily when adding purchases manually, it's been consistently accurate for months.

Another option is to just collect receipts and enter them in batch. That's what I personally prefer.

That's why HoneyMoney tries to simplify the process and make it enjoyable.

Manually tracking expenses seems harder than it actually is. For example, I just collect all the receipts for 3-4 days, and then spend 5 minutes to enter them in batch.

All the recurring transactions are planned once, and then you just confirm them with the real amount. 2 clicks: select — confirm.

Basically, we're talking about 15–20 minutes per week for increasing your awareness about money and to keep your financial life under control.

This is work, nobody will do it for you. You just need to decide if it's worth it to you personally or not.

There's an import from CSV for historical data. Here's the demo: https://demo.honeymoney.io/app/my/import

YNAB4's desktop software has been my GOTO buggering (budgeting... I'll leave the typo in for laughs...) suite for years. Unfortunate it is no longer sold and they opted for a subscription model but it can still be found via nefarious methods.

I'll give this a look over and see how it works. Personally I like YNAB's process of allowing manual transactions to be added but supporting other file exports from banks like .OFX files to allow you to easily reconcile your accounts and transactions. Though it's unfortunate that only their subscription model supports live feeds from your bands.

All the same, I'll give your product a crack and see how it goes.

PS. I enjoy how your websites presented though depending on your intended market audience, I feel it may be just a little too jovial?

Thank you.

Too jovial?

The app itself has fewer bees per square pixel than promo website. Check out the demo: https://demo.honeymoney.io

Eh, I'm a grouch. It's so happy, carefree, cute and just straight up adorable I found it to be unprofessional. But. Everyone here likes it for the larger part. That's how I frame the website, you could almost disregard my opinion.

It's clear to see that the happy, carefree and cute design is what you were going for and you've nailed it! :)

I have tried so many apps to get my financial shit together, but I always end up returning to my Google Spreadsheet-based system. One worksheet for each pay period. No tracking of transactions. Just columns for who's owed what and how much I'll have left after everyone is paid.

Things aren't always perfect, but I have a groove and that's what matters.

Anything you are missing from the spreadsheets? I started like you myself and it just wasn't good enough to make projections and fit those transactions that happen every three months for my austrian health/pension.

There's no privacy policy on this site (I did a custom Google search on the site to check if I'd somehow missed it). So my serious question is why anyone should trust this platform even for a trial. It's 2018, and it's unforgivable for a site, especially one that stores financial information, not to have a clear privacy policy and commitment.

@Ildar, if you see this comment, this is the first thing you should address before anything else (and also state how any policy you put affects past data collected).

If you don't want your financial information shared with anyone, don't put it on the internet. Even with a strong privacy policy, do think anyone can guarantee that your data will always remain safe?

I don't put it on the Internet at all. I was just wondering how so many people were praising the site and its features and how this application has so many users with nobody even asking the question about a privacy policy or the developer not thinking about it. Since this is a paid product, a privacy policy is a set of promises that the vendor makes to you as a customer, and is part of the contract with you (which you can enforce or claim compensation for when breached, depending on the jurisdiction).

While nobody can guarantee anything in life, we still expect reasonable policies and protections to be available. Otherwise why would anyone even worry or talk about the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Take this unrealistic example: would you not feel you're being scammed if you bought a flight ticket but the airline had no policy about baggage loss or delays (essentially anything that could affect you, the paying customer, negatively)? It's quite obvious that the airline cannot guarantee that your bags won't get lost or that there won't be delays in the flight times.

The same principle applies with the airline. If you really don't want to deal with the hassle of having your bags lost, don't fly. Of course, that takes the whole mentality to an extreme. It's not often, even with a good privacy policy, or lost baggage policy, that it offers any true protection. It is more for peace of mind.

Probably the cutest illustrations I've seen on an app marketing site in a long while. It's refreshing to see some whimsy and personality.

The presentation of information is absolutely excellent too. And you can instantly see what they mean about a calendar view as a default view, with the screenshot, it's really nice.

Fairly impressive overall, +1.

Thank you. Your words make my heart smile.

Yeah. HoneyMoney is my side project, so I can afford to have fun while working on it.

Not to nitpick:

> 100% more Bees than any other personal finance software

100% over a zero is still a zero.

@mingabunga in the comment below explained it better than I can: "It's just a catchy headline, it doesn't really make sense but is comical/nonsense so it makes you stop and pay attention to it. I think it's brilliant."

I recently had to implement "percentage differences while also supporting 0". Took a while to explain that, while we can come up with solutions to support that desired feature, it's mostly arbitrary and not based in math lol.

And even if a competitor had one bee, it only means they have two bees.

By coincidence I've started my own accounting software last month using ruby on rails. Previously I've been using GnuCash and then move to hledger (hard to beat simple text files) but I've always been missing something that reminds me to type in new transactions (I really don't like automatic imports). I like that honeymoney got envelopes, something I was struggling to use with hledger.

Is honeymoney double accounting, I mean internally?

Anyways, keep up the good work, great to see competition in the market for get-rich-slow-schemes :D

An self-hosted/open source one floating out there too is Firefly III: https://firefly-iii.org/

I tried to make some sense of an hledger thing with a web interface, and couldn't wrap my head around what it wanted me to do. :(

Ha, I even tried to contribute some code to hledger's web interface but I couldn't get the feel for haskell and tbh, the naming of variables in hledger isn't consistent and made it just harder. Or maybe I'm just spoiled from Rails.

firefly, thanks for the tip, didn't know that one. But just look and scroll that screenshot... https://firefly-iii.org/static/screenshots/4.7.0/account.png My personal data goes back to 2012 and I'm all set to import that into my own app very soon.

Heh, might already be fixed, Firefly is pretty actively developed, a lot of devs don't update their screenshots all that often though.

That being said, if you put in the time and effort I think personal software is amazing: It does what you want it to do, not what someone else wanted it to do. Development priorities are magically aligned with your needs!

Hi! Thanks for mentioning my app! That particular list has indeed been fixed. My own administration starts in 2013 so I had similar lists. The latest version does the grouping a but more smart. :-)

HoneyMoney is built on Rails too, btw.

Envelopes are used for splitting money by purpose: for planned expenses, for unplanned expenses, for goals, for funds.

No, it's not double accounting internally.

I already use a ynab this year maybe next year if this can convinced me

Why? If YNAB works perfectly for you, then no need to change anything. HoneyMoney is a different beast, you can check comparison here: https://honeymoney.io/en/compare

I love YNAB.

wow, HM's on HN :) good to see it here. I've been personally using HM for about 5 yrs now and can say that satisfies all my need. No ocr for receipts, but hey, who's got that the proper way? As for me I do not need such detalisation to follow, for a food purchases I just use categories and subcats.

It's a small world :)

Exactomundo, amigo :)

Interesting tool.

I would maybe use this tool if it had some kind of api. I want to be able to have my bot post financial data to my account in HoneyMoney automatically, is this possible?

I haven't found any info regarding this. If someone with an account know of such an api I would sign up.

Web version uses a simple json-based API. Could you contact me via email so I can tell you more?

These are the kinds of tools that Open Banking in the UK promised, however I've as yet been unable to find a simple API reference or tutorial that outlines a way to get started.

The documentation provided by individual banks seems better than the documentation on the Open Banking site. For example, here is the documentation provided by

- Barclays: https://developer.barclays.com/documentation/dc72e132-2951-4...

- Santander: https://developer.santander.co.uk/sanuk/external/open-bankin...

- List of others: https://openbanking.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DZ/pages/19104...

"Open banking" won't do the work for you. The work of paying attention to your finances and keeping your spending under control. HoneyMoney tries to help with that.

Really need a way to import at least a csv of historical data. I know its pitch is tracking manually makes you more aware, but let me bring in history to start at least. Then we get more use out of it right away. I have years upon years of data, and starting from square one seems like a waste of that data.

Totally love the calendar though, that is a nice way to visualize things.

There's an import from CSV for historical data. Here's the demo: https://demo.honeymoney.io/app/my/import

Is the rounding of planned expenses a feature or a bug? I entered 3.80 euros as an expense, but in the calendar it shows 4 euros. If I enter 3.30, it shows 3 euros.

It's a feature. HoneyMoney calculates everything without rounding but displays only rounded numbers. This reduces visual clutter.

Though I advice to not enter cents anyways. They don't really matter. What matters is the habit to pay a regular attention to your money. Not entering cents saves some time.

Probably because the original software was developed for the Russian market, and Russian rubles always get rounded.

Rubles are not rounded. One ruble is divided into 100 kopeks.

This looks like a good start but honestly it looks like it needs the help of a good designer.

For a more polished alternative, check out https://www.pocketsmith.com/ - I've been a customer for a while now and, as far as I can tell, can do everything HoneyMoney can.

I disagree. I think the design is straight forward. More important is the copy on the page which is far superior to pocketsmith. It tells me about what your product does without having to click around.

I was referring more to the tools themselves than the landing page.

Given the boring nature of data entry, this is a prime use case for gamification!

+5 points for you.

so twice as many?

You apparently either have zero bees, or only have twice as many bees as the others.

Is this what you meant to say?

It's just a catchy headline, it doesn't really make sense but is comical/nonsense so it makes you stop and pay attention to it. I think it's brilliant.

I just get irked that people continuously misuse 300% increase, etc.

Thank you. You explained everything better than I could.

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