Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
I'll pay you $15 to use my free software
56 points by bobblywobbles on Apr 11, 2019 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments
My first post didn't get as much attention as I'd like so I wanted to up the ante.

I lost trust in online budgeting services keeping my information safe, so I took this opportunity into my own hands and am writing free, open-source budgeting software with Electron. All of the information is stored locally on the file system, encrypted at-rest. I'm writing this software to use it myself, and want to share it with others because I feel everyone deserves tools to manage their finances.

The problem I am having is spreading the word, so I'd like to do something that's unheard of - pay you! Yes, pay you. I'd like to pay you a $15 amazon gift card to use my software (or at least test it). All you have to do is download the mac/win application at my github repo below, and after you've used it or tested it, send me (zachary) a slack message of your email and I can send the gift card over! The link to the slack is on the github page. (I don't have infinite money, but I hope to give away $100-$200 at the very least).


Thanks all - I appreciate you!

It might be nice to get a preview of the software before downloading and running it locally.

Why not upload some screenshots of the application?

If this is an Electron Application, would it not be somewhat easy to upload a hosted version to a website? Even if this hosted version was "read-only", it would still be a good indicator of what I might be downloading.

> If this is an Electron Application, would it not be somewhat easy to upload a hosted version to a website? Even if this hosted version was "read-only", it would still be a good indicator of what I might be downloading.

That would be neat. I'd take a look at a web version, but an not really in need of a budgeting app so I'm not inclined to download anything.

Also there isn't a premade Linux version.

The Linux version is now up on the repo:


I'm working on getting a Linux version up soon. Thanks!

Great idea, I'll see if I can port the source on Github Pages and have users go there if they want a demo? Superb idea, really! In the meantime I can put screenshots / .gifs on the repo itself to share what it looks like.

Boy, what has the world come to? When I wrote my first program, people paid me to use it. I uploaded it to a couple local BBSes and soon it was everywhere.

Because I’m too lazy to type I need a hyperlink


I’ll have a look. No voucher required.

Hi, I've had a quick look. For background I am a long time YNAB classic user so I have some skin in the game. Some thoughts here:

1. Looks like you have a decent build process and a .travis.yml so some kind of CI setup. Very nice for a side project.

2. I love that it's open source, desktop, UI based. This has piqued my interest because the alternatives are either dated, proprietory and/or cloud or console based.

3. Download is rather big - 157Mb takes a while to download on my average speed internet and this might put people off. If it is Electron doing that maybe moving to https://nwjs.io/ would help?

4. Minor point, but it is odd to have an msi in a zip file. Just direct link to an msi would be nicer. Just giving people an msi would reduce friction.

5. The first screen says 'passphrase' but it is a bit confusing. What happens when I pick one. Am I locked out if I forget it. Can I continue without one? Would be nice to add a sentence explaining that.

6. I'm out of space if I add 3 categories. No scroll bar to help me. So have a think about the UI for that.

7. There is a bit of wasted space on the screen so have a think about:

    * reduce wasted whitespace
    * header fonts could be smaller
    * sub categories could be in expanders, e.g. click an arrow to expand and see them.
8. It is not clear where the data is saved and how I back it up.

9. This app does the basic budget thing of tracking expenses, but for people with multiple accounts, you want to have transactions across accounts, balances and reconciliation to make sure you haven't lost track of some expenditure. That is a lot of extra functionality and may not be for your target audience, so I leave that up to you.

10. Readme.md could do with some screenshots.

11. To finish on a positive - well done for making this and shipping it. It is not easy to make something like this alone. A lot of developers will have the grunt work of build pipelines and such things set up in their job and never think about setting it all up for themselves. Good stuff. I hope this project does well.

Thanks for our thoughts, my responses: 1. Trying to, haven't figured it out but that's what I want to do.

2. Thanks! My thoughts exactly.

3. It's mostly Electron, I will look into ways to cut down on the size.

4. It's something the electron-builder package is doing. I haven't yet fiddled with it yet so there's likely an option that just isn't there.

5. The first time you use the app, you can either opt to not use a passphrase (just click 'go') or enter a passphrase. All subsequent loads of the app need the same (or no) password you initially chose. I'll add a tutorial as this isn't clear to anyone but me.

6. I didn't want to lose sight of creating categories, but there is more room to use.

7. I will. I like your expander idea!

8. To your local user directory, ie. users/local/electron/... I'm also looking at making a button to do just that.

9. I'm leaning right now on the side of no, but maybe that changes in the future. Thanks for the suggestion though.

10. Yep, on my to-do list.

11. Thank you very much!

The CI is setup now, so it's easier for everyone:


Thanks much for your interest, it helps!

Update 6:01AM CST (april 11, 2019) - I am out of money to give away, you have blown me out of proportion with the number of responses I've received. Thank you all, I'll continue to update this app for you all with your suggestions and my own. Head on over to the slack if you are interested in keeping up-to-date with this project.

You could perhaps also try Reddit at /r/personalfinance or /r/pftools.

I'm actually quite interested in this since I've tried to use GNU Cash for budgeting, but it isn't exactly designed for budgeting (it can work). I actually started building a web UI for it, but I lost interest.

I hope you get good feedback, and I'll try to give it a good, solid try tomorrow. No need for the gift card.

Thanks much! That was another program I thought I'd try but it was too complicated for me to really have the time to learn.

Thanks for your interest in the application, leave some comments in the slack section on what you think.

Ha! Funny to read this. I've started work on about 3 budget tools before giving up or losing interest every time. Until I get a new idea and start again for however long I'm able to before putting it down again.

Maybe this solution will be what you stick with?

Why don't you just spend that money on marketing/ads ? Setup campaigns on Google Search/FB, etc.

I'd like to reach people organically, and it means something more when you get to talk to the people who are using it. I'm not looking for downloads or upvotes.

Posting on HN and offering money isn't exactly the definition of organic traffic though. That said, good luck to you, I hope you find people who try it!

You have me there!

It's hard to get volunteers, so I hope $15 incentivizes them. Thank you for your support!!

Just tested it out. You need to make it more feature complete before it's useful. E.g., adding a proper calendar, ability to search transactions, filter, etc.

If not, it's just a way to enter transactions and for exporting where you do your own analysis outside.

How do I get my amazon gift card?

I hoped you were someone that commented in the slack channel, I mentioned to go there if you wanted the gift card. Alas, my budget is already maxed out and aren't giving any additional cards beyond the people I've already talked to.

Stay active in the slack and maybe I'll do it again later ;)

I like it! Can definitely see myself using it.

The only issue I am having inputting some test data is that the category scrolling doesn't seem to be working properly for me. If I go above 3 categories, things aren't properly visible/scrollable (13" MBP).

That was intentional, but not good enough. I didn't want to lose the category input form, I'm thinking of a good way to solve this.

Hello, are you looking for feedback, and if so is there a time-frame in mind? I am willing to download and use your software (indefinitely if it suits me). Thanks for sharing.

You can offer your feedback at your time-line. Sooner the better, but I'm building this software in my free time for my own personal use. If there are features you'd like to see, please hit up the slack (found in the github repo in the post)!

Thanks for your interest!

Besides being more feature complete, I'd love to see a way to import transactions from banks/credit card companies.

How efficient do you find electron? Performance wise? I am not sure if its being used in industry that much other than few applications like VSCode, slack.

The trade off to make applications cross-platform is worth it in my opinion.

Personally, still slower than I want, but it is a good compromise.

You should really include some screenshots on the README of the UI. I'd give it a shot if I had a clear picture of what to expect.

I'd add some screenshots and video recording in the readme.

It would really help "advertise" the product.

Noted - it's on the list of to-do's. Thanks!

hi, I tried it out, it feels very basic for my needs at the present. I would love to see integrations with common financial accounts like banks, brokerages, etc. Good luck with the project, I will check back in again!

Nice works mate! I will download and use your software :) No need for the gift card ;)

How kind of you! Thank you very much!

Hello I am interested. Won't you make an android version for it?

Anyone can, the source code is there awaiting a PR

Porting to Cordova wouldn't be hard. I guess the tricky part is how to sync between the mobile and desktop version.

it will be nice if you could add screenshots in the readme.

Readme has a screenshot now.

You need a screenshot in the readme, point blank.

Got it - thanks!

Have you considered the security and memory footprint implications of using electron? I totally carry your base concern for making this, but electron would not generally my first choice for making most apps.



Not sure about that first link. Electron is now on version 5.0.0....

There is a trade-off when it comes to using languages I know better (web languages) to make apps. They are larger memory footprint than native apps.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact