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Ask HN: What personal finance tools do you use?
24 points by xupybd 33 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments
I've been using YNAB(6 months) after having used HLedger(2 years). HLedger was beautiful, I really loved budgeting that way. There were fantastic tutorials on how to do envelop budgeting. The lead developer helped fix bugs instantly. There was a tool that let me import my OXF files from the bank. It was a dream.

However I got married and merged finances, so I needed something a bit more user friendly to give my wife access to our budget. YNAB is well it's slow and dogmatic. I don't mind dogmatic but the way it rolls months annoys me. Couple that with a clunky slow interface and I'm done with YNAB.

What do you use to for your personal budget?

I've been using LunchMoney for more than six months now and couldn't be happier: https://lunchmoney.app

It's a simple yet powerful budgeting tool. YNAB always look overcomplicated and unfriendly to me

Thanks for the mention!

Jen here- founder of Lunch Money. Definitely give us a try if you're looking for something more modern and user-friendly. Lunch Money is less rigid than YNAB so much easier to get started on and build habits with.

If you (or anyone else reading this) decide to try it out, let me know you're from HN and I'll hook you up with a free month on top of the 14 day trial :)

Can you do envelope style budgeting with lunch money? I think I'll give it a shot regardless.

We don't adhere to any one budgeting philosophy. While we won't walk you through the envelope style budgeting the way YNAB does, you can certainly mimic it with the platform!

I had a checklist of requirements:

* OXF import so that duplicate transactions are not an issue.

* An iPhone app so my wife can see the state of the budget.

* Envelop budgeting by default.

Lunch Money meets none of these. I don't think I am the target market, but the UI has won me over. I'm totally going to do everything I can to make this work. I suspect the API will make that possible.

Amazing job on the interface, clean fast and appealing while showing loads of information all at once.

I use lunchmoney and it's the only financial tool i use and trust. super userfriendly

I recently simplified and starting using Google Forms.

I created a form with name (text), amount (number) and category (dropdown), then opened it in my iPhone's browser and added it to my homescreen. Whenever I make a purchase, I tap the icon and up pops a blank form. Takes me no more than 10 seconds to fill out.

You can link the form responses to a spreadsheet, and from there I can categorize and aggregate with this raw data any way I want. Next step is to create some graphs on the spreadsheet and add that view to my homescreen, so I can see how much budget is remaining in a month.

I've grown tired of budgeting tools that try to link your credit cards, etc--authentication maintenance is never the smoothest, and things are more detailed than I need them to be. Best thing about this method is that I have the raw data to work on, and I can adjust my data visuals easily as my needs change (it might also be cool to one day do large aggregates over, say, 10 years of personal spending)

I use a plaintext double-entry system now. Wrote a small Python script to parse it as well. I put the code up here [1].

Before that, I was using SQLite with a shell script for a while to keep track of my expenses, code here [2].

[1]: https://github.com/gkbrk/scripts/blob/master/ledger.py

[2]: https://www.gkbrk.com/2019/04/plaintext-budgeting/

Google Sheets but I've been wanting to move to a plain text solution, however my Google Sheet is now nearly 7 years old, so there is so much good data there and I feel more and more locked in

I wouldn’t worry about lock in since you can export to excel, convert to csv, and boom, you have plain text.

While it's only available for iOS/iPadOS/macOS, I can't recommend Debit and Credit enough: https://debitandcredit.app/

It's a very straightforward application for logging, categorizing your transactions. The UI is clean and simple, the features like Budgets/Plans/Scheduled Transactions are great, the visualization features are meh, but I don't use them that much. Another great thing is how easy it is to reach out to the developer. I've personally asked for a feature through Twitter and had that patched in within a week.

I have always been good with my money. When I married I merged our accounts. Finances became a disaster.

A few years ago we had some major life changes. At that point I set up more accounts. My wife is on all accounts, but she has a PRIMARY spending account, which although I am on the account I never use. We put money into it regularly. Since she does most of the shopping that is where she spends from. I have a separate account for the mortgage. Another account for charge cards, cash and utilities.

By physically separating the money I have not had a late mortgage payment. My wife has freedom to spend without guilt. And we are finally saving money.

Your mileage might be different.

What exactly do you need out of your tool ?

Do you want want to track daily expenses ? only big expenses ? check balances across multiple accounts ?

Personally I get along fine with a spreadsheet and a wife who is into finance professionally.

I also use a spreadsheet.

I only budget for my own finances. I can't make a combined budget because my wife's income is somewhat variable and she doesn't want to make a budget. I guess that's ok since I pay all the bills except for her hobbies, gas, and tires (and when she needs to buy a new car). I tried to get her to chip in for utilities but she doesn't want to, even though she makes roughly 30% of our combined income. She spends as much on her hobbies every month as I do on our mortgage. I also hate my job but can't quit since she won't help with the finances.

Sorry, I guess that turned into a bit of a rant.

Actually we had a corridor chat in my team about that yesterday, I was surprised that even people from conservative countries like India and Pakistan still had some variant of putting all salaries in one pot.

On the other hand I know a few people with his and hers accounts that are happily married so YMMV

We have separate accounts, mostly because we were lazy and didn't want set up joint accounts. I think it should be fine either way. I just wish she would contribute to our financial wellness. $1200 per month on hobbies is insane in my opinion.

I've been using buckets: https://www.budgetwithbuckets.com/ for a couple of years after moving away from YNAB. I find that it's fairly similar to YNAB with better handling of rolling over data from month-to-month and the fact that it's not a subscription is very comforting.

Libre office Calc, and pivot tables.

I have set everything up so I can just copy and paste my banks export straight into a sheet, pivot tables on the next sheet.

Rolled my own system using email purchase notifications, zapier, and Google sheets: https://medium.com/swlh/how-i-got-control-of-my-spending-wit...

I just use two excel (or to be more precise, Libre Office Calc) pages. In one I put all the expenses divided by month, than type. Each one has a short description

In the other I plot graph of the data in the first page, In particular graphs covering each month, each year and last 5 years.

Never needed anything else

seconded, even libreoffice. I have 12 sheets, one for each month. Each year I copy it. There is a second spreadsheet for big long term things, like loans and different phases of contractor work on our house

YNAB is my main tool for the job.

I gave up on budgeting apps as I felt I knew roughly how much was coming in. as long as I kept on top of prices on insurance, electricity,... Then that's about as good as I needed

I did use buckets when trying to budget. It's the same as ynab but not online

I’m in the same boat, would love a convenient tool for a married couple with shared economy. I’ve heard that YNAB is good but that it’s not so convenient for the use-case of a household.

Mint for tracking spending and M1 for investments

Goodbudget for personal spending

Neobudget for shared stuff

An Excel spreadsheet.

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