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May 03, 2014

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YNAB is a very helpful tool. It has rules being budgeting which make sense and let's you give each dollar a job. I used to use a spreadsheet to make my budget (which works), but YNAB makes it very easy to understand where my money goes and give me an idea how much I can spend. Another thing like about it is the idea of saving for those rainy day events like car repairs or insurance, house maintenance, etc. so that when a issue arises you will be able to handle it without throwing your budget plan completely off. If you are a student I believe YNAB is even offered free. I am currently taking advantage of this, and I must say I really like the software which syncs with your smart phone where you can input your purchases. Definitely worth taking a look at. Cheers! Paul

My hubby uses Mint, but it's an "after the fact" thing of checking what's going on/ accounting. But we do write very few checks, so we just make sure we have the money in the account for those (school payment, tithe & donations, things like those). We do have a monthly budget there, tough, and everything (checks, credit card charges, debit card purchases) either automatically goes to given categories or has to be manually assigned (let's say that in a trip to a dept. store I get groceries and stuff for the car -- I try to remember the amounts to split it). Anyway... that's how we do it. WE never balanced checkbooks anyway, we use online banking to keep track of stuff...

I feel like a dinosaur; each month we reconcile our statement (e-statement that we print out) with our paper check register, into which we write every payment or deposit by hand.

We also use Quicken but it's basically just a hard-drive backup of the checkbook. So it's doing the work twice, almost, and I'm sure we're not using all of Quicken's capabilities.

I'm interested to see some more comments but it's a little overwhelming to think of changing the entire system and giving up the paper!

Our bank allows us to assign categories and run reports on their site. That's pretty much all we do. We rarely, RARELY write checks and have overdraft protection connecting our checking and savings accounts so bounced checks aren't really an issue.

I pay all my bills online, except for the rent--even my daughter's violin teacher. And 90% of what we spend other than bills (including charitable donations, groceries, cell phone bill) goes on the American Express--we use very little cash. So I use Quicken for my checkbook, and whenever I'm paying a batch of bills (twice a month, usually) I cross-check it with my bank statement online. I'm never more than 5 or 6 transactions behind. I have a Mint account but find I don't really use it anymore--it was good when we were in a super-tight budgeting mode but now that we're in a groove with our spending where we automatically have a sense of whether we've spent a lot or a little that month, it doesn't seem so necessary.

I get Quicken each year when I buy TurboTax for free, and I use it to keep track of all of our household money. I usually download transactions three or four times a week and I reconcile each time. This takes maybe 30 minutes of my time, but it does not require my full attention so I'm always doing 10 other things on the computer while this is happening.

I like having a software tool to keep track of my money. I haven't shopped around and I don't have any particular issues with Quicken. I use it to tally my charitable giving, my household employee pay, my childcare expenses etc. for tax season.

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