Budget Reboot

I figured that since I was leading a life group on Finances, I ought to take a good look at ours and make sure everything added up (literally).

I’ve prescribed to the envelope budgeting system over the years, using “virtual envelopes” in a computer rather than real ones, but there haven’t been many (any) good tools for this method of budgeting.

I’ve been using Microsoft Money (previously Quicken) for years, simply because they are pretty much the only game in town when it comes to tracking money accounts (as far as importing transactions from credit cards and bank accounts.)

However, they both stink when it comes to budgeting (in my opinion). There is no real accountability when you don’t stick to your budget.

I’ve tried for years to get this to work with the envelope system, but have been frustrated with the results. (If anyone is interested, I can give you the gory details.) It is like putting a square peg in a round hole.

So I recently found a new tool that seems to meet my criteria for money management software:

  • Easy and intuitive to enter transactions– that’s the whole key to budgeting is managing all your expenditures.
  • Imports QIF, OFX, and QFX files from banking institutions.
  • Allows you to have categories that maintain their balance from month-to-month.

Its called YNAB Pro, and although it isn’t perfect, it seems to meet my criteria. I spent Saturday working with it and it helped to expose some holes in our budget that I hadn’t seen and was able to close. (Looking at the same information in Money–everything looked fine. Stupid program.) It seems that it helps to have the right tools for the job.

Anyway, with a budget reboot, I hope to get things back on track…

Question for readers:  What tools do you use to track your finances?

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