Saturday, August 2, 2008

Is it time for more sophisticated software?

I vow to get back to tracking my spending in August. I have no formal budget since I have no baseline for what utilities will cost, and there will be plenty of added expenses this month like stocking the pantry in my new place. The goal isn't to reign in my spending so much as get a feeling for what my new life will cost, but I know the discipline of writing things down will help me avoid overspending. It's just easier to stay on track when every penny gets recorded every day since that makes it much easier to see when silly little expenditures begin to have a serious impact.

Up until now, I'd been perfectly happy recording my purchases in the original, free, spreadsheet-based version of PearBudget. It worked quite nicely for my purposes, and the price was right. However, I'm wondering whether it may be time to switch to something like Quicken or MS Money. If I start investing in taxable accounts, there are far more things I'll need to keep track of one way or another, be it with software or a big folder in a filing cabinet. I'm not eager to give up the simplicity of an Excel (or Open Office) approach, but it's possible learning to use a new program could make my life easier in the long run when I have to do things like figure basis in order to do taxes after selling a mutual fund.

Do you use some form of money management software? If so, do you find that the benefits outweigh the costs in both money and time?


Fabulously Broke said...

I tried everything. MS Money, Quicken, Pearbudget, Mint..

The only thing that works is my own Excel sheet.. LOL

Revanche said...

I'm going to have to come up with my own Excel sheet as well, I think. I can't stand that most of the programs have 80% of what I want. That other 20% is important too!

Jim ~ said...

I have an Excel spreadsheet that I live by, but also have Quicken 2008 on the side because I'm trying it out. Excel is a great tool but some people don't have the patience to figure it out and make it work for them. I thought about designing my own software that takes some of the common things all these tools have, as well as some things/calculators that I think it would be useful.

Broke Grad Student said...

I recently posted an overview of six ways to track your expenses online. Personally, I like the email reminders when bills are due from Mint, Yodlee, etc., but ultimately, I still enter everything into Quicken.

Angie said...

I'm enjoying Mint personally.