You Need A Budget (YNAB) is an expense tracking and budgeting tool. After exploring the space around 2014, I found it and have been using ever since.
The budgeting is best set up on a desktop app, and the philosophy behind the software--assigning every dollar a job, tracking every dollar, live off previous month's income instead of this month's, etc.--inform the layout and flow of the app. I rarely use the phone, and once a month do all my expense tracking.**
**Manual expense tracking is a bit of a pin, but I find it useful to manually check-in with my spending; to get a ground truth of what I'm doing. They have transaction importing available but it was buggy when I last tried it, haven't tried since.
I've tried pretty much everything under the sun -- my top three are:
Truebill still feels like it's the best at auto-categorizing my transactions, which is a small, albeit important, feature. Most of these are at feature parity, but I also think that the recurring UI for Truebill still trumps the others. That and the fact that the budgeting setup is very simple and straightforward, makes Truebill the winner for now.
I love how granular Tiller gets and their daily overview emails are nice, but I haven't habitualized going into that spreadsheet as much as I'd like so still working on that. Obviously if there are syncing issues that will be a quick death.
Interested to hear what the most differentiated feature is that you've encountered in these apps?
The latest I’ve discovered has been Copilot. Easy to setup, Plaid integration, and great UI/UX so far.
I've been using plain spreadsheets for the longest time. Airtable is now my preferred spreadsheet, what with its views/filters/block/etc.
Since it has worked so well for me, I started building a SaaS around it, to automatically sync transactions to Airtable, while also having a nicer mobile view. fintable.io
Personal Capital is great for tracking finances, but I also use Mint for budgeting. To be honest, once you set up Mint properly, it actually does a pretty good job at managing budgets automatically for you. As long as you sign in once every few weeks to manage outlier transactions, it's solid.
It's not out yet, but Microsoft Excel is getting a new "Money in Excel" feature powered by Plaid that will connect to bank and other financial accounts, import balance and transaction history, graph your budget and track recurring expenses, and more. Will be interesting to see how well it works—and at any rate should be easier than downloading .csv files and adding them to a spreadsheet.
This will sound very old-school but for ages, my single source of truth has been my books kept in Gnucash. It's the only application I have left with a dependency on Windows. It runs on macOS but does not support MySQL or PostgreSQL on macOS or Linux. For years now I have been using a MySQL backend for all my data. I have my database in a GCP CloudSQL setup which frees me from the dependency on a particular desktop. It turns Gnucash close to a SaaS offering (install the client, consume from the cloud).
I will use other tools from time to time, for reviews and trends or investment performance. I've used [Mint](https://www.mint.com/ though I've moved away since the Intuit purchase. I've used Personal Capital which I find solid. I've used separate tools to look into investments, things like Sigfig.
I have tried Truebill and although it was an interesting way to track recurring items automatically, the constant offers to lower my bills which yielded poor results, for the most part, got to me over time.
More recently, I tried Buxfer which is a new player in the "integrated financial information" space.
What I may end up doing is leveraging the Plaid API to facilitate pulling transactions I can import into Gnucash. Gnucash supports OFX but Plaid would likely streamline this process.
I don't use the reporting feature of Gnucash a lot but I've found I can query the MySQL backend and run my own reports as needed.
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