Question

What personal finance platform do you use?

Currently I keep track of personal finance using a simple Google Sheet but thinking of trying out a tool like Mint or Monarch (when they open for more invites). Any recommendations?

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#Finance #around #Plaid #QuickBooks #Google Sheets #PayPal
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itsashcon's avatar
a year ago

I tried using Mint for a while, I was super excited at first because of its nice UI, features, and of course zero-cost. However, reality hit and, well, 'the way I got my bank account set up, I got a checking and a savings, but all my money is in my savings, so I gotta switch it to my checking, but it's gonna take 3 business days... and it never really goes through...'

Jokes aside, I hear a lot of people are big fans of YNAB. It's not free, but my friends rave about how robust and effective it is. That being said, I also have friends who say all you need is to join r/personalfinance...

3 points
netbanker's avatar
a year ago

Having covered the space as an analyst for 20 years, my first and best experience was using Microsoft Money on the desktop. When that was discontinued in 2008/2009, I switched to Mint which worked fine for a few years, but ultimately I didn't have the discipline to maintain it and I fell off the PFM wagon altogether. Now I use my banks' online banking and am open to a new service that ties things together while providing some value adds around security/service/etc.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @netbanker )
a year ago

Interesting! Have you tested any newer budgeting and personal finance apps, or just find that your bank's online portal is enough to not make you want to try other alternatives?

1 point
SebastienWae's avatar
a year ago

I’m using and recommending YNAB but it's more about the system than the app itself.

2 points
cbielsa's avatar
a year ago

A Google Sheet pulling stock market and metadata from Google Finance to track your liquid assets. If you need to integrate data from further sources or more advanced computations, just setup a python cronjob to read/edit the sheet through the G Sheet API!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @cbielsa )
a year ago

Google Sheets's API-powered spreadsheet functions for finance, translation, and more have to be some of its most underrated features. Incredible how powerful they are.

Fun extra for those with international accounts is that you can pull in specific exchange rates between any two currencies on a specific date directly in Google Sheets with Google finance.

1 point
WillasaService's avatar
a year ago

I use a simply formatted excel spreadsheet with as few inputs as possible, all funneling down to a net-in and net-out amount each month and a cumulative net-saved amount. I let my Chase credit card app give me a sense for spending categories. I've tried Mint and a few others but find them hard to stick to.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @WillasaService )
a year ago

Are you automating bringing the data into your spreadsheet in any way, or just manually importing statements into your spreadsheet every so often?

1 point
kendo's avatar
11 months ago

Tiller (https://www.tillerhq.com) is another option. They have several Google Sheets and Excel templates for various forms of budgeting and tracking, rules based auto-categorization, the usual stuff. But the killer feature for me is their Yodlee feeds. I have a sheet hooked up to my personal accounts and another for business accounts which gives me filterable transaction data cheaper than I could set up and run a server to collect it myself. I'm not especially diligent about categorizing, budgeting and such but having all my transactions easily available already in a spreadsheet without having to login and download them separately makes things a lot faster when I need to do something with the data.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @kendo )
11 months ago

I find it fascinating how Tiller built their whole business as a Sheets/Excel add-on—and it really makes sense, as spreadsheets seem like the lowest common denominator way to budget already, so this just adds some extra smarts to the way you're already most likely to be managing your money.

Has it consistently worked well at automatically pulling in transactions for you?

1 point
kendo's avatar
@kendo (replying to @maguay )
11 months ago

@maguay , I've been running it for a little less than a year and so far it's been excellent, it's even been able to pull transactions from my little 3 branch credit union. Amex (personal and business), Chase Ink (business), Schwab, Discover card/bank, and PayPal (personal and business) also all come in without a hitch. I've not completely set up the budgeting sheets but I've experimented some with them and their auto-categorization tool also appears to work well. They also have a large and active community forum. They do have a 5 sheet limit for the feeds, so if someone is like me and hasn't really standardized their full system I recommend dedicating one or two (e.g. business and personal) sheets to just receive the feed data. that way if you want to ditch everything and start over, change categories, change budgeting system or whatever it's trivial to copy in all your historical data to the new setup. Likewise for quickly filtering and grabbing a subset of transactions. Basically I'm using it as a lightweight transaction database, and since it's in a Google Sheet I can do whatever I want with it after that using Tiller's other tools, my own spreadsheet formulas and apps, or piping it into a real database and building an app around that. From everything I've tried or looked at, it's the lowest friction and most flexible way to get started.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @kendo )
11 months ago

That's great to hear, thanks for sharing!

Good idea on using multiple sheets. After years of automating Google Sheets with Zapier, I typically put my long-term data in one sheet that isn't automated, then put the automations on another dedicated sheet, and copy between the two (or use cross-sheet formula references) when needed. Always worried of an automation either breaking because of some data I put in, or of it overwriting data I need to save.

But yeah, generally sounds like Tiller might be a great personal budgeting option especially if you're already used to budgeting in a spreadsheet!

1 point
HtyStudio's avatar
a year ago

Another vote for YNAB! Been a consistent user for the past 4 or so years to keep track of household finances. There’s a slight learning curve, of course, but it really does help to give every dollar a purpose.

1 point
stuartdsmith's avatar
a year ago

I like Mint but the biggest pain point is the inconsistency of the integrations. Can cause a really awful user experience.

1 point
rakgarg's avatar
a year ago

I use a Google Sheet that gets updated monthly to track my points across all frequent flyer programs, debt, credit card expenditures, and assets. It's manual work, but I find that doing it on a monthly basis really helps me take stock of my financial health and actively make decisions the next month to improve upon it.

1 point
maguay's avatar
a year ago

Some other options to look at include those shared in this previous discussion about personal budgeting apps, where You Need a Budget, Truebill, Copilot, Lunchmoney, Monarch, Personal Capital, and spreadsheets (including the new Money in Excel feature) were all recommended.

1 point
ansh's avatar
a year ago

What are the privacy concerns of these platforms?

1 point
maguay's avatar
a year ago

For another option that combines the idea of using a spreadsheet for personal finance and having a tool that automatically pulls in transactions, Microsoft officially launched their new Money in Excel feature for Excel today—and it works in Excel's desktop apps and Excel Online. It's powered by Plaid for account connection, and shares some similarities with the older Microsoft Money app.

1 point
johngabrik's avatar
a year ago

As a LONG time QuickBooks user I tried Mint for a while. While interesting, it wasn’t really necessary as I was already spending time in QuickBooks and had visibility into my accounts, I could run reports, etc. Another factor for not continuing it’s use was that it was just something else I needed to maintain and update. It just wasn’t able to keep everything synced with live data. If YNAB is able to keep all the integrations working and keep all my data up-to-date, I think I may take a look.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @johngabrik )
a year ago

What kept you from sticking with QuickBooks?

1 point
johngabrik's avatar
@johngabrik (replying to @maguay )
a year ago

I do still use QuickBooks. It's a labor intensive program that lacks some of the quick dashboards of Mint and others, but as someone who has been using it for many years (like 20+) I can generate the reports that give me that overall picture of my finances that Mint and others seem to supply.

1 point
SethSamowitz's avatar
a year ago

I use Wealthfont for a high-level overview of my finances and Mint for a more detailed view. I find that Mint and other similar apps sometimes miscategorize transactions which make it difficult to track my personal finances in detail.

1 point
sarah's avatar
@sarah (replying to @SethSamowitz )
a year ago
1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @sarah )
a year ago

"Mint, this is not a Wendy's."

1 point
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