Author Topic: Need to budget? (Money stuff)  (Read 8779 times)

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n45048

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Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« on: September 22, 2014, 10:29:23 am »
I'm not normally one to plug products however this is well worth a look!

If you're living from pay to pay, looking forward to every payday or just want to sort out your finances, consider 'YNAB' (You Need a Budget). It's available on PC, Mac, Android and iOS from http://www.youneedabudget.com/ and there is a free 34-day trial. I would suggest checking out the video to explain it better than I can. There's no spam and no bullshit.

I've been using the software for a few years now. After trying everything from Excel sheets to Microsoft Money which lasted about a month, I came across this fantastic product (when it was just a project by a handful of people in a garage). I actually use YNAB every other day now and it's actually quite "fun" to use but also does the job fantastically. Since using YNAB, I now live 1 month ahead (last months pay covers this months bills and expenses). I'm even in the process of building my dream home in the Blue Mountains (Australia) as a result of the savings I was able to make.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 10:25:10 pm by n45048 »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2014, 11:12:28 am »
If you are living "from pay to pay", probably the last thing you need is to spend more money. And that's doubly true for a product where the benefits can be replicated by cheaper and simpler tools such as paper and pencil.

Of course, if you haven't the discipline to use paper and pencil, you probably haven't the discipline to use a tool - and you would be better advised to develop that discipline!
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n45048

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 06:28:41 pm »
If you are living "from pay to pay", probably the last thing you need is to spend more money. And that's doubly true for a product where the benefits can be replicated by cheaper and simpler tools such as paper and pencil.

Of course, if you haven't the discipline to use paper and pencil, you probably haven't the discipline to use a tool - and you would be better advised to develop that discipline!

I partially agree with that logic! However some tools are there to make your life easier so a little outlay for a greater net gain is a worthwhile investment. A PC-based budget program will report on your spending and is available everywhere you are without having to carry around your budget in your pocket. Reconciling is also much quicker and you're less prone to errors. Of course you still need to be disciplined and actually use it!

Besides, I hadn't used a paper and pencil in many years until I started working for the Australian Government  :-DD
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 06:35:51 pm by n45048 »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 06:44:22 pm »
Paper and pencil fit in pockets, and are very cheap.
If you can't use paper and pencil then just use a phone app as a piece of paper - or a trivial spreadsheet if that is more convenient.
Reconciliation is unnecessary - budgets are approximations not a cheque book.
The target market cannot by definition have money to spare!

FWIW my daughter used those techniques to keep her spending under control at university.

But overall this is an unimportant topic that is irrelevant to this forum, so I won't be commenting further.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline German_EE

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 06:53:32 pm »
The software is not needed. A decade or so ago I sat down with someone and helped her work out her chaotic finances and all we used was a spreadsheet listing sources of income and reasons for any expenditure. Once she saw a years income and expenditure there on the screen it was obvious where the money was going and she made certain lifestyle adjustments.

Three days later she walked into the office of the local bank manager, showed him the spreadsheet, and explained why she needed a final six month extension to her overdraft. She got the money and she's now free of debt.

Note: A certain amount of willpower as well as a helpful boyfriend are an unbeatable combination.
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Offline CrabxCore

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 07:46:21 pm »
I have been using YNAB for about 5 months now. As a young adult who justed moved out on his own, it has really helped me. I really like that it has a mobile app that syncs with dropbox.

Now the people saying it could all be done on paper... Of course it can be done on paper. You can also design PCB's on paper, but why would you when there are tools to make it more convenient.

Also, YNAB is available on steam. I purchased it during the summer sale for $15. It has probably saved me $15 in paper and lost pens.

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Offline nctnico

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 08:05:52 pm »
I really don't see the advantage of a budgetising app. You have your monthly income, monthly bills and money you put aside for buying new big ticket items, vacation, etc. Put those in a spreadsheet and you know what you can spend on food & fun stuff. That information is pretty static.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 08:58:21 pm »
Ah, the typical "but paper is old school" argument. So what? It works.
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Offline KJDS

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2014, 09:37:59 pm »
Whilst ever mindful of the advice of Mr Micawber:-
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery."

What I really need, far more than pens and paper, spreadsheets or apps, or even advice from the pen of Dickens, is for the prices of classic cars to stop rising at their current rates.


n45048

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2014, 10:04:28 pm »
Reconciliation is unnecessary - budgets are approximations not a cheque book.
The target market cannot by definition have money to spare!


I completely disagree with your comment. Budgets are about being accurate (and as you said, disciplined) and the one of the fundamental "rules" of YNAB is giving every dollar a "job". Whether that be for bills, groceries, credit card payments or savings. There is no "spare" money as you describe. There is a free YNAB PDF 'book' which is a good read even if you have no intention of using the software; the fundamentals are basic and apply to any system.

For those who use the paper method, all the more power to you, whatever works for you and your situation (although this is an electronics blog).

I appreciate everyone's opinion and their right to express their views, I'm simply sharing mine. I'm happy to admit that I was one of those people who needed some serious budgeting 5-6 years ago. Now, I'm building my first home, using only my funds, and can still afford all the toys I desire. My finances whilst not overly difficult in the scheme of things, still has quite a bit of variation and to do it manually would take me an hour or more each week. Call it a "success story" if you will but I owe a lot of it to the guys that developed YNAB.

So many people face budget problems in society, I would even go as far as saying over half the population, so being accurate down to the dollar is important for many people.

But overall this is an unimportant topic that is irrelevant to this forum

Again, I disagree. It may not be important to you, but it might be to others. Furthermore this forum is "General Chat" and if my topic can assist only 1 person, then it's well worth it. Of course you don't have to reply or even read it. That's the great thing about freedom. I'd like to think we're all clever people on the EEVblog and sharing constructive thoughts and ideas is part of intelligence.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 08:24:33 am by n45048 »
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2014, 05:51:56 am »
Another advantage of pen and paper, is it leaves permanent records on file. Without the further expense of a printer and printer consumables, or any worries about digital media failure.

Also one simple habit - writing the date at the top right of every blank sheet of paper you're about to use, to write anything at all - makes a world of difference. How I wish someone had bashed that obvious truth into my head back in my teens/20s.
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Offline Galenbo

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2014, 07:52:54 am »
If you are living "from pay to pay", probably the last thing you need is to spend more money.

And I generally don't need advise/links/info from somebody who has a pay-to-pay lifestyle :-)
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Offline Kjelt

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2014, 08:05:38 am »
My solution (finally made possible by the new IT gen in the banking world) open up an (savings)account for each and every irregular spending purpose category you have like dentist, carsavings, hobbies, etc. and an additional running pay account for the fixed monthly spendings like groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities etc.
Then transfer all the budgetted amounts for each purpose right after your pay arrived and only leave that which you are free to spend that month. Problem solved. Works excellent for me.

Another tip from a moneyguru if you don't want to do above: just transfer 20% of your income directly to your savingsaccount after your pay arrived. Don't transfer it back. The way it works, people adjust fairly quickly to spending more money but less quickly spending less. If you make sure you transfer the savings at the beginning you set the phsychological change that you have less money to spend and you will adjust your spending accordingly.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 08:10:49 am by Kjelt »
 

n45048

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2014, 08:20:46 am »
And I generally don't need advise/links/info from somebody who has a pay-to-pay lifestyle :-)

Thankfully no one here in that category has provided any advice. I'm certainly not a fan of the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude either.
 

Offline ConKbot

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2014, 08:45:46 am »
Havent used it, but I think https://www.mint.com/ provides a similar service, free. 
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2014, 08:57:18 am »
Quicken has done it forever, not sure about their support for outside of the US
 

Offline CrabxCore

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2014, 11:41:26 am »
Havent used it, but I think https://www.mint.com/ provides a similar service, free.

I tried mint. The only thing I felt uneasy about was having to actually link my bank account using its login info. That could just be my super cautious parents coming out in me.

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Offline dannyf

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2014, 02:34:30 pm »
Quote
If you're living from pay to pay

If you are living pay to pay, focus on increasing your pay, not spending your pay - however nicely budgeted or reconciled.

If you have no money to spend, you have no money to spend.
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Offline sacherjj

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2014, 05:43:27 pm »
Havent used it, but I think https://www.mint.com/ provides a similar service, free.

It is not similar and here is why:

Mint takes everything that you are spending and shows you what you spent.  This is a post game analysis and it cannot easily help you manage money.  It just tells you where it went.

YNAB (I've been using it for almost 2 years now) is the easiest method I have found to manage money and plan with money. 

I run YNAB account for home finances and enter each expense.  At grocery store, it takes 20 seconds or less to enter it into my phone and look at what my remaining grocery budget is.  The act of entering expenses and reconciling takes very little effort and time, but it keeps you in touch with where you money is going.

I run another YNAB account for my side consulting business.  Works great for non-inventory businesses.

Many people live 1 month behind without even knowing it.  They charge all the expenses on a charge card and pay it off in full every month.  They are paying for last month's expenses with this month's pay.  YNAB treats credit card expenditures like they are cash already spent.  They teach to budget this month with last month's money.  That immediately gives you a month buffer if something happened.

The way they do accounting makes it very easy to track working balance vs actual balance.  This wasn't an issue when I had a great paying job and had a huge emergency fund.  However, I have made choices that changed that.

YNAB is the only way I have been able to quit a job I hated, but made great money, and went to a job with MUCH lower pay at a non-profit that I believe in.  Our budget is VERY tight to make this work.  Without YNAB, it would not work for me.  I'm a dedicated and loyal fan.  :)   So I am someone who WASN'T in a pay to pay lifestyle and has gotten there for a short time to try to do something really incredible.  I'm in the process of altering life style and getting rid of property to make that not so, but I've converted into a "typical American" of hand to mouth. For now.

YNAB purchases get a referral link that nets them $6 while it saves others $6.  If you want $6 off you can use this.  http://ynab.refr.cc/SXPVPKG

Quote
If you're living from pay to pay

If you are living pay to pay, focus on increasing your pay, not spending your pay - however nicely budgeted or reconciled.

If you have no money to spend, you have no money to spend.

It is far too often that people make crazy money and have none.  Much like time, if you don't assign each dollar a job (do budgeting) then they tend to just disappear. 

However, you are absolutely correct in increasing pay being the easiest way to solve money issues.

If you are living "from pay to pay", probably the last thing you need is to spend more money. And that's doubly true for a product where the benefits can be replicated by cheaper and simpler tools such as paper and pencil.

Of course, if you haven't the discipline to use paper and pencil, you probably haven't the discipline to use a tool - and you would be better advised to develop that discipline!

I have told many people this and have yet to be told I was wrong:

"If you are not completely budgeting your income and giving every dollar a job, you will save the cost of YNAB during the trial period."  This is just due to getting exposure to exactly what you are spending.  We had decent Excel budgeting, but the ease of looking at where the money should and is going paid for YNAB in under a month.  I've seen that for over a dozen people I've introduced to it.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 05:53:43 pm by sacherjj »
 

n45048

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2014, 08:36:17 pm »
sacherjj you make several very good points and it's great to hear your views from a different perspective.

You are absolutely right in relation to some people who earn quite a bit of money. My partner easily earns double what I do, yet it all seemed to just disappear "somewhere", that was before YNAB of course.

You are also correct in how quick it is to actually enter transactions or reconcile an account. I sat down yesterday and worked through a weeks worth of spending in less than 5 minutes.

One thing I do like about the Mint interface though is the way it graphs and displays savings goals, it's quite neat. Microsoft Money ('98 was the last version I used) had a similar feature which plotted projected savings to help you come up with a plan. This is something I personally still use Excel for from time to time so I can work out how much I need to save for a certain goal over a specified period of time, then I just plug that figure into my monthly budget and carry it over.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 08:41:45 pm by n45048 »
 

Offline sacherjj

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2014, 02:44:42 am »
sacherjj you make several very good points and it's great to hear your views from a different perspective.

You are absolutely right in relation to some people who earn quite a bit of money. My partner easily earns double what I do, yet it all seemed to just disappear "somewhere", that was before YNAB of course.

You are also correct in how quick it is to actually enter transactions or reconcile an account. I sat down yesterday and worked through a weeks worth of spending in less than 5 minutes.

One thing I do like about the Mint interface though is the way it graphs and displays savings goals, it's quite neat. Microsoft Money ('98 was the last version I used) had a similar feature which plotted projected savings to help you come up with a plan. This is something I personally still use Excel for from time to time so I can work out how much I need to save for a certain goal over a specified period of time, then I just plug that figure into my monthly budget and carry it over.

I put savings goals in category label along with monthly amount I should contribute.  Then reports on specific category gives you this information.
 

Offline mswhin63

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2014, 07:42:41 am »
I have also noticed the Australian Government have made an app on their www.moneysmart.gov.au website. Haven't tried it yet but it is also free. Trying to get SWMBO to try it.
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Offline dannyf

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2014, 11:33:51 am »
Quote
monthly amount I should contribute.

One can be too poor to afford saving anything.

Having said that, consider putting your savings away at beginning of your pay: don't think of it as how much you "should" save; think of it as how much you "must" save and then spend the rest.

Again, if you cannot increase your pay, spend less.
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2014, 01:10:07 pm »
I have had some excellent educators at the two universities and the high school I attended. I loved science, engineering and mathematics, however the most valuable subject I ever studied was taught by a Mrs. Balia in Year 8 (Form 2). The subject was Consumer Education.

She told us a person on $5,000 per year (1972 dollars) can have a better standard of living than a person on $10,000 per year and she explained why this can be so. She taught us the golden principals:

(1) Budgeting is the key to being in control of your finances and staying on track.
(2) Always live below your means ("Spend more than you earn and you will go broke, spend less than you earn and you will grow rich").
(3) Never borrow money for luxury or non-essential items.

If only the younger "Generation Me" people were taught these simple basic principles, they would be far better off. Instead, many become a slave to debt :palm:. In the end, the only winners are the finance companies and the banks >:D.

Consumer education should be compulsory in all schools  :-+. It may even be more important than electronics :wtf:.







 

« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 01:12:13 pm by VK3DRB »
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2014, 05:23:46 pm »
As Charles Dickens put it in 1850...

Mr Micawber's famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness: "Annual income £20, annual expenditure £19/19/6, result happiness. Annual income £20, annual expenditure £20/0/6, result misery."

I have had some excellent educators at the two universities and the high school I attended. I loved science, engineering and mathematics, however the most valuable subject I ever studied was taught by a Mrs. Balia in Year 8 (Form 2). The subject was Consumer Education.

She told us a person on $5,000 per year (1972 dollars) can have a better standard of living than a person on $10,000 per year and she explained why this can be so. She taught us the golden principals:

(1) Budgeting is the key to being in control of your finances and staying on track.
(2) Always live below your means ("Spend more than you earn and you will go broke, spend less than you earn and you will grow rich").
(3) Never borrow money for luxury or non-essential items.

If only the younger "Generation Me" people were taught these simple basic principles, they would be far better off. Instead, many become a slave to debt :palm:. In the end, the only winners are the finance companies and the banks >:D.

Consumer education should be compulsory in all schools  :-+. It may even be more important than electronics :wtf:.
Nah. All that common sense should be taught by parents. I managed it (so far as I know!) with my daughter.

Schools should teach the difficult stuff, such as electronics :)
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Offline alank2

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2014, 08:50:27 pm »
Thanks to the OP for pointing out YNAB, I've been looking for something like this and so far so good.  It will replace an old 16 bit dos application I've been using for 20+ years that won't run on my new 64 bit notebook.
 

n45048

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2014, 07:33:43 am »
Thanks to the OP for pointing out YNAB, I've been looking for something like this and so far so good.  It will replace an old 16 bit dos application I've been using for 20+ years that won't run on my new 64 bit notebook.

You mean money.bas that came with MS-DOS isn't good enough anymore?  :-DD
I'm glad you found YNAB useful! Feel free to PM me if you need some assistance but the website also has a good forum with plenty of people willing to lend a hand.

(1) Budgeting is the key to being in control of your finances and staying on track.
(2) Always live below your means ("Spend more than you earn and you will go broke, spend less than you earn and you will grow rich").
(3) Never borrow money for luxury or non-essential items.

Three very relevant and absolutely fantastic points! I think I'll use those myself (with credit to Mrs. Balia of course). Perhaps some of the fuddy-duddies from the earlier posts could contribute helpful life lessons such as these rather than grumble at how 'useless' this thread is. ;-)

Thank you for your input! Some very wise words.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 07:39:21 am by n45048 »
 

Offline atferrari

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2014, 11:50:21 am »
Control of your personal finances should be part of your basic ability to interact with your (social) environment.

Going to uni just to learn the golden principle "spend always less than what you earn" is close to ridiculous. Much more software. I recall the first time I saw something like that (for the Timex Sinclair)  :-DD

Probably the above make sense for cultures where being a consumer with a (good  ???) profile as a credit payer is necessary. Not in that line myself. No thanks.

From someone who, the last time he got something to be paid in three or four times, was more than 35 or 40 years ago, is not rich, has not signed a cheque in his life, uses just a debit card ( what you read) and traveled around the world for more than 40++.

Around me I have vivid examples of people that more than software they would need a good pair of scissors for the so many credit cards the carry.
Agustín Tomás
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2014, 06:25:44 pm »
You mean money.bas that came with MS-DOS isn't good enough anymore?  :-DD

In case you misplaced your copy:

ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/services/technet/windows/msdos/RESKIT/SUPPDISK/MONEY.BAS
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Offline alank2

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Re: Need to budget? (Money stuff)
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2014, 06:14:09 pm »
Hi,

You mean money.bas that came with MS-DOS isn't good enough anymore?  :-DD

Not far off.  It is a dos application I wrote in Borland Turbo Pascal.  I'll bet I wrote it in 1989 or so!  It was pretty fancy back then, I even had it printing my checks with a bitmap signature.  But its day is past that is for sure.

I'm glad you found YNAB useful! Feel free to PM me if you need some assistance but the website also has a good forum with plenty of people willing to lend a hand.

I appreciate the offer of help, I think I have a pretty good plan for how I'm going to do everything in it.  Honestly it is just fantastic and just exactly what I was looking for, simple but effective, thanks again for posting about it.

Thanks,

Alan
 


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