The first draft of this post was titled, “All Budgeting Software Sucks.” That’s not true, of course. The reality is that budgeting sucks—or, more accurately, budgeting can be frustrating because it requires constant attention, thought and discipline. The equation becomes even more complicated when you move from one set of finances to managing them for multiple people or a household.
In the last few weeks I’ve experienced frustrating direct connect issues with iBank 5, the personal finance software I’ve used to manage the financial side of the Dodds Household. Duplicate transactions and entries repeatedly posted to wrong accounts put me on the hunt for a new solution, which was depressing because I’ve tried several of the heavy hitters. Here’s a quick rundown:
Native Mac apps:
Here are my criteria for an ideal budgeting solution, in order of importance:
A tool I don’t hate using – I’m the primary keeper of finances for the Dodds family. If I hate using whatever tool we choose, I’m going to be less likely to keep good track of our budget.
Budget-focused, not expense tracking – I’m interested in telling our money where to go, not simply keeping track of where it’s gone. We have goals, and that requires pro-active management.
Ability for my wife to access the budget – This is huge. We budget together, and in the past when I’ve managed our finances on my own, we’ve struggled because even though I’d talk about our finances, she didn’t consistently see the actual numbers.
Ability to see the budget on mobile devices – Getting into the habit of checking the budget before we spend money is where we want to be. Being able to do that at the point of purchase is incredibly helpful.
Native desktop solution – I like the option of working on finances without an internet connection. I have access to internet on ‘normal’ days, but when traveling, etc. I often find myself without online access at certain points, and I hate having a huge mountain of catching up to do after those periods—keeping a budget daily is the key for me personally.
Direct download access – Entering individual transactions or having to download bank statements seems like unnecessary work to me.
And with that, let the search begin.