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Is there a budgeting app that respects user’s privacy? (Doesn’t store data, track transactions, etc)

For example, Mint is a popular budgeting tool, but they explicitly state that they share your information 0.

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      +1. Everyone else seems to love GnuCash.

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        I recently switched from GnuCash, which did work but felt unpolished and unreliable in edge cases, to Beancount, and why did I not do that sooner. I feel at home in my editor with autocomplete, regex search, bean-check for linting, bean-format for formatting and git for tracking (!!). Refactoring is as easy as with code, while it was the most manual and painful thing in GnuCash. Python plugins are a breeze and I already made a few while I never surpassed the inertia of automating GnuCash. The web UI makes reports more intuitive than anything in GnuCash, and there’s an SQL language for custom stuff. And finally, I can assert more things I care about and leave flexible more things I don’t. Try Beancount (or any other ledger port I suppose, but yay Python plugins).

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        why not use sqlite or something?

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          Because plain text is much simpler than SQL. You can just open up the file in $EDITOR and start editing, instead of having to run SQL over it to modify.

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            But then if you want to do even the simplest things like sum by month you need to write a text parser first. I get that awk and stuff lets you do things with “tricks” but sqlite would let you do it without worrying about whitespace.

            I can understand text-based input, but if you’re trying to track the flow of money by sources in a “real” way it seems pretty logical to use relations

            EDIT: this isn’t necessarly pro-SQL, but it is pro-“structured data instead of worrying about escape characters in the format you defined”

            Plain text is nice when you have an underspecified format but if you want to actually operate on it, it’s kinda gnarly

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              EDIT: this isn’t necessarly pro-SQL, but it is pro-“structured data instead of worrying about escape characters in the format you defined”

              Actually the data is very tightly structured. Here’s what Beancount allows. Any deviations are reported as errors.

              But then if you want to do even the simplest things like sum by month you need to write a text parser first.

              Generally the tool you’re using takes care of it. I’m using Beancount+Fava and it shows me pretty much every single metric that’s interesting out of the box. For everything else, it allows me to query the “database” using a SQL-like interface.

              If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post on exactly this topic last week which could be relevant.

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        As a result of this post I got hledger. Downloaded a CSV file from my bank, imported it into hledger, and I was good to go. The wiki is also super detailed and user friendly, and everything is actively maintained (active commits in repository, updated wiki pages, etc). Looks like a good choice to me; I’ll be using this in the future.

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          I did too! No import, just starting with all my balances and working things out as I go. So far so good.

          (I’ve used YNAB in the past, but I’m not a fan of needing to use either closed-source software (back when it was an app you ran locally) or storing all my financial data in the cloud.)

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          As far as I know You Need a Budget (often referred to as YNAB) doesn’t track you. It’s a paid app, but it’s very worth it in my opinion. It really helped me save money.

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            I use YNAB4 (via WINE), which was the last desktop version available for sale. It pings their server for updates it will attempt to install, but it doesn’t send budget data; synchronization with the mobile app (which I never used but think is still available) is done via Dropbox. The current version is a saas so they’ll have all your data and they offer account syncing (Plaid or a similar service) if you want to cut down data entry.

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            GnuCash will probably be your best bet. It takes a while for most people I know to get the hang of it, since it is quite bad in that area. But it can do pretty much everything you can wish for in a budgeting app (or accounting program for not too large businesses for that matter).

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              I use ledger, but I’m not quite happy with it.

              Data entry is labor intensive, there’s no good mobile story, and my bank’s export data is a pile of slinkys and not easily scriptable. Once my ledger files look like reality, though, asking questions is something like Pareto optimal. 80% of my queries are builtin commands with few flags, the rest are a bit tougher. I’d estimate a handful are impossible/broken for various implementation or modeling reasons.

              Edit: I started porting over to beancount on my lunch break. Fava is a killer app for beancount.

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                “pile of slinkys” !!

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                  Seriously. Simple’s json format radically changed when they changed backing banks and there’s at least 3 different kinds of credit/debits with different ways of specifying when things posted. I was completely unable to fix it with jq.

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                  This is my experience as well. I even spent a couple days automating the process of data entry as best I could. I think it ended up in a good place, which I achieved by enforcing idempotence and by making it easy to define regexes to match transactions from the source to turn them into the proper Ledger accounts. But, I haven’t been keeping up with the data entry. I have several sources I need to add, and it’s just too labor intensive to manually go through every source’s abysmal web UI, point and click to get a csv or a PDF or whatever.

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                    It’s amazing that it’s $YEAR and there’s no way to get an oauth token and read-only my transaction activity.

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                  I’ve been using EveryDollar at the end of each month as a form of cash flow analysis. I don’t (yet) set a purpose for each dollar earned, I’m more tracking where some of it goes. It’s created/sponsored by Dave Ramsey who has a pretty decent following on YouTube as a debt consultant. He’s a little too much of a Holy roller for me, plus I’m lucky enough not to have any debt but his show is interesting to watch sometimes.

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                    Tried many. Spendee is the most (with sync) for free. Don’t trust privacy though.

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                      I’m keeping an eye on Actual Budget, but it’s not yet released.

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                        Until recently I have used Goodbudget. It’s really good and a paid service. I don’t know about their privacy rules though.

                        What i have started doing recently is connecting to my bank’s open PSD2 API and send myself messages every day containing info about my economy to nudge my spending in the right direction.

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                          Some banks in the UK offer this as a service. Of course this only works if you use one or two of them as centralised places for your money to go out from. Nationwide, Monzo and Starling all spring to mind. Of course they store and track - but they also perform all your transactions!

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                            I like Homebank. Gets the job done. Seems a bit more modern than GnuCash

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                              I tried to budget using a variety of tools but then ended up asking myself why do it at all? I personally wanted to keep me spending under control and put money aside for emergencies and payments I make once a year. I can’t tell you how much I spent on groceries in December 2017 but I really don’t care ;-)

                              I know this isn’t an answer to your question but in case it might work for you please let me know and I’ll share the details of my system.

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                                How do you control your spending?

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                                  What do you mean? Specifically knowing how much more you can spend in a given week to have spent less than X? Or dedicating Y amount per month to Z? The latter is simple: transfer money to savings the day you get paid, or toward whatever thing you are budgeting for. If that’s not possible, you’ll need to start cutting costs before budgeting will do anything for you anyway.

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                                    I withdraw money in cash and put them in envelopes. I have one envelope for each category of spending + a debit card for groceries (a sort of virtual envelope) + a separate account for paying rent, kindergarten, etc.

                                    If there’s $100 in an envelope than I obviously can’t spend more. I need to consciously take money from another envelope.

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                                      That sounds like the system GoodBudget is trying to emulate. 👍