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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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awake, but barely
another frog
I feel so unmotivated. Breathing regularly seems like too much effort to expend. I was vaguely surfing home accounting programs (so as to begin the Jenn Goes to Space Camp and Kidnaps Svmadelyn So As To Have Company Fund) and lost interest five seconds into the trial of Microsoft Money.

Too lazy to type in memorized account numbers. I totally win.

Speaking of--I know some of you use programs for budgeting and what-not. I was looking at Quicken and Microsoft--any recommendations? *hopeful* Currently I'm keeping everything on an inefficient and bewildering variety of spreadsheets, but I would like to state that is not helping me budget. Losing my credit cards? That helped me budget until I accidentally found them again.

Also, Happy New Year! And thank you to Anonymous and ivorygates for the lj-gift thingies! THEY ARE SO CUTE!

In summation: gar. New job starts tomorrow. Should consider doing laundry. And finding my bra.

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I use Quicken. It's pretty easy to use, and has a number of handy features.

It has a scheduled payment feature: you can use it to either remind yourself to send off a payment, or to remind yourself to make an entry for an auto-payment. (It can also make auto-payment entries for you completely automatically.)

It also has a memorized transactions feature, that remembers everything about the last payment you made to anybody. You make a payment to Acme Rocket Company, and the next time you pay them for something, you only have to type in A, or maybe Ac to have it prompt you for everything you typed in last time. But you have control over the list, so if you make a payment to Aces Crappy Rocket Company, don't ever want to do business with them again and get tired of having to type Acm to get the Acme data, you can delete the Aces memorized transaction. (And doing that won't have any effect on the real transaction in the check / credit card register.)

But, I've never used Microsoft's product. For all I know, it's better.

I second quicken, it's worth it to see if your bank has a quicken module, it's something like 10 bucks for citibank but it syncs everything nicely.

I adore Quicken. That thing it does where you tell it to remind you of your monthly bills and paychecks, and then you can look at the calendar and see how much cash you will have left at the end of the month/next month/whenever? GOLDEN.

(M$ Money may or may not do that, I haven't tried it myself.)


I really like Yodlee. It's free (http://www.yodlee.com) and it updates automatically for you. Spreadsheets, charts, spending tracking information- it's all there. This is the system that Bank of maerica uses for that program they have, wher eyou can uplad info for all your accounts, not just the BoA ones and keep track of everything.

Anyway, I really like it. There is a simpler version of that program called Mint (http://www.mint.com) that is a prettier page but I don't think it's quite as impressive re: what you can do with it.

I tried Microsoft Money but after all the time it took to add the account numbers, I never wanted to see it again. The above two programs have you enter logon info so all you need is that, as opposed to all your account numbers, etc.

I speak as an accountant when I say: I LOATHE and DESPISE Quicken. It sucks on so many levels. SO MANY. (Quickbooks is not far behind)

In general, standardized accounting software is not great, but for personal finances I prefer MS Money, I like the charts and the tracking features, and it's fairly idiot proof so I don't have to *think* about it, which is always nice.

Not to mention the budgeting section is easy-peasy and actually functional. It's the closest I've found to the spreadsheets I developed for corp. use a few years back. And it's intuitive, so it requires maintenance, not data entry.

A major reason why my PDA rules my life is that I bought a Pocket Money program when I got it just as a "potentially useful add-on" and it wound up totally replacing my previous budgeting system. Gives me at-a-glance totals for how much I currently have in or on all my accounts, and it rides around with me so I'm not standing at the gas pump trying to guess which card I should be putting this tank on. (My previous budgeting system involved saving receipts or writing down each transaction so I could input them into my file later on at home, so I already had the habit of recording each transaction when I made it.)

Oh, and in terms of making sure my paycheck covers all my bills, I have a text file on the PDA that starts out with lists of the bills I cover on the mid-month and end-of-month paychecks (and the amounts I tend to drop on each) and then winds up with the list of things I want to spend money on at some point. Each paycheck I strikethrough the text indicating each bill as I've paid it for that month, and on the list of things-to-buy I bold the ones I'm thinking of making in the next paycheck or so. It's not fancy, but it serves my purpose without much fiddling, and I can jump back and forth between the budget textfile and the Pocket Money program as I'm dealing with the newly-deposited paycheck.

do you trust web apps?
coz http://www.mint.com/ is being recced everywhere i look for web2.0 stuff :)

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