Best free budgeting software or tool? Australia edition
September 23, 2013 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Good morbling. I am deciding to try a fun experiment by setting myself up with an easy-to-use but relatively feature-rich budgeting program thing, for what I can do my budgets on. It can be an app or a website or a spreadsheet. Two people will be using it. We are Australian people. Any tips?
posted by turbid dahlia to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Second the recommendation for You Need a Budget. After years of struggling to keep track of our finances with Excel and or Quicken, YNAB has rather dramatically got us keeping track of our budget for real.

The thing about YNAB is it's very prescriptive. It tells you what to do. It forces you to do the detailed budgeting that's just an option in Quicken.

It's not free, but I got it at a pretty deep discount on Steam of all places.
posted by straight at 5:57 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 3rding You Need a Budget (YNAB). It is $60 (US) once you pass the 34 day trial. However, the license allows you to have multiple users, so you will not need to buy a 2nd license for the 2nd person.

If you don't end up purchasing the software, you can still learn the YNAB approach to budgeting for free - there are several tutorials on the site, along with many other educational materials. The YNAB budgeting philosophy is invaluable.
posted by baniak at 6:03 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I used the Toshl Finance app for a while, which is free. (I am also an Australian person). I found it very easy to use and useful, I'm just hopeless at continuing to use any sort of budgeting system. I'm not too sure how feature-rich it is, as I was mostly just expense-tracking with it - it looks like you can create multiple budgets within various expense categories.
posted by fever-trees at 7:20 PM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: I saw your question, thought, "Man, YNAB is totally the best answer, but they'll probably overlook it because of the 'free' requirement." So I'll nth it. It's free for a long enough trial period to budget and reconcile a whole month.

I actually look forward to importing my transactions every morning, and I REALLY look forward to setting a budget at the beginning of every month.

It's the only thing that has ever kept the system of shared finances and independent fun money straight between me and my wife. It's worth it.
posted by supercres at 7:22 PM on September 23, 2013

Response by poster: I was aware of YNAB and it's what got me thinking about budgeting, when it was on sale on Steam a few months back. At this stage $60 is not something I'm willing to pay, but the month's trial does sound very attractive, so thanks for the recommendations and I'll definitely be giving it a go.

Anybody had any experience with It and YNAB are the two things I hear most about.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:29 PM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: I loathe It doesn't sync properly, at least for me. I've tried mint in the US and had a frustrating time, with my OZ accounts its even worse. It's also very retroactive (rather than futuristic like YNAB). I also feel weird about linking my accounts to mint, and I hate having to log in. YNAB is easy. I was wary, but both husband and I are using it, so it may win. I like that it syncs, so we both know what's being spent without paying 20 questions. We're crabbing less, and tracking's a freaking miracle.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:04 AM on September 24, 2013

Best answer: I've used both mint and YNAB. Mint is fine for seeing where your money is going now (witha few exceptions: ie, it makes a lot of errors with categories), but it's not a great tool for setting and sticking to a budget. Like, mint was what made me realize that I was spending wayyy too much on restaurants, but then I didn't really have a good way to change that behavior beyond a vague idea that I should eat out less. It does have a budget feature, but I found it pretty unhelpful, mainly because it only notifies you when you're just about to reach your limit in that category, at which point the damage is kinda done.

I have to say, I really like YNAB and I definitely think its the best. You can use their approach without the software - the software is pretty simple and really just makes it easier. And it might be good to try out mint at first just to give you a good budget starting point.
posted by lunasol at 12:06 AM on September 24, 2013

Response by poster: Ok thanks very much everybody, I'm sold on YNAB and will five it a whirl!
posted by turbid dahlia at 12:44 AM on September 24, 2013

I really disliked YNAB, but I love Pocketbook — sort of like an Australian Mint, with a better budget option.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:04 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Money Smart budget planner. Free. Online or Excel versions.
posted by inkypinky at 6:37 AM on September 24, 2013

And the Track My Spend app is free and good as any.
posted by inkypinky at 6:40 AM on September 24, 2013

Have you checked your bank's website? All the big banks here in the US have a budgeting app that connects with your account info. I'm with Wells Fargo and the budgeting app is surprisingly useable.
posted by COD at 12:47 PM on September 24, 2013

I just had to come back and say that thanks to third world on a random page's comment above, I downloaded the Pocketbook app and I love it - integration with Australian online banking is fantastic and it's really easy to use.
posted by fever-trees at 10:26 PM on October 14, 2013

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