software for tracking spending
October 11, 2013 5:53 AM   Subscribe

I have approximately 75 line items in a budget that I need to track spending of. My excel sheet is growing too big for its britches.

Formerly, I would keep an excel sheet with each line, and then add individual expenses to this line, and it would calculate the remainder. the down side was that this didn't record details about each transaction. I could make a monster of an excel workbook that would have a sheet for each line, record all the details i wish about each transaction, and then link the sum and remainder back to the summary sheet. it seems like there must be a better way.

i'm familiar with mint, but these aren't real accounts I would link to at a bank. I'm familiar with quickbooks, but it seems like overkill since our accountants do the real work and this record is just for my own workflow, no invoicing, no income, no check cutting, no P&L reports. an access DB seems plausible, but I'm rusty on the creation and I'm not sure there isn't a package already out there that can do what i need.

is there some software that would let me say I have $1250 for #1 widgets, and $2500 for #2 widgets, let me enter transaction info about every time i purchase widgets, and show me a summary of how much is left in each line item, and overall?
posted by slagerst to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Check out You Need a Budget. May be overkill (or too individually-focused) for what you need, but it's flexible enough to do what you think, I think-- you can set up the categories with whichever names you want, link them to accounts (if you want), and even add a memo for each individual entry.
posted by rdn at 6:19 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

And similar to YNAB is EEBA. I use the free version to track about 4 pools of money, but to have 70 "envelopes" you'd have to pay $72/year.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:48 AM on October 11, 2013

You could set up a pivot table to focus on just the line items in the spreadsheet. Alternatively, this is a good spot to set up a quick and dirty database with something like HandDBase or InserziaThings.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:11 AM on October 11, 2013

Put all the transactions in one sheet, with a field in one column indicating which line item they apply to, and then, on the summary sheet, extract the relevant data using =sumif(...).
posted by stebulus at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2013

Gnucash will do this. It is double-entry accounting, there's a bit of a learning curve when setting it up, but memail me and I'd happily walk you through it if you needed assistance.

Free, multi-platform, account structures/details can be as complicated or simple as you'd like.
posted by HermitDog at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know plenty of people who do their own accounting using spreadsheets. It's definitely doable that way as long as you double-check your work, as stebulus outlines. The problem, of course, is that it only takes one slip of the mouse to screw up your sums.

QuickBooks is business accounting, but this is more like departmental accounting, if I understand you. If you don't need the auditing and double-entry features of QuickBooks, then regular Quicken may be enough for you -- or one of its many competitors and clones. The business accounting software Peachtree is still around, renamed to Sage 50, and I know people who swore by that back in the day. I can also see a solution that has the potential to interface with your larger company's software/data needs to be a plus.
posted by dhartung at 4:09 PM on October 11, 2013

Neobudget, but you'd have to pay for an account to get more than 10 "envelopes."
posted by Joleta at 8:18 PM on October 11, 2013

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