How can I better track my finances and stick to a budget when dealing with many accounts and currencies?
April 25, 2007 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations on budgeting software that is international-friendly (multiple currency support, ease of entry and import of data). Any experiences from other international users?

I have been living on my own for the first time for the last year and a half, while attending university. So far, I have been able to live OK, without spending more than I earn, and without running into debt. I have been using jGnash for a while to track all of my expenses, however, a recent big expense (a short trip) has thrown my finances off balance. It's probably not such a big deal, but the balance on my credit card (which I usually pay fully, right away) is just scary. I am aware I need to do some budgeting to sort things out. I do have my emergency fund, but I don't want to blindly grab money out of it without doing some sort of planning to get back on track, and knowing how much I can afford to spend on entertainment and eating out for the following months. I now have about a year and a half worth of data I've religiously tracked, but do not know what to do with it.

jGnash, while great for tracking income and expenses (specially considering that I have several accounts in multiple currencies), does not seem to be very suitable for working on a budget. I was taking a look at Yodlee Moneycenter, but I can't figure out a way of feeding the massive amount of data I currently have without manually entering each transaction. I'm already used to tracking every single expense I do, including a cup of coffe and mailing a letter, so I don't want to have to enter everything twice, even if I need to switch to a different tool. Since a few of my accounts are in a different currency, and some times I have to do transactions dealing with several currencies, international support would be great. Any recommendations on software that could help me with this? Freeware/inexpensive would be great too.

I did a search on budgeting software, however, I was unable to figure out whether there was support for international currencies. I don't quite care for online banking (my foreign banks don't support it anyway), as long as there is a way to import my data into it in some way (csv is fine).
posted by irian to Work & Money (4 answers total)
GnuCash is free software, full-featured, stable, and has great support for international currencies. (I used it when moving back and forth between the US and Canada.)

Unfortunately GnuCash only runs on Linux/Unix. If you don't have Linux but want to try it out, you can download a bootable Ubuntu Live DVD that includes GnuCash.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:50 PM on April 25, 2007

MoneyCenter is designed to scrape the transaction info from the banks and so on where you have an account. You shouldn't have to enter anything, but the budgeting features are pretty slim and I don't know if it can pull in transactions from the past.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:01 PM on April 25, 2007

I use the Australian edition of Quicken Personal Plus to manage accounts in AUD, CAD, USD and EURO. When I look at a specific account, it shows all the figures in the currency nominated for that account.

When I have a transfer from one account in one currency to another, it allows me to enter the specific exchanger ate used in that transfer - I enter any applicable transaction fees as separate line items.

BUT - all summary views that cross accounts, including the budgeting functionality, show the figures converted into AUD at the latest downloaded exchange rate. This suits me, but may not be what you're looking for?
posted by weegreentoad at 10:36 PM on April 25, 2007

Response by poster: weegreentoad,

That actually would suit me well. It is kind of confusing to have balances in all sorts of currencies (CAD, USD, MXP). As long as I am able to select the default currency for the budgeting, that would work for me.
posted by irian at 9:50 AM on April 26, 2007

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