I hope it's not bad netiquette to cross-post between your blog and the boards. I'd like to keep some posts that I spent quite a bit of time on here on the blog where they're easily accessible to me. The forum and the blog potentially reaches different audiences as well.
Edited excerpts from my thread, "Looking for envelope budgeting software":
Here's a summary of the links for anyone else who is interested:
My Spending Plan:
Crown Money Map:
Home Budget 4.0 from Tucows shareware:
Someone mentioned these to me -- I'm not sure if they are envelope-style or not.
My Budget Planner
I've been looking for envelope budgeting software. I've found two website-based systems so far -- mvelopes.com and mysendingplan.com, but I'm wondering if there are any others worth checking out.
My main issue with these packages is that I want to download transactions from my bank and credit cards instead of typing them in manually.
MySpendingPlan is all manual entry of transactions. The main advantage is that it's free (paid for by advertising).
I signed up for the 30-day free trial with Mvelopes. At the time of my post they were having issues with Bank of America, but I loved the look and feel of the software. They have since fixed the problems, and I think I will keep it. At $10/month for a year's subscription it is quite pricey compared to other software.
Both of these companies keep all your transaction info on their servers. This does allow Mvelopes to offer a cool feature where you can check your envelope balances via your cell phone. Personally, I'd really prefer to have software that keeps it all local on my PC rather than on somebody else's server.
I found a 3rd package I'd heard of -- Crown Money Map at crown.org/cartproducts/product.asp?sku=MM966
The interesting thing I've heard is that they offer a web-based version that is really a Mvelopes back-end with a Crown user interface.
Overall the software will basically do what I want, but I was unhappy with the user interface for importing transactions. I'm a quick typist, and prefer to keep my hands on the keyboard instead of doing a lot of clicking with the mouse. The problem I had was that after importing a month's worth of transactions, I couldn't just arrow up and down and enter the envelopes -- with a lot of tabbing I could get to the catagory and envelope fields, but I had to keep going back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard to advance to the next transaction. It also has no mechanism for importing from a comma-separated-value file, so like Mvelopes I'd be stuck either entering all my transactions manually or waiting until the end of the credit card cycle for my BofA account (which defeats the point of envelope budgeting IMO.)
I liked the look and feel of Mvelopes better, as the main view is envelope centric instead of account-centric, and with Mvelopes I had more control over the catagories (Money Map has 10 built-in catagories that cannot be renamed or deleted, and these are displayed first.)
However, I will say that Crown Money Map is only half the price of a one-year subscription to Mvelopes, and once you've bought it it's yours, so that would be a point in its favor.
I plan to check out the trial versions of Home Budget and Budget (which is available for both Mac and Windows) after we get back from our Christmas vacation. I have high hopes for Home Budget, as it looks keyboard-friendly and has QIF imports (I have a CSV to QIF converter.)
Anyone else care to tell what they like or don't like about the various programs?
I quickly checked out the free trial of Home Budget. The overall look and feel was pretty good, but I was unhappy with the transaction download -- some of the field tabs weren't set up so I had to use the mouse to save and move to the next transaction.
Mvelopes has fixed the Bank of America problem so I've decided to stick with them despite the high price.
Just added a new one I heard about, youneedabudget.com. I contacted the company to find out if you can import transactions, and they said the feature was in beta and should be released in a month or two.
And another one from Tucows shareware: