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Last post Author Topic: Looking for finance app  (Read 27503 times)

moerl

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Looking for finance app
« on: September 30, 2005, 09:17:25 PM »
I'm looking for a simple to use but powerful finance app. I need to keep track of my expenses. What I'd like to be able to do and what doesn't seem to be possible with AceMoney, which I otherwise like, but refuse to use due to lack of this one feature... is to select multiple transaction items from a long list of transactions, and then label them with a "category". AceMoney has categories and that's great, but I find it appalling that I don't seem able to search by a keyword, display a list of found items in a new window, then select the desired items and put them all in one category in one step! The search feature does exist in AceMoney.. all that's missing is the last part of categorizing all in one step, but that's crucial. I'm not going to label every single item by hand even though I have the list right in front of me.. it seems like such a logical feature to be in the application, but it's not, AFAIK. If it is and I'm too dumb to find it, someone please show me how :)

Otherwise, suggestions for alternatives are highly welcome. Remember, I'd like to keep track of my expenses to better understand where my money goes.. but that doesn't mean I need a huge, bloated app with investment features and tax help and whatnot.. I like pie-charts and all that because it's a great way to see at one glance what the finances look like. Basically, I like a simple but powerful app that's aimed at the personal home user with no interest in running a business or being an investor or whatever. I'm just a student who'd like to know what's up with the cash-flow.

Thanks :)

zridling

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005, 10:54:22 PM »
I figure Microsoft Money and Quicken would have just about every base covered in this respect, even if Quicken is poorly coded and has some weaknesses. But Moneydance looks somewhat similar to AceMoney.

mouser

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005, 11:02:53 PM »
although they may be a bit bloated, id give quicken and ms money a good hard look;
these are serious programs with lots of room for you to grow into using the full features over time.

moerl

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2005, 10:39:14 PM »
I went with MS Money 2006. I tried MoneyDance and it's quite nice, but it pales in comparison to an established monster tool like Money. Money's interface is very smooth, perhaps not something mouser would appreciate, but it looks very nice and is very effective and easy to use. One thing I can't get to work yet is to have Money connect directly to my bank's account to automatically download the latest info for my account. It seems I need to set up something separate for that to work. I emailed Bank of America support about it and await an answer from them sometime soon. I won't get one until sometime next week I assume, since it's the weekend.

Thanks guys

BTW, Money doesn't have that feature I was talking about earlier either, but it's too good to drop just for not having it. At least I haven't figured out how to do that, so I went through and manually assigned categories to everything today using Money.

momonan

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2005, 06:13:08 AM »
I'm sorry I didn't get to this in time to help the originator of this thread  :( .. but maybe in time to head others away from MS Money, which suffers from the ailments of all microsoft products in that it decides what you (the ignorant user) must want, rather than allowing you to mold it to your shape.

Quicken will make you rich (I promise), and I can guarantee that it is more user friendly and infinitely more configurable than MSMoney.  From the beginning (when it cost $11 in the face of over $100 for competing products), Quicken has been a great value (right now it is priced at $49.95, which may be too much for some, but a bargain for peace of mind).  I not only track EVERYTHING, but can tell at a glance how much I paid for oil last year, how much I spend on frivolous items (alas), how much a particular project cost me, whether or not I already contributed to Nature Conservancy this year, projection into the future to see if I'll ever have enough to retire, and, of course, it helps with income tax preparation.

It took a little doing, but I see that Quicken also allows what Shangnyun wanted:  ability to add (or change) categories for multiple items.  For you users, here's how:

Open a account where you have the transactions you want to change.  At the top of the page, click "find."  This allows you to search by such things as payee, amount, date, check number, category.  Unfortunately, it won't let you search for a blank field.

It won't let you search for a blank field.  If you already have categories entered that you want to change, click on category and enter the name.  If you haven't entered any categories yet, there are several ways to trick it.  If everything was entered in 2005, for example, just click on date, enter the number 5, and it will look up every date with a 5 in it.  Or, if you have issued checks that all start with a 1, click on check number and enter the number 1.  You see where I'm going.

Then ask it to "find all" and you will see them all listed, with the "category" row either blank or containing the category you entered.

At the bottom click on "edit transaction"

Chose "category" to edit.

Just put in the category you want for all the listed transactions.  It will let you change to an existing category or create one on the spot.  Voila, you have your desired category (or changed category, or any other wholesale changes you want to make) in all the transactions.

This is just one of the many examples I could mention.  Having kneaded this product for many years, I would be happy to answer any other questions about using it.  quicken.com also has a user forum, of course.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2005, 06:55:47 AM »
Hmmm .. I used to use MS Money but it didn't link to my bank so it was a real pain having to input financial details manually all the time and I gave up with it.

Quicken looked interesting - but now they have discontinued all products in the UK (www.quicken.co.uk)!! Great!

momonan

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2005, 07:21:03 AM »
I smell the manipulation of MS here -- like their attempt to muscle WordPerfect out of the market by the pretense (accepted by inexperienced Word users) that a document sent in WordPerfect format can't be translated into Word.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

moerl

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2005, 01:45:07 PM »
Well I only have the MS Money TRIAL installed :). I'll check out Quicken too. I wonder which version would be appropriate for my needs.. thanks for the new posts! Much appreciated :)

moerl

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2005, 06:51:27 PM »
Money 2006 is gone, Quicken 2006 is here! Quicken blew my mind... it's nothing like Money. Far more customizable, extremely user-friendly, tons of tools, very nice interface, powerful... it's rather amazing. I'm thinking about buying it already.. and I've only played with it today. I just need the Deluxe version. Even that one, the most basic Quicken, comes with more features than I'll ever use.

Does anyone know if they offer student discounts?

Thanks!

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2005, 09:03:43 AM »
I'd like to know the answer to that question too, Shangnyun - did you find out?

mouser

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2005, 09:11:53 AM »
sometimes companies are much more willing to offer a discount to a website as opposed to a single user.

feel free to mention to companies that they might want to offer a discount to members of our site; i'd be happy to help coordinate such things and respond officially to inquiries from companies - you're free to give them my email and tell them about our site.

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2005, 09:25:18 AM »
That's great!  I have just spent twenty minutes trying to work out how to contact Quicken - their website is extremely frustrating!  Loads and loads of words, but not the ones I want to read, and no clear way to ask questions that aren't already answered there...

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2005, 09:30:58 AM »
Seems to be becoming the norm nowadays ... lots of site have forums to provide support (which is a good way to do it) but I spent ages yesterday evening trying to register with a support forum, and there was no way to contact the website to say their registration system didn't work!!!

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2005, 09:40:36 AM »
Just decided to try setting up an account on their website, and they only allow US and Canada  :(

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2005, 09:52:42 AM »
Tee hee - (not really) ... look up the thread a bit and you'll see where I said that a while back

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2005, 09:58:54 AM »
I saw your earlier entry, but expected that would just be for buying in shops.  Dang.

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2005, 10:41:12 AM »
Okay, so failing Quicken... Is M$ Money the next best thing for us in Blightey?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2005, 10:46:49 AM »
Unfortunately.

I used it for a while - but it doesn't link to a lot of financial institutions easily. I gave up in the end because it seemd to defeat the object for me!

I bank with HSBC and the only way you could entre bank transactions was to separately go to the bank website, download your transactions and merge them into Money - this almost always led to some editing because there would be overlaps in data.

Barclaycard and other credit cards seem even worse as they don't even have a download format that works well (CSV was the best I could find, but it didn't import well).

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2005, 10:55:27 AM »
What about Moneydance and Acemoney, both mentioned above?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2005, 11:00:28 AM »
I haven't tried them. I'd guess the problem Money has with UK institutions is down to the institutions themselves rather than the software. MS has got this stuff working in the US, and I'd guess that could be a reason Quicken gave up.

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2005, 11:03:30 AM »
Hmmm.  I have an OEM copy of Works Suite, which has Money 2004.  I read that 2006 is a big improvement on that - or, rather, that 2005 was a big improvement, and 2006 is a tiny improvement on that!  I have downloaded a trial of Moneydance and will try it tonight.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2005, 11:26:24 AM »
Let us know how you get on - if it supports UK bank systems I would be really interested.

To be fair the last version of Money I tried was 2003, but I couln'd be bothered using it any more and didn't see the point of buying new versions (esp. as there aren't discounts for upgrades).

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2005, 12:03:43 PM »
I've just installed it, and it's got a nice-looking Java-based interface, but it only has US financial institutions, although there is a manual setup option.  I think we'll find, as you suggest, Carol, that the difficulty is to do with UK institutions rather than with specific packages.  When I tried Money 2004 a few nights back, I was really quite impressed by it, and it did manage to connect to two of my institutions...  Maybe I should just bite the proverbial and pay £30 for it...  Except... you seem only to be able to get 2005 in the UK at the moment.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2005, 12:12:13 PM »
Why not get Money 2005 instead of 2004? Or is it a question of cost?

See http://www.amazon.co...idos/ASIN/B0002WV7TO

m_s

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Re: Looking for finance app
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2005, 12:20:45 PM »
It's always a question of cost - which is why I need it!  ;)

I found the item cheaper at Misco, but the free postage from Amazon makes it the best deal!  I'll play some more with 2004 and maybe take the plunge tomorrow...