From Wookie's thread I got to wondering what tools people use to manage their finances. GnuCash and Mint.com were mentioned but I have not used either. I've been using Quicken for years and am happy enough.
My issue with Mint is the inability to plan. I need to be able to record outstanding checks and upcoming withdrawals and know what my balance will be in the future. Or am I just missing the ability to do that? And I do want to be able to budget for cashflow issues, as in, the CSA is due every three months or insurance is due every six months. Mint just makes it look like I completely overspent "groceries" in the CSA months. We also had some issues with tracking our individual spending. And some of the categories it has as defaults are odd--"shopping?" (Of course, I know that can be changed.) Oh, and transferring things between accounts always confused me. That said, it is the simplest option out there.
It updates automatically, which as McG says, would cost at least $10/month otherwise. In GnuCash, I am exporting and importing from my bank's website which is a pain. On a related note, I like to know my current debt. In Quicken or GnuCash, if you want to keep tabs on your mortgage liability, you have to update it regularly or enter your mortgage payments in a split fashion. The same was true with our 401(k) accounts. Because Mint access your real-time balances, your net worth is always accurate.
I was finding both Quicken and Money to be simultaneously too complicated and too simple. I couldn't do the type of planning I really wanted to do, but I was going through more steps than I wanted to. And the constant updates are a pain and expensive.
GnuCash is fine. It is double-entry accounting, which appeals to my occasionally-accountant minded brain. But I got spoiled in a few months with Mint. The reporting in GnuCash is not as simplistic as Mint. But I'm able to budget and plan like I want to. I'm only a month into GnuCash, though, so my opinion might grow (or might now).
I think in the end, I'm probably likely to move to a combination of Mint and Excel. Using Excel for planning and Mint for tracking spending.
Ok, and I just checked my mint.com account and saw that some of the features I wanted have been added. This might be the end of GnuCash for us.
I do know Mint just got a bunch of seed money. For those nervous about privacy, it wasn't necessary good news--they are planning to use a lot to harvest data. On the other hand, if you are too nervous about privacy, you probably don't below on Mint.
Uh, I use nothing. I pay bills once each month and I'm able to keep a running tally in my head of what our balance is. I check our account online each week or so. I can proudly say that I have NEVER used a spreadsheet! Srsly.
I have an attorney that I probably pay too much to keep track of money and property that I can't get my hands on. By the time I get that money, there probably won't be enough left to worry about managing.
I'd dig an open source or free option, but since I've been using quicken, and quickbooks, for over 10 years it is hard to move. Meshing w/ online banking is awesome, everyday all my transactions are updated across banks -- well, until they all merged into Chase over the years. Setting up memorized transactions is pretty nice, and I set up the mortgage account to enter the split payments automatically. I'm sure this can be done w/ the others, but I'm probably just too damn cozy to move. I'll check them out though.