• vector_spaces 10 days ago

    A while ago I built a simple SMS bot for my partner and I to track finances like this, and it works fairly well. The workflow is whenever we spend money we text it with "spend <amount>" or "sp <amount>", and whenever we receive money we do "add <amount>", and "save <amount>" whenever we move money to savings.

    I added some minimal polish like an undo command, a minimal GUI accessible via a short-lived link it sends us on request where we can add and edit recurring bills, subscriptions, and upcoming one-time or yearly major expenses. It has support for debts/loans (we can do "cc <debt> <amount>" for increasing debt, e.g. by paying with a credit card, and "pay <debt> <amount>" for payments). It sends us nightly and weekly reports letting us know progress towards savings goals and warning us if we're about to run into a tight spot based on what it knows about our spend rate, and upcoming bills and big expenses. It also bugs us if it notices we haven't transferred anything to savings recently.

    The fact that it doesn't sync automatically with our bank accounts is actually a feature, because the ritual of having to text it whenever we spend money forces some mindfulness of our spending habits, and the regular reports (where it chides us if we're not saving much or exceeding our spending goals) add some gamification -- we joke about how we want to make it proud of us. :)

  • swsieber 10 days ago

    Shameless plug - I wrote a SaaS that's pretty much just a SMS <-> google spreadsheet mapper. https://byobudget.com

    That said, yours looks a lot more full-fledged than mine. Mine can only record transactions and then send a response (which it reads calculated from the spreadsheet based on the last transaction, which I'm very proud of for the level of customization it provides), but I've been noodling over how to add custom commands.

    FTR, I shameless stole my idea from an earlier HN comment sometime last year; if you're considering implementing a SMS/spreadsheet system yourself, I'd check it out https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17313321

    Edit: I really am happy with my solution because it basically lets you take any google sheets based transaction you have and add SMS as an input method.

    Edit 2: Sorry if you encounter any rough edges if you go to use BYOB - I haven't marketed it widely, but my wife and I do use it. Any feedback is very much welcome.

    Edit 3: If you don't want the manual import of transactions (but do want the freedom of a spreadsheet) then I'd suggest TillerHQ instead https://tillerhq.com I haven't used em, but I came across them when doing research before launching BYOB.

  • buzzy_hacker 10 days ago

    Nice! I use YNAB and have an AWS environment set up that logs all my credit card transactions instantly. My bank sends me an email with the transaction info, which I receive with Simple Email Service. Then I use Lambda to parse the email and log it in YNAB using their API. Fun and useful project. https://github.com/buzzlawless/ynab-live-import

    I totally get the benefits of ritually entering though. I’m definitely lazier about non-credit card transactions now... motivation to expand my program to other types of accounts and get fully automated!

  • ryanianian 10 days ago

    My partner and I have been happy users of GoodBudget.com for a while for this purpose. (Not affiliated just a happy user.) It's an envelope-budget SaaS product and has many of these features minus the SMS and open-source things

  • DLarsen 10 days ago

    I've setup something very similar at my hobby project spendlight.com. The public site is now largely neglected with too many placeholder images, but I landed at the same conclusion that no sync is a feature... because mindful spending.

  • dhshahsndeisjwn 10 days ago

    This sounds cool... have you shared the code anywhere?

  • bobblywobbles 10 days ago

    Not the author of this post, but I am the author of My Budget. I saw this post and said, "Hey - I know that name!"

    Thanks for sharing again. If you want to get in touch with me, there is also a Slack you can reach me "zachary" at (https://join.slack.com/t/my-budget/shared_invite/enQtNjA0NDg...)

  • pard68 10 days ago

    Didnt see it in the readme or wiki/faq, what budget method does this use?

  • rootkea 9 days ago

    But why Slack though? Can't we have a IRC/matrix channel?

  • jldugger 10 days ago

    I use GNUCash, and despite it's substantial shortcomings, the regular flow of competition never quite hits the mark. Here's a small sample of what features I'm looking for:

    1. Transaction import. OFX at a minimum, but preferably an online pull that can be automated. Many banks do support online pulls -- for example GNUcash calls out to aqbanking, with an incredibly obtuse UI, and is an area for improvement.

    2. multiple accounts and currencies. I need to be able to track investments and assets. That means multiple accounts, denominated in different and possibly custom units. GNUCash allows multiple accounts and multiple currencies, but you cannot put different currencies in your own account. The work around is subaccounts per stock ticker etc., but it seems like improvements could be made here.

    3. Synchronization. In my view, 'offline' is synonymous with 'disposable.' I have many years of history, and it would be unfortunate to lose it in a drive failure. I have this backed by a personal SQL server, but many people use dropbox style sync. Multiuser would be an area of improvement here.

    The one thing I'm not looking for is budgeting. A ledger is basically a budget with dates per item, so why not just go directly to the ledger form? Salary, mortgage payments, rent, insurance, and streaming subscriptions are all predictable expenses, just slap em into the ledger ahead of time. Even the variable stuff like dining is a bit more predictable with a credit card.

    The above should not be a knock to the many other systems, so please don't bother to try selling me on ledger-cli =)

  • 0xffff2 10 days ago

    The reason I continue to use Quicken rather than writing my own tool that I'm sure doesn't sell my data is that it allows me to relatively painlessly sync transactions from my bank. This is largely my bank's fault for not exposing some kind of API I can hook into, but nonetheless any budgeting app that doesn't sync transactions from most financial institutions is not a "solution".

    Just based on the single screenshot in the readme, it seems like the workflow needs work too. The information density in the screenshot looks painfully low to me.

  • powersurge360 10 days ago

    How does this compare to things like beancount or ledger cli? Did you look at those and find them wanting?

    Personally I've used ledger and loved it but found it a bit of a pain to get going due to its manual nature and it also created a bit of a firewall for my SO because she's not inclined to spin up a terminal to look at the finances. I liked beancount for its facilities to do automatic imports but I found its reporting lackluster.

    I liked hledger most of all but to compile it was kind of a pain and it had many of the same complaints as ledger although its reporting and especially budgets were top notch.

  • l8nite 10 days ago

    I'd love to see an open source YNAB clone... maybe this can be evolved in that direction! Well done.

  • vijaybritto 10 days ago

    Im starting a Flutter course today. This app will be one of my first attempts at non-electron desktop apps. Lets see how this goes!

  • zallarak 10 days ago

    good time to plug a great paid option: https://actualbudget.com/

  • tomcam 10 days ago

    Congratulations! Releasing a significant piece of work is always an amazing time. Would love to see some screenshots in the README showing what makes it unusual, or what the typical workflow is like.

  • brundolf 10 days ago

    Kind of ugly, but that's easy to fix. Great project given that services like Mint are just data vacuums.

  • 1023bytes 10 days ago

    Wouldn't it be better just to put it up on Github Pages? It could have all the same functionality as a PWA.

    That way anyone could use it instantly, instead of having to download this massive Electron app.

  • groovybits 10 days ago

    In the screenshot provided in the README, I see there is a 'sync' button next to the 'save' button. If this is essentially self-hosted, what is the application syncing to?

    Edit: Whoops I missed this line under "Features":

    > Limited* support to sync transactions with your bank. See here[1] for more details.

    1: https://github.com/reZach/my-budget/wiki/Creating-a-new-conn...

  • app4soft 9 days ago

    > offline cross-platform

    Electron... "my-budget-3.0.1-beta-x86_64.AppImage" size ~ 161 MB

    I prefer Eqonomize, that is Qt5-based. "Eqonomize-1.3.4.AppImage" size ~ 23 MB

    [0] https://github.com/Eqonomize/Eqonomize/

  • bash-j 10 days ago

    I've been using Mishell Budget Calendar for the past 8 years. Nothing beats the calendar UI in my opinion. Makes sense when you think about most income and expenses are recurring events. The balance at the bottom of each day lets you check the future for days where you might be getting close to running out of funds. It might be a simple move the day you pay your utility bill each month, or try adjusting your grocery budget by a few dollars and it shows straight away how that impacts your future balance.

  • ElijahLynn 10 days ago

    I am looking for a spreadsheet that does similar things but also does forecasting with charts too. I want it to be a spreadsheet though. If anyone knows of an open project for this please hook me up!

  • jpb0104 10 days ago

    A subject near and dear. I work on https://budgetmyway.com. Personally been using it for almost ten years to track my expenses. I haven’t been able to get much traction with other users. I would love to know if any of you personal finance folks find it useful. Onboarding and marketing are hard.

  • mitul_45 9 days ago

    This looks cool, I've also built something similar for my needs. The difference is, it's a web based app – so I/my wife can add expense on-the-go.

    Uses Google Sheets as a database.

    https://github.com/mitul45/expense-manager

  • c- 10 days ago

    161MB MSI for a budgeting app... I know there's a thing as electron bloat but this is kind of all sorts of insane.

  • baroffoos 9 days ago

    I know this is kind of a tired comment but I wonder where desktop GUI toolkits went wrong to end up where "cross platform" has come to be a synonym for electron.

    I know if I was building a desktop program I would pick electron but what can real desktop toolkits change to fix this problem?

  • solarkraft 8 days ago

    Since this is just a web app, how about a mobile version?

    > Offline; there is no back-end service saving your data anywhere.

    Can I set this up for myself?

  • vitoc 10 days ago

    Maybe check this out too?:

    https://prudent.me/

    Not just for budgeting, but in the same space! :)

  • paulgrahamisfat 10 days ago

    Never used this before.