It’s after the first of the month, so I got all my “books” (i.e., personal accounting) done this week.
I downloaded a java-based, stand-alone app back in 2006 to help me keep an electronic check register, because I was tired of writing down all the transactions that were going through on my debit card (even then, I barely used checks), particularly since I could log in to my bank accounts every day and review. So, jGnash was and has been a big help there ever since.
The thing is, back then I only wanted and needed a paperless register. I was only inputting data from that one account, and it wasn’t a big deal. Over time, I added a whole bunch of different bank accounts and credit cards that I’m tracking, and now I’m feeling that I would like a more holistic overview of my personal finances.
I would also like something that is smart enough to know that when I am transferring money around, or making payments what have you, it’s essentially one transaction– I don’t want to key everything in at least twice (as a debit over here, and a credit over there). I spent about an hour and a half making all those entries last night, and I really only needed to “think” through it for 20 minutes or so. I like to have that information at my fingertips if I want or need it, so crawling back into the cave of tracking things on paper will not do at all.
It’s entirely possible that what I’m using already does these things, and I just need to figure out to use them. There are also things out there like Mint, which purport to be dead simple to use, but my security alarm bells go off ANY time I am entrusting a large portion of personal data to somebody else’s server. There’s actually a portable version of GnuCash, too, but that one always felt geared toward somebody with more complex accounting needs than I have on my own.
Do you have any thoughts on this? What are you using to digitally manage your personal finances in the 21st century?