Need a good budgeting solution

I have a Mac Bok Pro and an iPhone and need a new budget solution, other than Excel. It's too passive, and not effective at keeping me on budget.

What options are there?

Anything that works on both the MacBook and the iPhone? Such as configure and populated on the Mac, but interacted with via the iPhone?

Thanks.
newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Few budget tools will be "active" - I have not seen one.

QuickBooks for Windows definitely offers budgeting and forecasting. I use these tools for my business.

QuickBooks comes in MAC version, so I expect the MAC version would offer budgets.

QuickBooks comes in an On Line version for MAC and iPhone but it is not clear that budgets are included. You would need to call Intuit Support before purchasing.

FreshBooks is a an On Line QuickBooks competitor and again it is not clear that budgets are included.

Pure Budget tools tend to be expensive.
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newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAuthor Commented:
Nothing with an iPhone app where you can input money spent on the spot?

Maybe I'll write that app ;)
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I suggest you take a look at FreshBooks. It comes for iPhone (IOS) and is very popular. It would save writing your own if it would do what you need. It tracks expenses so it may help you.
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newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAuthor Commented:
i saw iTunes has several budget apps...I want something for personal use. Is Freshbooks business and personal?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
FreshBooks is for business. Please post a couple of the names for personal budgeting and I will take a look.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
A few point of information:
- I use both Quicken and QuickBooks on Windows.
- Recently I helped a MacBook Pro owner to set up accounts in a Quicken 2015.  I was very disappointed with the dumbed-down Quicken 2015 on the Mac.  So, I wouldn't recommend it very highly.
If it's not for an organization then you don't likely need "budget reports".  At that, most of the tools can provide you with expenditure reports which may be plenty good for your needs.
- Here's what I do for "budgeting".  If you can stand to let it do a bit of double-duty then I think it works great for most people.  Later, I'll point out why this has advantages over plain old budgeting.
1) put all your regular deposits (e.g. paychecks or....) into the check register / checking account as memorized transactions.  Set them to show up automatically, 60 days in advance.
2) same thing for all of your regular bills.  For things like credit cards I just "pick a number" that's representative.  It isn't perfect but it's generally well close enough.
3) Any annual or semi-annual payments can be entered at the same time.

With this, looking at future balances in the account, you have what amounts to a pro forma cash analysis.  If it's ever negative then you know you have an issue to deal with AND you likely have time to do just that.
And, if you have an unexpected outlay, once it's entered in the register, you will have an up-to-date cash position analysis that extends out 60 days to see and to deal with.  I really like this!

Obviously, as time goes on, the memorized transaction entries will need to be brought up to the exact / correct numbers.  This can be done when you reconcile with the bank statement.  If all is done reasonably well then the change in current balance in the register won't vary that much.  

And, of course, you have to be able to keep track of what's actually been  paid and what has not yet been paid or ordered to be paid as with Bill Payer or.....

Why is this better than budgeting?  Well, first let's look at the similarities:
- they both have a "list" of income items.
- they both have a "list" of expense items.
The difference is that a budget is generally for a period of time such as 1 year or perhaps monthly.
A running pro forma gives daily updates of the expected cash balances going out in time.
With a budget, you may not realize that you're going to go to negative cash at some point in time.  You only know that over the analysis period you will be OK (with a well-formed budget).

I can't help you as much with what tools to use but I'd be looking for features that will allow memorized transactions, automatic entry of them 60 or 90 days into the future.  More than that might be a bit heavy if you decide you want to edit one of them.  That will happen from time to time.
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newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAuthor Commented:
Amazing selection, really

iPhone Budget Apps
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Out of that lot, I would take a look at Quicken (made by the QuickBooks company). See if it can do what you want. Then look and see if any are free and try a couple of free ones for look and feel.
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newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAuthor Commented:
thanks
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@newbieweb - You are very welcome and good luck with your personal budgeting.
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