Sunday, January 25, 2009

Moneywell impressions, part 1 - buckets are not categories

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I gave Moneywell a whirl.  Overall, I don't think Moneywell is going to work well for me, but your mileage may vary.

Moneywell supports the envelope theory of budget management. In Moneywell, every time you get some cash in, it turns into an inflow, which you can then allocate to different areas. Traditional envelope theory has you cashing your paycheck and getting paper envelopes; Moneywell uses the idea of buckets.

I guess my big problem with Moneywell's bucket implementation is the difference between buckets and categories.  Take, for example, my insurance bill. I've got life, auto, and home insurance with the same company.  The bill is monthly and fairly regular (maybe adjusting once every six months as a new auto premium is calculated), and there's just one bill that combines all three. From a bucket-budget planning standpoint, I just want to have one bucket -- "insurance" -- that money moves into and comes out from.

But, every once in a while, I want to be able to look back and get more granularity.  If I was shopping around for a different auto insurer, I might want to look back and see how much I had been spending on auto insurance. 

There's the rub with Moneywell -- if you want granularity, you need more buckets -- one per grain, so to speak.  But...the more buckets you've got, the more complicated every payday gets, and most of the time, you don't need that much detail.


Mel said...

Aha, someone with the same concerns I have. I really like the concept of MW buckets and am drawn to it by the clean logic. But does it suit my particular urges for what you term "granularity"? I read on....

Larry Goldberg said...

'Traditional Envelope Theory?" Really?

lex said...

Hi I need some help and would like to leave my experience of MW too. And sorry for the long post!

MW solves a lot of problems for me:
-allows multiple accounts
-allows cash accounts
supports accounts with different currencies
-it's easy to use and the customer service is insanely good.

I'm just having some issues with getting it to function. when I run a report it doesn't tell me how much I overspent or it doesn't seem to add things up for me in a way that quicken does (suck).

I have some screwy issues too
-like a phantom transaction I can't find to alter.
-complicated design
- when you are in a bucket and see a transaction, it would be great if it went directly to the account (like quicken does)

The interface is hard for me b/c it looks very complicated. I like the granularity so I've got 40 buckets. Can't keep my eyes on them all but only wish I could have a sub bucket or something.

MW would be PERFECT if it had online capability. Had a widget on the dashboard.

Had a bottom line function which summed it all up, so to speak.

The founder is super and I have faith he'll figure out a way to solve all these issues!

Right now I am oding on financial software with MW qB quicken 2007 mint.
I have quicken 2007 working though the patch for direct connect has caused it to crash 10 x in the last use. I tried quicken online but it didn't seem like they had manual accounts for cash or a foreign account.

It would be great if there were a program with in depth details which was able to sum it up for daily use with a clean interface. I'm sorry but I like the quicken model money in money out saved/overspent. That is very helpful! But I can't go there bc of my other concerns (euro, CASH accounts). I've used mint too for the past few months and it's impressive but limited by not supporting foreign banks or allowing a good way around it.

If anyone knows of a good solution, I would be very interested. I would even try money if they had a good option.