Day: December 29, 2006

Web Finance Apps

OK, seems some of us are talking about taking control of our finances, or at least figuring out where all the money is going.
To that end I wanted to use a web like application to keep track of what I’m spending my money on.
Not an accounting program that would allow me to balance my ‘books’, but something just slightly more advanced than a spreadsheet.
Well, I almost found one, Badger Finance.
It did everything I wanted.
It had basic accounts, categories to tell me what I’m spending money on, and it didn’t worry about balancing.
Problem was is that it didn’t work.
For some reason, at least for me, if you had more than one recurring transaction(like Pay and Mortgage) then the main account screen wouldn’t load.
Don’t know why, and the errors aren’t helpful.
It could be a problem with Ubuntu, but I’m just to lazy to find out.

So I dropped the online portion and checked out GNUCash.
Well, what can I say. I’ve never used something so smart and stupid all at the same time.
For one, it’s really aimed at accountants, and not me.
You have to say where the money is coming from(one account) and going to(another account).
So I couldn’t just say I got paid, I would have to transfer money from the Salary account to the chequing account.
Ok, bit of an irritation, but livable.
Then it asks you a couple of times if you really want to save that transaction.
Yea, that’s why I clicked save.
The worst part is the ‘report’ feature.
It has this nice little thing where it will represent my expenses in a pie chart.
Problem: If any of the expense reports have no data(0), then the report doesn’t build claiming that some of the expenses have no data.
Not that it tells me which ones, just ‘some of them’ are blank. Then I have to go pick and choose which expenses I want to do the report on.
How hard would it have been to drop the ones that didn’t have data?
Apparently, very hard.

So, I’m rewriting the wheel.
It’ll be a simple little web app, built with PHP and with a MySQL backend.
It won’t look pretty, but it’ll work.
I hope.