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Moneydance Budget Bars Extension

General Information

Moneydance is a financial tracking application that has several distinct advantages over competing financial tracking applications:

One of the features I liked about a competing poduct was the budget thermometer-style graph you could put on the home page. At a glance you could see how you were doing with spending against a few of the budget categories that were important to you. This plugin implements a similar feature for Moneydance.

License

This plugin is licensed as freeware, and the source code will also be released as open source after the beta period. Please read the license for the plugin. This plugin can change your data because it stores some of its settings in your data file, so it is important to understand there is no warranty supplied for this plugin.

The source code will be released under the Apache 2.0 License. A change of plans: Budget Bars will be released as an integral part of the next version of Moneydance!

Download

Click here to download version 0.7 (Beta 3) of the extension. It is 165kB.

Release Notes

Release notes can be read here.

Installation

This plugin was created to be compatible with Java 1.5.0_16 and later.

After downloading the extension .zip file, follow these instructions:

  1. Extract the file 'budgetbar.mxt' to a location on disk
  2. Run Moneydance
  3. Select Extensions -> Add...
  4. Select From File
  5. Navigate to where you extracted 'budgetbar.mxt' in step 1
  6. Select 'budgetbar.mxt'
  7. Click Next
  8. Select 'Yes' when prompted about the signature
  9. Click Finish

The plugin will now be available on the Extensions menu.

Support

Being freeware software, the support is a bit limited. You may report bugs by sending an e-mail to 'bugs at mennesoft dot com'.

Usage

The Budget Bar plugin shows a bar graph on the home page for the budgeted categories that you select in the settings. This can tell you at a glance whether you are spending too much according to your budget, or whether you have room to spare for a new purchase.

Home Page View

Home Page View    Home Page View

The main home page view contains the budget bars and a few settings.

  1. At the upper left is a selector for the time period you wish the budget bars to be presented for. These are the same options available for other features such as the Expenses home page graph.

    Note: This option is saved in the main Moneydance settings file (config.dict), so it is the same value applied to all files. Switching to a different data file will not change the selected date range.
  2. At the upper right is a button to access the settings dialog. Additionally, selecting Extensions -> Budget Bars from the Moneydance menu will also show the settings dialog.
  3. Each bar corresponds to a Category you select, and the name of the category appears at the upper left of each bar.
  4. The budget bar itself has several features. First, it is colored according to three levels that you select (see the settings dialog). Second, hovering over the bar shows a tooltip (flyover) with the actual percentage of the budget that your spending is at. Third, if the largest limit setting (Over Budget limit) is greater than 100%, you will see a vertical line in the budget bar that indicates where 100% of budget is at. Lastly, the level at which your current actual spending for the selected time period is represented as the horizontal length of the colored area.
  5. The actual spending amount is drawn on the budget bar at the left.
  6. The 100% budget amount for the selected time period is printed on the right hand side. Note that this corresponds to 100% of budget, not to the overall length of the bar. The bar length is set to the minimum of 100% or the over budget limit. If, for example, you select an Over Budget limit of 90%, the system does not make the end of the bar to be 90%, it sets the length of the bar to be 100% (never less than 100%). If you instead select an Over Budget limit of 110%, the printed budget amount will correspond to the vertical 100% line, not the right edge of the budget bar, which will be set to 110%.

    If the category for the budget bar is not in the selected budget, the budgeted amount will say "Not in budget".

    If the category is in the selected budget but has a starting date beyond the current date range or an ending date before the current date range, the budgeted amount will say "Out of date".

    Hovering over the budget limit text will show a tooltip with additional information.
  7. Hovering over a budget bar will show a Tool Tip (or fly over). At the top of the tool tip will be the numerical percentage value that is displayed by the budget bar. This is the percentage of budget (on the right) that the actual amount (on the left) represents.

    If the Roll up child categories option is on, the tool tip will show a breakdown of the child categories included. The tool tip shown here has both the full category names feature and the automatic roll up feature turned on.
  8. The plugin remembers what order you set for the budget bars. Right clicking on a budget bar shows this menu that allows you to arrange the list.

Settings Dialog

These settings apply to the current data file only and are saved with your data file.

Budget
Select the budget you want to use for the budget bars.
Categories
Select one or more categories for which to show a budget bar. For each category selected, one budget bar will appear in the home page view. Therefore it is not recommended to select too many categories. Select just the categories you wish to closely monitor your spending on.

Click Select to display a category selection dialog. Categories that are defined in the currently selected budget will appear in a boldface font in the category selection dialog.
Show full category names
You may have set up categories that have similar names but are child categories of different parent categories. This can make the two budget bars difficult to tell apart. With this feature enabled, the full category path name is shown with colons in between. For example, if 'Service Charge' is a child category of 'Bank Charges', with this feature off the category is displayed as 'Service Charge'. With this feature on the category is displayed as 'Bank Charges:Service Charge'. This setting applies to the home page as well as the various tool tips.
Roll up child categories
With this feature off, the plugin will show a budget bar with a 1:1 correspondence of category and budget item. With it on, the system will follow a specific set of rules to combine child categories into the parent.

Let's explain with an example. Say you have 4 categories setup as 'Leisure', 'Leisure:Dining', 'Leisure:Movies' and 'Leisure:Golf'. The parent category is 'Leisure' and it has 3 child categories, 'Dining', 'Movies' and 'Golf'. You may or may not be interested in tracking your budget with each individual child categories. Instead, you may just want to know if you are close to your budget overall for 'Leisure'. That's where this feature comes in.

There is a specific set of rules applied when this feature is on:
When this feature is on, both the tool tip for both the budgeted amount (hovering the mouse over the budget amount on the right of the budget bar) and the tool tip for the budget bar itself (with percentage value) will include a breakdown of all the child budget items.

When this feature is off, there is only 1 category shown for each budget item, the system will not automatically combine child categories.
Under
Any percentage of budgeted spending below the Warning limit is considered to be 'under budget'. The color you pick will be used for all budget bars where the spending is below the Warning percentage limit. A preview of the budget bar display when under budget is shown at the right.
Warning
Select the percentage of budgeted spending at which you consider your spending to be 'close to budget'. When your spending is at or above this limit (but below the 'Over Budget' limit), the color you pick will be used. A preview of the budget bar display at or above the Warning limit is shown at the right.
Over
Select the percentage of budgeted spending at or above which you consider your spending to be 'over budget'. The color you pick will be used for all budget bars where the spending is above this percentage limit. Additionally, this limit defines the meaning of the length of the budget bars if you select a value over 100%. If you select a percentage below 100%, it will still be used but the budget bar length will be assigned the meaning of 100%. A preview of the budget bar display when over budget is shown at the right.