In Stacks, you budget with money you have on hand. When you record your income you have the choice to make it available for the current month or if you’ve already broken the paycheck to paycheck cycle you can defer it to the next month. Budgeting is a simple process of distributing your available funds across your line items until you’ve budgeted every last dollar.
Adding transactions or transferring money between your accounts is done from the Accounts Tab. Here you can see your entire account transaction history. The Cleared column helps you to reconcile between Stacks and your bank or credit card statements.
It can’t be all boring ledgers though. Stacks helps you monitor your spending with category spending graphs and tracks your networth. The Trends graph helps you see how your spending changes from month to month.
Everyone asks: “What do I do with my money?” You go to the Planning Tab and follow the steps. You’ll find yourself coming back to Step 0 each time you record income. Any extra money you have after budgeting for your expenses can be added to your emergency fund or to pay down debt. Eventually it will be put towards your retirement and Stacks will track your post-tax savings rate. Networthify has a great Retirement Calculator that determines your retirement timeline based on your savings rate.
Stacks tracks your progress through each Step. Once you’ve completed a Step it turns green. Do the steps in order; worrying about your savings rate when you don’t have an emergency fund yet is like building a house without pouring the foundation first.
Your Stacks budget is under your control – none of your financial info (budget, account balances, transactions … anything) is uploaded to the web or Stacks servers. Stacks doesn’t even have servers. You do have the option of letting Stacks store your budget in your Dropbox account. You can link Stacks to your Dropbox account by clicking on Settings and selecting Dropbox. Stacks will only have access to its own folder in your Dropbox (Apps/dbdollar/) and can’t access anything else outside of that.
Dropbox support is there to support future development of a mobile app for entering transactions on the go. It’s also convenient because you don’t have to worry about saving your budget as Stacks keeps the Dropbox view of your budget updated as you use the program.