Managing Home Life and Personal Expenses

I wish to purchase an app or software to manage my home life.

  1. I want to have a home inventory built up digitally to know what important stuff liks documents and things used sporadically are kept.
  2. I have an extensive collection of books and I want to build a database where I can manage my digital Library.
  3. I wish to track my daily expenses and receipts.

some of the options that come to me after searching across forum are

  1. Delicious Library: This comes across as the best option for book library
  2. Tap Forms 5: This seems to be an all round option as I can build a book library Form and create a database, i can also create a repository of documents, recepits and track expenses. except having a home inventory everything can be done.
  3. Airtable: This also seems a versatile option like the above one and the free version suits me.
  4. OmniOutliner: Good ol’ piece of software but not specific. Not good for receipts and expenses but good for list of documents or book library

Please share your thoughts on managing your life digitally and your best practices.

I’m not aware of a do all program that will do what you need.

For books, there’s Calibre. I’ve used it for years and it’s excellent - once I got over the whole “it manges the file system for me” (the same as Photos for example).

For money, I subscribe to YNAB. I kind of wish I didn’t have to subscribe, but it’s the only software that allows me to budget - I can’t figure out the budgetting in either Moneywiz! or Banktivity, as I don’t think that they’re envelope budgets. With Catalina, I can’t use the old YNAB desktop app, as it’s 32 bit and the iOS apps don’t play nicely now with cloud sync anyhow. With my wife onboard, it’s easier to pay the fee! If going for YNAB, I also recommend the YNAB toolkit. It adds extra features that YNAB themselves haven’t added.

In terms of home inventory, if you use Setapp, there’s Home Inventory. They have a standalone app if you don’t use Setapp.


Another vote for YNAB for budget. Banktivity and MoneyWiz do envelope budgeting but it’s far less practical than YNAB. Despite having MoneyWiz in my Setapp subscription, I keep paying for YNAB because it’s the best for budgeting in my opinion.

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For home Inventory I have no idea.
For books I’d look at Bookpedia (also the companions CDpedia and DVDpedia) for a large library of paper books (CDs and DVDs) and Calibre for the digital ones. You can also DeDRM your kindle library of books into a Calibre library f desired.
For expenses it all depends on whether you have investment accounts you also need to track. If yes then with all its warts Banktivity works moderately well. I am sure there are simpler ones for those without significant stock and other investment accounts.

I use Anylist for home inventory, despite the fact that it’s designed for groceries. For some home items, like lightbulbs, I attach a picture so I know I’m getting the right item when I need a replacement. App is free on iOS but if you want the syncing Mac app as well as web access it’s a cheap $9.99/year subscription or $14.99/year for a family (so you can share shopping lists - it’s a well-reviewed favorite for that purpose)

I’m a heavy user of OmniOutliner but it’s current unlock-price (to get iOS/Mac sync, themes and more) are more that double I paid (currently it’s $100 for the Mac app unlocked, $50 for iOS) so I don’t recommend it for most people. There are other options depending on your outlining needs (eg attachments, iOS app, sync). Not sure it’s something you really need based on your list above.

I don’t know how you ‘manage’ your library (I have a friend who keeps index cards listing books she’s lent people), but I’ve made do with a simple text list, with separators by room. Sure you could send $$ on a home database app with virtual shelves but I’d personally get along fine with a text file or info/categories in a Numbers/Google sheet.

Expense tracking is best done with a specialized app. No recommendations there.

Ultimately you’re not going to find a single app to handle those disparate functions. Don’t try.

I’m familiar with Dave Ramsey’s teaching, but have not used his software. It’s web and IOS and free to use.

Note: There is also a premium version that includes his Financial Peace University training course.

Thank you for replying!
Could you elaborate on this as I already own the software because of student discount.
How can some of the requirements be met with OO?

There’s always a decision to be made about general purpose tools versus special purpose tools. For example, I once had a special app for managing pets - vet appointments, regular medications and whatnot. The problem is, you have to remember to look in that app for that information. If you use it sporadically, you forget you have it. For that reason I try to use general purpose apps where possible.

Another consideration is to have a few consolidated data stores and apps that access those data stores. Calendar, email and photo apps work this way - they all access the centrally held calendar, email or photo stores which could be iCloud or Google.

I have been considering Airtable for various purposes, but another issue is “locus of control” or as I sometimes say, “keep your crown jewels under your own roof,” and also “make sure you can take your jewels with you when you move house.” One of the app monetization antipatterns I dislike is what I call the “Pied Piper” or “Data Kidnap” where apps seek to take your data and then charge you a subscription to access it, and don’t let you move it elsewhere. I have not evaluated Airtable from this perspective yet, but I know it’s cloud based. I don’t mind cloud syncing between devices, I don’t mind “the truth” being on the cloud, but I’d be unhappy if the data is only on the cloud.

Another candidate might be Filemaker Pro, formerly very expensive and now subscription (and still expensive) but very powerful and general purpose.

I used to use Delicious Library for books and games, in the pre-iOS days, and loved it. In particular at the time it could recommend new games based on those you already had, via links to Amazon. I think it went through some difficulties that prevented it from becoming an iOS app, which it clearly needs to be. Instead there is an iOS scanner which relays information to the main database on the Mac.

I have considered Home Inventory, for appliance records (when did we buy the dishwasher? when did we repair the oven?), but again it’s a single purpose tool and I wonder about investing time and effort into filling it with data - I would want it to be exportable.

Aeon Timeline, another multi-purpose tool, is at heart a simple relational database which allows you to relate events with time intervals to entities such as story characters. I continue to find new uses for this, for example I created a chart of zoom lenses by mapping the zoom range to the timeline. It could be a great way of storing appliance records / repair history. I’m not a shareholder and the devs are not my family, but I totally love this app!

Currently I use the Photos app, and all my photos are geotagged. I take screenshots a lot, as well as photos of appliance serial numbers etc. I also use the Notes app on iOS / Mac and at work I use OneNote on Windows. Both of these are instantly searchable. So I can typically find things either by text search or searching photos for time and place.

Any outliner could be used for inventory lists, optionally using subnodes for metadata like home location, category (eg fiction, cooking, tech), status (read/unread), etc.

If you have the unlocked version of OmniOutliner you could make an outliner-chart by creating an inventory list with the multi-column feature. (That look could of course be replicated using a spreadsheet.)

I have maybe 90 linear feet of books in my apartment and I just make do with a simple text file, though. :man_shrugging:

FYI here’s part of my home inventory list in Anylist:

If you subscribe to setapp, there’s a few tools in there that might be able to do what you’re looking for.

Another tip: when you get an appliance or device that has a manual, download the pdf of the manual and put it into your favorite searchable cloud synced storage - I use iBooks for this. Then when you need that manual for something infrequently done like changing a fridge water filter, you can get to it immediately.


Love this - I throw them in a icloud folder at the moment but i will look at ibooks

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