Skip to Content

Actual Budget: A FREE Self-hosted Envelope Budgeting App to Improve Your Money Management (My Video Guides Inside).

My colleague and I discovered this self-hosted and free Envelope budgeting software called Actual Budget.

We find that Actual Budget has a lot of upsides because:

  1. It is an open community development project.
  2. FREE (self-hosted)
  3. There are updates along the way (but they may be slow). This may fix some issues down the road.
  4. Does zero-based budgeting very well (the official name for stuff like envelope-based budgeting)

You can check out the official site of Actual Budget here.

I find that budgeting is an essential habit because it helps me frame how I allocate my money to spend in the future.

I have written a comprehensive budget article in the past here: The Complete Personal Budgeting Guide

Every one of us is trying to budget in one way or another.

Most are doing the left most, which is doing it with our brains. That is the easiest but also the most messed up. That is why we may not know how we are actually spending and the limits to how much we can spend.

Software such as You Need a Budget (YNAB), Goodbudget, JustBudget, and Actual Budget tries to do Zero-based Budgeting. Zero-based Budgeting doesn’t care how you spend in the past. You do take what you spend in the past as a reference to make your decisions in the future.

But you zeroised what you spent in the past and decided how you should spend in the future.

Not much software out there helps facilitate envelope budgeting or zero-based budgeting well and cheap enough for people to get used to.

A screenshot from the live example I used in my video.

I like how elegant it looks as well.

So this is why I like the potential of self-hosted envelope budgeting software. Self-hosted means that you can install this application on your own computer server or a server of your choice. But don’t let this scare you. Your own home computer can be your own server.

I install this on my own computer.

I decided to do two videos on Actual Budget but depending on the need and interest, I might do more.

How to Install Actual Budget

In this video, I take you through how to install Actual Budget on a Windows computer:

If you want to give it a try, without installing it, you can try the demo here (don’t have to give your email address just click on “Try Demo”)

  • Here is the link to the Actual Budget Repository.
  • Here is the Local Installation Guide.
  • You will need to install Node JS, which is a Javascript implementation of client-server technology. Note that you cannot install the latest version of Node JS but version 16. Here is the link to Node JS release 16.0.0. If you want your life easier, choose the .msi which gives an auto-install package.
  • Just follow the Local Installation Guide or my Video (monkey see, monkey do)

Setting up your First Envelope Budget on Actual Budget

In this video, I take you through how you can setup an envelope budgeting system with Actual Budget:

Hope you find the videos useful and let me know what you think about Actual Budget.

Collecting Your Spending Transactions Through Telegram on a Google Spreadsheet so that You don’t Miss Out Any Transactions on Actual Budget

Currently, Actual Budget does not have a mobile application. Thus, it can be challenging for some to remember to log all the transactions.

But you can collate your transactions in notes so that you can enter them later and not forget them.

Most of us have a chat program and I created a Telegram Bot call ActualBudget Companion which helps you log your transactions into a Google Spreadsheet as if you are chatting with someone about your transactions.

This video shows you how:

Link to the Google Spreadsheet Template here.

Link to ActualBudget Companion Telegram bot.

I invested in a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETF) and stocks listed in the US, Hong Kong and London.

My preferred broker to trade and custodize my investments is Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers allow you to trade in the US, UK, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and many other markets. Options as well. There are no minimum monthly charges, very low forex fees for currency exchange, very low commissions for various markets.

To find out more visit Interactive Brokers today.

Join the Investment Moats Telegram channel here. I will share the materials, research, investment data, deals that I come across that enable me to run Investment Moats.

Do Like Me on Facebook. I share some tidbits that are not on the blog post there often. You can also choose to subscribe to my content via the email below.

I break down my resources according to these topics:

  1. Building Your Wealth Foundation – If you know and apply these simple financial concepts, your long term wealth should be pretty well managed. Find out what they are
  2. Active Investing – For active stock investors. My deeper thoughts from my stock investing experience
  3. Learning about REITs – My Free “Course” on REIT Investing for Beginners and Seasoned Investors
  4. Dividend Stock Tracker – Track all the common 4-10% yielding dividend stocks in SG
  5. Free Stock Portfolio Tracking Google Sheets that many love
  6. Retirement Planning, Financial Independence and Spending down money – My deep dive into how much you need to achieve these, and the different ways you can be financially free
  7. Providend – Where I used to work doing research. Fee-Only Advisory. No Commissions. Financial Independence Advisers and Retirement Specialists. No charge for the first meeting to understand how it works
  8. Havend – Where I currently work. We wish to deliver commission-based insurance advice in a better way.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Sunday 18th of June 2023

Have you tried ? Its also self hosted as it is a google sheet that you duplicate into your own drive.


Wednesday 28th of June 2023

HI Ken, that one works on a Google Spreadsheet last that i tried. Didn't know it is self hosted!


Monday 12th of June 2023

Have you tried ?


Friday 16th of June 2023

Hi Luke, no i have not. How is it.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.