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BucketWise is a web application (written in Ruby on Rails) for managing your personal finances. It features an emphasis on budgeting (using a version of the envelope system) and avoiding debt. BucketWise is highly opinionated: it was written for one man's specific needs, and as an experiment, and while it is working very well for that one man, there is no guarantee it will do what you want. (See FEATURES, below).


  • Multiple users

  • Track multiple accounts

  • Accounts may be partitioned into “buckets”, as a means of budgeting and saving money

  • Earmark funds for each credit-card purchase to avoid overspending

Things it intentionally does not do:

  • It does NOT automatically pull your transactions from your bank account, and in all likelihood, never will.

  • It does NOT intelligently learn from your purchases and try to guess how to categorize them, and in all likelihood, never will.

  • It does NOT provide a social forum for you to share thoughts with other users, and DEFINITELY never will.


Essentially, all you need is Ruby, Rake, and version 2.3 of the Ruby on Rails framework. To run locally, it is recommended you also have sqlite3 installed, as well as the sqlite3-ruby bindings. It's also easiest if you have Capistrano 2.5.x installed.


Installation is about as convenient as it is for any other Ruby on Rails application. It goes something like this (and please excuse the gratuitous hand-waving):

  • Get a server on which to install it

  • Install all the software it needs

  • Configure the database

  • Deploy the application

To get started quickly, you can just run it locally. Setting that up goes something like this:

  • “cap local externals:setup” to load up the dependencies that BucketWise needs. (You'll need to have git installed for this to work.)

  • “rake db:schema:load” to prepare the database

  • “rake user:create” to create your first user, and note the user-id

  • “rake subscription:create USER_ID=<id>” to create your first “subscription” (a container for your financial account data).

  • “script/server”, and then go to localhost:3000/ to log in and get started!

If you want to use Capistrano to deploy BucketWise to a server of your own, you can simply create a file at ~/.bucketwise/Capfile, which should contain your custom deployment instructions. If that file exists, BucketWise's own config/deploy.rb will load it automatically.


This software is hereby placed in the public domain.

- Jamis Buck (author), April 2009


ATTENTION: This project is no longer being updated. If you're still interested, feel free to read on... "A web-based personal finance manager with a focus on non-OCD budgeting and avoiding credit card debt"




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