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What’s the Best Personal Finance Software?

Dollar bills and keyboardDeciding which personal finance software to use can be a difficult and confusing task. Just as your personal finance needs vary, so too do the individual features offered by each personal finance software company. But when managing your money and family budgets, it is essential to have the right tool to help you understand where personal spending is occurring and how you can adjust your budget to live a better life. We have researched some of the more popular personal finance software options to select our 2014 best personal finance software winner. We also share the pros and cons of many other players in the market so that you can make the best choice for you.

Want to jump straight to the reviews and checkout the comparison table later?

Personal Finance Software Comparison Table

Personal Finance Comparison TableDue to the considerable size of our personal finance service comparison table, we are putting it on a separate page so you can reference it more easily. Please visit our personal finance service comparison table (or click on the image on the left) for feature details of the software solutions that we review in this article so that you can easily compare apples to apples to make the right choice for you. We will continue to add to this table as we find more personal finance solutions, and update the current offerings listed as they add new features and services.

Our Picks for Personal Finance Management Software

As we carefully review and try out each of these services, we begin to form opinions as to which we find the most useful as well as those that pack the most punch per dollar. Here are our 2014 recommendations for the best way to manage your money via personal finance software. We hope you find this information helpful in assisting you in making the right choice for you.

Please leave comments below as to your personal experience with these companies or if there are any we left out that you would like to learn more about, let us know and we will get to work with updating this review. This is our first year reviewing this type of software but we will update it each year based on new comprehensive reviews and trials paired with your comments.

1st Place Winner: Mint.com

WeRockYourWeb Gold MedalWebsite: Mint.com

Based on an in-depth analysis of dozens of personal finance management tool providers, we have chosen Mint.com as our overall winner for 2014. The competition is fierce as the online cloud computing and smartphone/tablet apps allow new technology and companies to enter the market but Mint plays in all of these areas which is much of the reason they are our winner.

Mint.com is FREE and Offers a great service

Mint.com is a free service which of course makes it a tempting option but free does not always mean it is better. But, in this case, it truly is a superior product. And since it is free, there are no annoying contracts or long-term commitments required other than your time to enter in your information and set-up your goals, budget, etc. (This set-up will be part of every system you work with so this time commitment is inevitable in the personal finance management category.)

Transactions are Automatically Added & Categorized With Mint

When you use a credit card or debit card that is linked to Mint.com, your transaction will automatically be added to your account in plain English (spent $27.23 at Safeway? Expect to see it this way on Mint rather than the cryptic $27.23 SFWX123 POS you might see in your bank account) and categorized into its respective financial segment (groceries in the case of Safeway, entertainment for AMC Theater tickets, gas for Exxon, etc.). You can even add your own categories to further personalize your budget.

read-Only Ensures Security on mint.com

Rather than asking you to download another software to your computer and linking your account to only one device, all of your financial information is actually stored online and can be accessed via a secure, password-protected log-in that offers the same 128-bit encryption that banks use to keep your information safe. Further, Mint.com is designed as a read-only service so no funds can be moved at anytime from within the software. So if someone were to gain access to your account due to some fraud activity, they would not be able to do anything more than see your monies… they could not move or steal anything!

Multi-Device Access from Anywhere

Mint.com can be accessed from any device for easy on-the-go finance organization. This way you can always keep an eye on your money as well as gain access to alerts, your budget, investment accounts, etc. Whether you have an iPhone, Droid, PC, Mac, or even a tablet (iPad or Android), you can access your account with ease.

Alerts Help you Actively Manage and Monitor Your Money

With text or email alerts, Mint.com allows its 13 million registered users to receive notices when a bill is due, when credit card charges are incurred and even to notify you if a large priced purchase is made. This feature allows you to keep an eye on where you are spending your money but also to watch for any fraudulent activity on any of your accounts in one centralized place.

Pros

  • It’s completely FREE!
  • There is no software to install and users can access accounts through any web browser or through a mobile app.
  • Allows you to see real-time transactions and balances all in one place.
  • Automatically updates and categorizes transactions for easy tracking.
  • Graphs and charts help to identify trends easily.
  • Bill reminders and text alerts help you stay organized and secure.
  • Track investments with easy to read charts and graphs.

Cons

  • Mint is great at viewing past spending habits, but it does lack future spending features. However, the new Goals feature is a great step forward.
  • Limited export file formats.
  • Income and expense assignments aren’t always correct when automatically assigned.

Price

  • Free

2nd Place: Mvelopes

WeRockYourWeb Silver MedalWebsite - Mvelopes

Mvelopes is an online envelope budgeting tool. (Envelope budgeting is exactly what it sounds like – traditionally, you would divide cash into envelopes based on the expense or cost associated with each respective bill for the month to be sure everything is covered. It also does not allow you to spend beyond your means.) Mvelopes takes our 2nd place position this year because of its comprehensive feature set. It is a great service for budgeting, tracking expenses and having access to all your financial information in one place. There is a free version, limited to four accounts and a paid subscription version. The subscription price of Mvelopes is available in a quarterly or yearly plan.

Pros

  • Try the entire Mvelopes product for FREE (not just a trial)
  • Easy money management as this software has a short learning curve and is simple to use.
  • The debt pay off planning tool is helpful for many users in paying off student, car, mortgage or other loans or debts.
  • Proactive approach to spending management via envelope budgeting.
  • SmartPhone apps available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
  • Online Bill Pay.

Cons

  • No support for multiple currencies, making this a poor choice for anyone who travels internationally on a regular basis.
  • Must be interested in proactive planning to use this tool successfully.
  • Pricing information is hard to find.

Prices

  • Quarterly Plan - $39.60 ($13.20/month)
  • 1 Year Plan - $129.60 ($10.80/month)
  • 2 Year Plan - $189.60 ($7.90/month)

3rd Place: You Need a Budget

You Need A BudgetWeRockYourWeb Bronze MedalWebsite – You Need a Budget

YNAB or ‘You Need a Budget’ is our 3rd place winner. You Need a Budget is designed to give you total control of your money by making you account for all cash inflows and outflows. Just using YNAB will make you a more responsible financial manager. It has a unique way of giving every dollar a “job,” saving for a rainy day, learning to roll with the punches, and quitting the unpredictable paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

Pros

  • Budgeting at its Best is a revolutionary budget interface that shows you how to understand past spending habits, identify trends, adjust for the present and plan for the future.
  • No automatic bank transactions because YNAB wants the user to take charge of finances by recording transactions manually via the iPhone or Android app and then YNAB will remove duplicates when importing.
  • Budgeting tool will minimize getting blindsided by excessive or unplanned spending.
  • Note function to prepare for a family member’s birthday or a vacation you want to take in a few months.
  • Security is self managed since the program is installed on the user’s hard drive.
  • YNAB 4 features Cloud Sync, a feature that will keep all of your devices in sync in real time.

Cons

  • Lots of manual work is required, but this software is designed for the user to take charge and not in a passive way.
  • No automatic assignment of categories or upload of data.

Prices

  • 34 Day Full-Featured Demo – Free
  • YNAB 4 – $60
  • “YNAB Works” Home Budgeting Guide - $47
  • YNAB 4 and Budgeting Guide - $97
  • iPhone App – $4.99
  • Android App – $4.99

In Depth Review

  • Check out our in depth review of YNAB 4

Honorary Mention: Quicken

Quicken on AmazonQuicken has long been utilized as one of the leading brands for all aspects of financial management. The software has gone through dozens of iterations and improvements over the years, and is today a full-fledged, robust personal finance package, especially for those who use other Intuit software to manage additional aspects of their finances as it will integrate seamlessly. However, they struggle with keeping up on the latest cutting edge features which is why they are not in our top 3 this year. Purchase Quicken on Amazon.

Pros

  • Puts bank and credit card accounts in one place.
  • Automatically categorizes expenses.
  • Allows users to set budget goals and track progress.
  • Automatic bill reminders.
  • Export data directly to TurboTax for fast and easy tax preparation.
  • Free customer support.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • Mobile app for Android and Apple.
  • Snap and store feature for keeping track of receipts.

Cons

  • Importing older Quicken files can be cumbersome.
  • Budgeting tool does not allow editing of past months.

Prices

  • Quicken Starter Edition – $29.99
    • See exactly where your money goes
  • Quicken Essentials for Mac - $39.99
    • Designed specifically for Mac users
  • Quicken Deluxe - $64.99
    • See where you are spending, get on budget, reduce debt
  • Quicken Premier - $94.99
    • See the details you to need to grow your investments
  • Quicken Home and Business - $104.99
    • See across your personal and business finances clearly
  • Quicken Rental Property Manager – $154.99
    • See and manage the details of your rental property finances

The Rest of the Pack

The race to the top of the personal financial software mountain is not only competitive, it’s very tight. All the software we review on this page has its own unique list of pros and cons, which is why we give you the rest of the pack so you can decide for yourself which option best suits your individual needs.

AceMoney Review

Website – AceMoney

AceMoney is a paid personal finance solution that prides itself on an easy to use interface with a fully featured backend. Users can manage many different accounts, track spending, record expenses and bank online. It does not have an option to export data to tax programs, however.

Pros

  • Easy and intuitive to use.
  • Automatic update of balances across various platforms.
  • Multi-currency financial support.
  • FREE lifetime upgrades once full version has been purchased.
  • A clean, user-friendly interface.

Cons

  • Can only be used on one machine.
  • Transfer of data can be tedious from other money management services.

Prices

  • Full Version – $39.99 (free lifetime upgrades)

Buxfer Review

Website – Buxfer

Buxfer is a FREE personal finance management software that offers easy online money management. Buxfer’s IOU function allows users to track bills and expenses amongst friends and families.

Pros

  • The service is FREE and you can sign in using an existing Google, Yahoo or Facebook account.
  • It is a socially-oriented finance management service with ability to divide up bills amongst roommates, friends or family.
  • Extensive mobile management options.

Cons

  • Data export must be done in CSV format only.
  • Account tracking limited to banking and credit card accounts only.
  • No automatic categorization of accounts.

CommonCents Review

Website – CommonCents

CommonCents is a simple and powerful budgeting and personal finance solution. By taking a common sense approach and using envelope budgeting, it provides a clear view of your finances.

Pros

  • Easy to use service and visually appealing.
  • Envelope budging for a time-tested method of managing money.
  • Familiar, checkbook-style registers.
  • Goal setting and tracking.

Cons

  • Designing custom reports can be difficult for new users.
  • Complex transaction navigation.

Prices

  • 45 Day Trial - Free
  • Full Version – $44.95 with free updates

GnuCash Review

Website – GnuCash

GnuCash is an open source personal finance service that is completely FREE. Designed to be easy to use, GnuCash has many powerful features. It performs like a checkbook register to enter and track different accounts.

Pros

  • FREE.
  • Wizard will help new users with walk through examples.
  • Data entry is easy.
  • Regular software updates.
  • Complete customer support.

Cons

  • The conversion time involved in exporting data can be exasperating.
  • Software can take a while to navigate and learn.
  • Boring interface that lacks interactivity.

MoneyDance Reviews

Website – MoneyDance

MoneyDance has built up a loyal following of users. One of the things that makes MoneyDance shine is it’s cross-browser compatibility and the easy to view overall snapshot of your finances.

Pros

  • Compatible with many different platforms including Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • FREE app available for managing your finances on your mobile.
  • Fast and accurate service makes managing your money easy, efficient and reliable.
  • Home Page features a comprehensive snapshot of your finances.
  • Flexible repeat event scheduling.

Cons

  • Allows duplicate check numbers in the register so duplication can be an issue.

Prices

  • Full Version – $49.99

Moneystrands Review

Website – Moneystrands

Moneystrands is a FREE money management software that makes it easy to get financially organized online by tracking spending, providing a real-time overview of finances, incorporating a great budgeting tool and recommending savings tips.

Pros

  • FREE computer service and FREE companion iPhone App
  • Automatically imports and categorizes banking activity
  • Support for forty four different global currencies.
  • Automatic email alerts if you approach or exceed your budget goals

Cons

  • Inability to create personalized categories to cater to personal budgets.
  • No Android or Blackberry functionality.

MoneyWell Review

Website – MoneyWell

MoneyWell is a Mac-only personal finance solution. MoneyWell’s strong suit is that it was designed as a budgeting system to help the user eliminate debt and grow wealth.

Pros

  • Easy to use and clean interface.
  • Direct Connect banking for single-click downloads.
  • Envelope Budgeting to spend only the money you have.
  • iPhone and iPad app that syncs with your Mac using Dropbox.

Cons

  • Only available for Mac computers. If you have a PC, do NOT buy this product.
  • Investment capabilities are not as extensive as they are in other finance management software services.

Prices

  • Full Version – $49.99

Deciding Which Personal Finance Solution is Right for You

After looking through the pros and cons as well as the basic features of some of the more popular personal finance solutions, you should have an idea of just what it is that you are looking for. The first step is to prioritize which features are most important to you and which features you can live without. Then, if one of the services meets your needs and is free, then go for it! If not, then price will come into consideration. Finally, when you have narrowed down your selection to a few companies it is important to look at reviews of other users in addition to finding answers to any questions you may have. Research is the key to finding a personal finance solution that works best for you because once you commit to a product, it can be very time consuming as well as difficult to transfer account information from one personal finance solution to another. Make the right decision now and you will be amazed by how much you will learn and grow in your ability to manage and control your personal budget and wealth.

Please Comment Below!

Thanks for reading, and please – comment below with any thoughts you might have. We’re eager to hear your feedback, experiences, etc. regarding your personal finance management software. We’re trying to aggregate as much information as possible so we can help identify the best possible digital finance system out there.


About Jeff Butler

Whether it is setting up a home entertainment system controlled by a PC or geeking out on one of his many iDevice's, Jeff loves all things tech. He does not leave home without his iPad or his golf clubs. You never know when a good day might turn into a great one with the help of one (or both) of these trusty tools.
  • Guest

    While researching topics for my finance blog, I stumbled across an article that discussed the dangers of using mobile finance apps. This is something that everyone should be aware of. While an app may offer a great service, you have to question how your information is used. Even if it’s used securely, there’s always the chance of losing your phone and having that information compromised.

    Personally, I have a problem with handing over my account numbers to any company. I don’t care how much easier it makes it to control my finances; it just seems like a really bad idea. While, I was impressed with the amount of security that Mint.com offers, but I still wouldn’t use a service like that.

    With that said, I’m still more than interested in using software that can offer a valuable service for my finances without needing account information. This resource gives me an idea of several pieces of software that I would like to try in hopes of controlling my spending and maybe getting out of debt. I look forward to trying a few of these options to see if I can make changes in my spending habits and maybe get out of debt and start an emergency savings account.

  • Guest

    I recently signed up for some personal finance software. I was pretty impressed with Mint.com so I decided to give it a shot. It was pretty easy to set up and I really only have had one problem with it. Well, two actually but one of them had nothing to do with Mint.com itself. I reset my Paypal password and apparently you have to let them know that and change things up over there. That was not a big deal.

    The issue I have is that it keeps mislabeling my finances. I am quite sure there is an easy way to change this, but I have not had time to figure it out. It keeps sending me my updates and telling me I have met my limit for spending money at the bars. The only problem is that I could not even tell you the last time I went to a bar. The only thing I can figure is that it is including the cigarette money I spend at the liquor store as bar money. It kind of cracks me up when I see that, but if I were not single, that could look really bad if my partner saw something like that.So, just a heads up on that little tidbit.

  • Guest

    This personal finance software list has been so helpful to me. I think anyone who has more than one financial account should take advantage of personal finance software. I happen to be one of those people who locks numbers in her head without really trying to. I remember phone numbers and addresses if I just happen to be there when they are spoken. Hearing the numbers seems to lock them in my brain.

    I do the same thing with my finances. If I say the numbers out loud to myself, I can remember what is in my account. The problem is that I do remember, so although I can remember what is in my account today, I also remember what was in there last week. I have about 5 different accounts, so this can be a really detailed and confusing process for me. I finally took advantage of personal finance software to make my life a bit easier. Now I do not go through the memory process at all. Instead I just review my personal finance software and I know exactly where I stand without having a head full of useless numbers.

  • Guest

    Call me crazy, but I love anything finance-related. Whether it’s an app to help me get out of debt or a website that helps me track expenses, I just can’t get enough. I was happy to stumble across this article and see that there are so many great software titles to choose from. I can definitely see myself trying out each title to see which would work best for me and my financial situation.

    I wish this article had better explored the software options for helping people get out of debt. Right now, I am struggling to find a company that offers the best solution for my needs. However, I did find several titles that will help me in my everyday financial needs. One that caught my eye was Mvelopes. Since I use debit cards for everything, this was an excellent fit for my needs.

    As someone that is passionate about finance, I must admit that I like coming up with my own solutions. I can actually see how I could recreate some of these titles by using simple methods, which means that I could completely customize everything to my own needs. Of course, that doesn’t mean that solution is right for everyone. I’m sure many people will find exactly what they need in this list.

  • guest

    I never thought that there would be a day when I didn’t use a standard check register to keep up with purchases and deposits. However, I’ve been using an Excel spreadsheet to track my checkbook for years. The truth is it doesn’t matter what type of digital maintenance you use for your accounts, it will always be more convenient than using paper.

    I have been looking into personal finance software for quite some time. I have used a couple different websites and found that they were too time consuming to setup. I know that a number of more expensive companies can be easier to use and require little setup, but they can also be more pricy. I think that’s a trade off many people need to make when choosing this type of software (or any type of software). You will always get more features when you spend more money.

    As someone who is trying to get back on track, and get out of debt, I know that I need to invest in personal finance software. I know that it would help me stay on track when it came to spending and paying down my debt ahead of schedule. I plan to spend more time looking at the options listed here to find something that meets my needs.

  • Guest

    I really do not know what I would do without my personal finance software. It is the very thing that keeps me in line. I mean, I keep my bills paid and do all the things I am supposed to do, but I was looking at it on a paycheck by paycheck basis until I installed my first personal finance software on my computer. I never had an easier time keeping track of my budget.

    You might think you are doing fine too, but when is the last time you looked at a detailed representation of where your money was going. I am like a small child sometimes and I want pictures to drive the point home. I love graphs because they show me when there is a dramatic change or where I need to tighten things up. I sometimes even visualize the graph from the previous week when I am thinking about making a purchase. Sometimes that is the very thing that makes me think twice about where I plan to put my money.

    I will put it this way; before I used personal finance software I did not even bother opening a saving account. Now I not only opened one, but I get to watch it grow and plan for it!

  • guest

    Our great grandparents would probably be appalled at the number of credit cards, loans, bank accounts, and other financial accounts that the average person has. With many Americans having more than one bank account, it can be difficult to keep up with your finances. Throw in the fact that most people use credit and debit cards to make purchases and balancing accounts can become a nightmare if you miss only a few days worth of entries. Thankfully, there are software titles and applications that make it easier to keep track of your finances.

    Companies like Mint.com make it so much easier to avoid bounced checks and overspending. Instead of people buying what they need and forgetting to enter transactions in their checkbook, Mint.com takes care of it. This can be a real time saver for those that don’t have enough time to balance their checkbooks each evening.

    I’m currently looking for a company that will help me spend less. I already do a great job of keeping track, but it would be nice to know that I only have this much to spend and after it’s gone, it’s gone. While Mvelopes seems like a great company, but it’s a bit out of my budget.

  • Guest

    Can you even imagine what it must have been like to create and manage a budget before computers came around? I still use spreadsheets to do my budget, so I haven’t progressed too much, but I can’t imagine doing it all on paper. It’s so much easier to adjust entries when you’re working with a spreadsheet or a piece of software.

    There are so many great pieces of personal finance software on the market that it can be hard to choose. Your article makes it so much easier to quickly view the best companies and make a decision that works best for someone’s needs. While some people need a very complicated piece of software with lots of features, others just need something that will help them create a simple budget or keep up with their multiple accounts.

    Personally, I love the look of the Mvelopes site. It looks like something that would work perfectly for me and my lifestyle. I think it is important to go with the software that works with you rather than one you have to work around so I’m willing to pay a bit more for ease of use.

  • uest

    As someone who is trying to gain control of her debt, I’ve looked into many different companies that offer personal finance software. I’ve even downloaded a number of apps. My only hesitation is linking all my accounts to the software. To me, it just seems like a very bad idea and something that could result in identity theft. If someone where to somehow hack the software, it could be disastrous.

    However, your article proved me wrong. I was intrigued by the amount of security that Mint.com uses. It was a company I had looked at in the past, but didn’t dig deep enough to discover how they keep information safe. It’s a relief to know that if someone ever did hack my account, all they could do is look at the money, but not transfer it.

    Of course, what really caught my eye was Mvelopes. This looks like a great company and just what I’ve been looking for. The idea of a digital envelope system is perfect for me because I never use cash, just my debit card. I also like that it has a debt pay off planning tool. I will definitely be checking out this company. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  • guest

    After reading the information provided here about Mint.com, I decided to give it a try. I have never used personal finance software before, but I really needed to do something to help e get more organized and plan my budget better. I was a bit nervous about sharing my information, but I did some research and learned that Mint.com is something that quite a few people used and were impressed by.

    I am someone who is always kind of paranoid about sharing any kind of financial information over the Internet, so this was a huge step for me. In fact, the only way I got myself to do it was by reminding myself that I also use software to file my taxes online.

    It only took a few minutes to sign up. It probably took less than ten minutes for me to connect my accounts to Mint.com. I was pretty impressed by that because I thought it was going to take longer, but the process was pretty quick and painless.

    The only issue I have at all is trying to link my child support debit card to Mint.com. I am not sure how to do that because it is not a “bank” persay.

  • guest

    I have been looking for personal finance software for quite some time. I think it will make it easier for me to track my spending and make better use of my money. We all spend more than we think on stupid things. I think personal finance software will make it easier for me to not ignore my bad spending habits. Something about having that right in my face with numbers listed makes it more real to me. I can throw out receipts. I can’t ignore monthly reports.

    I came in here a while back as I started my search for the best personal finance software. I really liked the idea of using Mint.com because it sounded like it was exactly what I need and even better, it was free!

    So I signed up for it. I have to say that the sign up process was pretty easy. I connected the accounts that I could connect and all my data came up. I haven’t use my cards since, so I don’t have any experience there, but I wasn’t thrilled to see that I got an email telling me I was low on funds. They do that so you can avoid paying fees for having a low balance, but I just kind of laughed to think that now a third party can remind me I am broke every day.

  • guest

    Thanks so much for the great details! Mint.com sounds like exactly what I need. Of course, it is awesome that it is free, but I think all the features it has would be worth paying for if they actually charged for it. I really need something like this to help me keep track of things. I think it is a vital part of developing any kind of financial plan. I am going to download mint.com now!

    I know I have a hard time just remembering to save a receipt, much less actually do something with it after I do save it. I know better than to think I will manually get the information into my computer so I can track it. A program that automatically does it is right up my alley.

    I think many believe that you have to be a business owner to use something like this. I happen to be a contractor, so it does make it easier for me to that end, but I think something like this would serve anyone well, most especially people who use their credit cards, debit cards or bank accounts on a frequent basis. The only way to make smart future decisions is to learn from past mistakes, which this program apparently allows you to do.

  • Guest

    The Mint.com software sound like it might be worth trying. I have heard of a few different kinds and I have seen other people use it, but I don’t have any yet. I always see ads for Quicken, but advertising doesn’t always mean that the service is any good. I want one that works well, but isn’t so well known that anyone would be able to hack into it. It seems that the more popular the software is, the more the hackers know about it. I’ll pass on that.

    I do like the description of the mint software though. It doesn’t sound like I would have to have some kind of technology degree or accounting degree to be able to use it and understand it. I love it that it uses easy to understand terms so that I know exactly what I am looking at. I’m not even sure I would just use this for my personal finances though. It might also work well for my business, which would save me tons of time.

  • guest

    I work exclusively online. Most of my client pay through Paypal, so it is usually pretty easy to keep track of the incoming funds. But, not all of my transactions through Paypal have to do with my business. Some of them are personal transactions that I use funds from Paypal to complete. So, while it sounds like it would be easy to keep track of things, it’s really not. I’ve relied on this method for years, but lately I have found that I need a better way to keep track of my finances. Most of all, I need to make it easier to create and stick to a budget.

    I appreciate the information offered here because there are so many different types of financial software to use. I don’t want to spend too much time doing research on it, but I do want to get financial software that is easy for someone like me to use, but that does a good job of keeping things straight so that I can go about the business of staying in business! I think it’s also important to consider future needs. For instance, right now I don’t have a need for an app on my phone to keep track of my finances. But. that might be convenient in the future. At any rate, thanks for the great info about personal finance software!

  • Anonymous

    If you are currently in the market for some personal finance software than you know just how much of a challenge it can be to find just the right one for your particular situation. Many of the online reviews out there do not seem to help, either, since they appear to be little more than overt sales pitches for one particular company or another.

    The article listed here is a bit different. First of all, the reviews cover several of the recognized big players in this industry. These are the software programs which most of the well respected finance personalities would recommend or endorse. Also, they list out not only the pros of each service, but also some things which may not be considered ideal.

    This information is provided for you so that it will be easier to have a full understanding of what each is offering. This should allow you to make a much more informed decision. Of course, use this information in whatever way you desire. Personally, I would make a list of the features I liked and then determine what I must have.

  • Anonymous

    I was pleased to find this article. I have looked into a number of sites and some are definitely better than others. I also have a number of financial apps on my phone. However, I have to admit that I’ve never been comfortable with linking my financial accounts with software. What I like are apps and software that help make me more conscious of my spending habits and can help me pay down my debt.

    One app I absolutely love is called Debt Payoff Planner. This is such an excellent app for those that want to payoff their debt. All you have to do is enter the details of each debt (balance, interest rate, etc) and then you can choose how you want to pay off your debt. Whether you want to pay it off the fastest or to pay off the smallest debts first or so that you pay the least in interest.

    Another piece of software I like is offered by the people who created SparkPeople. The site is called SparkSavings and you can create a budget and different items you want to save for. I love, love, love this site because it is so motivational and encourages you to save each and every day.

  • a guest

    I’m currently using Mint to manage my finances, but my bank recently got acquired and the new bank is offering a financial manager called FinanceWorks. I’m wondering if anyone has heard of this? It looks like it does more or less the same thing Mint does. For those that have, which do you prefer – Mint or FinanceWorks, and why?

  • Anonymous

    I have employed the Mint.com software in the past on a couple of different occasions. I will admit that my first reasons for doing so was because it was free and it was one of the more popular downloads on my Android smart phone.

    What I found was that because it was so convenient for me to use on a regular basis. Having it right there on my smart phone so that I could make frequent and accurate entries meant that the data that it was compiling was done in real time and I would not forget to enter it at a later date.

    Once I would return home and access the full website on my laptop computer, I could more closely look at my spending habits and see whether I was sticking to my budget. This is where I could really make the most use of the full suite of services.

    The most important thing about all of these services though is that you use them. As long as you use them on a regular basis, it will always be beneficial.

  • Matthew

    I think it is probably possible to choose one great app from the thousands. My recommendation is to adapt software you already bought yourself, or adapt yourself to the software (because in most cases good financial tracking software costs around $50, so you can’t buy new applications every week). 90% of financial planning you will figure out and grow to like just by using it.

    P.S. I’m a Mac user, so I stick with two apps for doing this job: iBank (well known) and little finance calculator Numeric Notes (since it not so known, here is the link on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/kz/app/numeric-notes/id464069442?l=ru&ls=1&mt=12).

    • Anonymous

      I cannot believe I am just hearing about mint.com – it is the best app ever for keeping track of my money and it is FREE!! This is incredible! Hope to find more free apps that are even close to as useful as this one.

    • http://autoinsuranceindallastx.com/car-gap-insurance.html Anonymous

      I still find it hard to believe that mint.com is a free app! It works so well. I hope it is always free.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone interested in keeping better control over their money, sticking to a budget or even just wanting to have a better idea about what is happening to their money should consider using some type of personal finance software. This article gives a nice overview of some of the best programs on the market today. Best of all, they are actually pretty honest reviews, with both pros and cons for each.

    I think it is worth looking at some of the reasons why Mint was chosen as their top pick in this area. First of all, the author points out that even though there are number of options available now, including smart phone and tablet apps along with using cloud computing storage systems. Mint is also present in many of these areas, which they say is one of the big reasons why they were chosen. Additionally, it is a free service. Link your credit cards and bank accounts to Mint and every transaction made will be automatically categorized. That can be a huge help in terms of planning, budgeting and a number of other factors.

  • jessica256

    I read your article and it has good information on personal finance software. I work exclusively online. Most of my client pay through Paypal, so it is usually pretty easy to keep track of the incoming funds. Thanks.

  • a web rocker

    We all have very individual requirements when it comes to personal finance management. While some prefer to keep track of every penny spent, others may find such an approach quite cumbersome and time-consuming. Some think the more detailed and accurate a budget is, the better the chances are that you’ll stick to it. Some people on the contrary prefer to keep budgeting simple and focused on some basic financial aspects.

    When searching for a personal finance software suitable for my needs I applied four main criteria:

    *
    Online access (it’s convenient when access to your account is not limited to one computer only, especially when you travel a lot)
    *
    Basic set of money management tools (transaction recording, budgeting, goals setting and reporting)
    *
    Flexibility (capability of manual transaction entry, multiple currency support, custom categories and tags, custom reports)
    *
    Simplicity (a visually simple design and a structurally simple user interface)

    I’ve been using InEx Finance software for a year now and I’m satisfied with its performance and efficiency. I think the success rate in finding a financial tool that you’ll come to like and actually use on a daily basis very much depends on the understanding of what features and functionality such tools should have in the first place. For me, the approach worked just fine, but again it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for everyone.

  • Anonymous

    The article provides a pretty comprehensive and honest review of the various options for personal finance software. I liked the fact that the article provided an honest review of each company, listing both positive and negative features.

    The author also points out that each person should take the time to really think about and prioritize which features are most important to them. This is excellent advice, since someone could point out that particular software is free; however, this might not matter if it does not have options that are important to you, such as being able to automatically import and categorize banking activity. Only after you have compared all of the things which are important to you should price even come into play.

    Personally, I agree with this approach completely. This article should really give a good idea about what is available in the realm of personal finance software. The author goes to great lengths to give good and honest information and advice. It is clear this person is truly interested in helping others make a good decision.

  • Anonymous

    I have tried using a few different personal finance programs in the past, some based on my computer, others based around input from my smart phone, but I have yet to find one that I have been able to put to good use on a regular basis. This is no fault of the programs themselves, but rather my own fault for not making it a habit.

    That being said, I would like a program that makes adhering to its use a bit easier and that would begin with an improved interface and/or a synchronization system that monitors my bank account activity and will track my expenditures that I make with my debit card.

    I think that this day may be coming and some banks may offer a similar type service already, but in order to really take over the marketplace, this software needs to be more accessible to the average public user. These are all great products and are taking some serious strides towards becoming what I envision in the future. I am excited to see what comes out next.

  • Gypsy Jane

    I did not see a system with 2-way desktop / mobile sync which does not require an active internet connection. Many – most! – people are not hooked up to the internet 24-7. I travel for work and am often in locations without even 1X for my phone, much less anything that would let me access, say, MINT. Therefore, although my phone is now an Android, I still carry my aging Treo 755p simply because it has Pocket Quicken and will sync with my desktop Quicken. I’m not anti-cloud – I have Dropbox to sync files that do not require the accuracy and immediacy of financial information. But my account balance is necessary information whether or not I’m online. Also, I prefer to enter transactions myself and compare to the bank’s information, rather than just copy whatever they post. Excuse me – they can mess up too! That’s the point of reconciling your accounts.

    If anyone knows of a good desktop financial program with 2-way offline sync to an Android APP, please let me know!

  • Anonymous

    I was shocked at what Mint was offering. Right now, I just use a spreadsheet to organize my finances and I have just reworked that to make it simpler. When I logged onto Mint, I was kind of expecting a pretty fancy spreadsheet. Instead, I was more impressed. I mean what an interesting service. I mean they are actually observing all of your financial gateways, (credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts) and grouping your information and sort of gathering it into a series of reports. It will let you see what your budget looks like every month and then on top of that I think you can use it to determine the spots where you need improvement. You have to link your account information to the website, and normally I feel skeptical of something like this, but for some reason I do trust the company. However, getting started with something like that is going to take time, so you want to keep that in mind. Establishing your Mint account, might be something you can do in an evening, but you’re going to want to set some time aside.

  • Anonymous

    Many people need help with their finances. The trouble, in most cases, is not even a lack of money of too many bills or any of the common things that you might consider at first. The real trouble is the lack of ability to manage the finances. Most adults do not have any kind of budget. They simply float through their financial lifetime and just hope that everything will take care of itself.

    Another option is to try and take back some control. One of the best ways to do this is by using personal finance software. This piece gives a lot of great information about some of the top online personal finance software packages. Each review provides a good overview about what the software does and the ways it can help you.

    I also like the way each review spells out both pros and cons. It is always nice to be informed. Knowing the thin spots or weaknesses ahead of time can be very helpful when you need to make an important decision. If you want help with budgeting or finances, read these reviews.

  • Mike

    …. it doesn’t support credit cards issued by GE Money Bank. I really like the way it worked, until I tried to load a couple of credit cards issued by GEMB. Mint.com blames GEMB for the problem. Doesn’t matter to me who’s fault it is, if I can’t see all my finances in one place, it won’t work for me. Same with Quicken Essential for Mac, won’t pull data from one of my cards.

    • Scott

      I agree, Mint is a great free alternative. But it drives me crazy when one of my banks mysteriously becomes unsupported. I have a retirement account with Security Benefit and Mint has never supported it. When all of the accounts sync, I really enjoy Mint, but a lot of time I find myself very frustrated.

  • Osmer Batcheller

    I spent the time setting up Mint and making sure items were correctly categorized and only then understood what a waste of time it had been. I have used Quicken in the past and was accustomed to being able to view my income and expenses in detail and in various ways. Mint simply provides a budget ,which allows duplicates if subcategories are added, and bases the budgeted amounts in a very random way. Besides seeing you information in the form of an incomplete budget, the only other option are a few pie charts. From what I gather on the new, many like Mint as they can see a picture of where their accounts stand on their tablets or smartphones via the apps. My interest is in getting an accurate, complete picture of spending and income, as opposed to having sensitive financial information on devices which are stolen on a regular basis. There is simply too much info in Mint to allow it to fall into the wrong hands, especially as many tablets and smartphones contain emails accounts and many fill provide accurate, as opposed to random answers to the questions banks and the like use as authentication when retrieving lost passwords (i.e., mothers maiden name, street you grew up on and the like, and other items which, if not already on the tablet or smartphone, are not very difficult for a professional to obtain). Anyone interested may want to take a look at the latest issue of Wired magazine, downright scary. I set up Mint, was disappointed as to how simplistic it was and as to the extremely limited ways to view your expenses and income in every category and subcategory (note it seems that if you add a subcategory to your budget when the main category is already included, for instance Auto may be included but you are interested in how much was spent on fuel and add that subcategory) you will end up with duplicate entries and an inaccurate total. To me Quicken, which I have not used in years, at least provided a bunch of different ways to understand where your money was going, with detailed breakdowns, and even allowed you to see in detail what a specific credit card was used on (no such luck with mint).

    Once again Mint is useful if you want to see an accurate picture of how much is in your bank account at a given time, or how much is left on credit cards but does not really provide much in terms of detailed information or even a realistic budget, but simply budgets the amount you spent the month before. While you can change these, it is sort of a pain and you are not given much info in terms of what the actual budgeted amount should be. Finally, once again I personally have no desire for this type of information being on a app in my tablet or smartphone, but rather on a protected vault on my hard drive. Just my opinion but I was very disappointed by Mint and find it extremely over-hyped given its limited functionality.

    As a 53 year old professional maybe I am too picky but the facts seem to speak for themselves.

  • Brian

    I’ve personally only had experience with Mint and Quicken in the past. Anyone have a favorite. I like Mint because it’s free but feel like security might be compromised. Quicken has a longer, better reputation but is not as user friendly as I remember. I need a new financial software system for the new year, especially now that I am running my own business. A friend of mine who also has her own company recommended Freshbooks too. Any reviews on that?

    • Osmer Batcheller

      Within the last two weeks I signed up for a Mint.com account based on online searches which led to a few sites, such as this one, which strongly endorse it. In the past I had used Quicken and am aware of what it provides. I admit I have gone for over a year without using any financial software whatsoever. While admittedly easy to set Mint up to automatically download a number of accounts (banks, credit card, investment and the like), it took some time going through each transaction by transaction to ensure they had been correctly categorized. It was not until I completed this process that I realized just how featureless Mint actually is. Mint does not show a good picture of where your money is going, items have to be added to the budget manually, you basically add categories of expenses, however categories often contain many subcategories (for example, Auto includes subcategories, including insurance, gas, etc.) but the budget simply shows how much was spent in the auto category; you are provided no detail regarding how much of the overall amount represented gas, insurance and other subcategory items of Auto.

      In order to see a more detailed breakdown you have to manually add a subcategory and Mint simply adds these as new transactions, not showing them as duplicates, therefore your budget will no be accurate from the start. While I realize Mint is popular, and does have decent app support, it is very limited in terms of the ways you can view your income and expenses, does not take into account duplicate entries created when subcategories are added, only provides a simplistic budget view supplemented by some pie charts and does not provides, as far as I could see, any way to view credit accounts in terms of where the money was spent.

      I personally do not see this online program as much use except to those who want the ability to instantly see their account balances in one place on their tablet or smartphone. However I want detailed breakdowns of where my money goes, and the ability to see the same in understandable ways; Mint did not come close to meeting my needs. I also am not interested in app support and frankly have no interest in my financial information residing on my tablet or smartphone given the rate at which these things are stolen. (if interested in the dangers, including just how quickly most any password can be cracked, you may want to check out the latest issue of Wired magazine).

      Just my opinion, hope it helps someone before they waste too much time on Mint which I personally see as being over-hyped.

    • Rahul

      I have been using an excellent money management software called Finlamp which is easy to use and is very different from Mint / Quicken in the way it records your transactions. It is a desktop application and hence your security credentials are all stored on your local computer.

  • Bill

    I want to have the power of Quicken but do it online. Mint can’t reconcile accounts from what I understand so that’s a limitation for me. Being able to sync between installations on different computers is a good feature of YNAB, but this program doesn’t have advanced features for tax related transactions. Anyone have suggestions on a solution?

  • Anonymous

    Two years ago, I decided I needed to reign in my finances. I knew they were getting out-of-control when I received a Holiday Bonus at the end of the year for my hard work, yet only a few months later, all of my extra money was gone and I was back to living off of my regular paycheck. Maybe it would have been OK if I had bought a television or new furniture or even paid off my debt a little, but the truth is, I do not exactly know where all that money went. I had heard about You Need A Budget (YNAB), and although it seemed like a lot of work, I knew that this program was the tough love I needed to get into better financial shape. It was and is. I will not lie to you all: YNAB is for people like me who desperately need the hard lesson about budgeting, and being diligent about using it can take some effort if you are not used to having to track all of your spending to the penny. Doing the work will be worth the pain, though, as you start finally seeing your finances grow.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed this article since I have been considering trying out some of the personal finance programs which were reviewed. I think that anyone who is interested in this sort of thing will find these reviews to be very helpful and unbiased. Unlike many other so-called reviews, these actually list both pros and cons of each piece of software, along with their prices and key features.

    I found it incredibly helpful to take a look at the comparison table first. This way, I had a good idea about what specific features each individual software program had. This also helped to make things clear in my mind about which features were more important to me. I would suggest that the first step of any similar research process should be determining which things are essential for you, and which features you would really like (but you may be willing to compromise on, especially if you could have everything else that you consider essential).

    Once this step is done, then dive right in to the detailed individual company reviews. Each lists the pros and cons, prices and main features.