Which Free Personal Budgeting Software Is Right For You?
Free personal budgeting software can be great for getting a handle on your money but the choice of products can be overwhelming. Below is a short review of 10 free personal budgeting software products or websites with some tips on what to look for. My aim is to save you time and to help you compare the various offerings. All modern budgeting software makes it easy to learn how to make a budget, cut your debts and keep track of your personal cash comings and goings. Organizing your money saves you time, makes you richer in the long term and gives you peace of mind.
1. Mvelopes is noticeably different from other personal budgeting software because it uses an ”envelope” system that lets you divide your income into designated “envelopes” for categories of bills and expenses. The website is user-friendly and lets you record all of your bank accounts and track your net worth. You can link to multiple institutions with real-time balances from each account. There is no need to download and install personal finance software because you can access it from the Internet wherever you are. Mveleopes includes “Top 10 Tips for Getting out of Debt”. It is especially useful for the person with more than one bank account but is not for the absolute beginner.
2. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and is another “envelope” system with many neat features. This program helps you to only spend money that you have already earned. This is very helpful especially if your income is not regular. This particular personal finance software comes with 3 worksheets and full instructions and guidelines. Your budget will be up and running in a few minutes after you install the software. Like all budgets you’ must update and review your personal budgeting with minor time commitment every week based on four principles. You get ‘free… 5 spreadsheet bonuses, training support and the “The YNAB Way e-Book”. (This is only available for Windows PCs).
3. Quicken Deluxe is great if like me you struggle to track bill payments. This very solid personal finance software is good for both newcomers and experienced users of budget planner software. You can manage your 401(k) self-investments, savings, and classify your spending effectively. It is especially useful for those who are saving for a family, a new home, a college fund, or other costly future items. “My Savings Plan” is a new upgrade that helps you in setting money aside each month. The Bill Minder Gadget for Windows Vista is a desktop reminder of any overdue bills or other money transactions. This system even links to PayPal.
4. Accounts and Budgets gives you all tools you could need to control your spending and monitor your bank accounts. You take control of your expenses, your money coming in and money transfers by categorizing. You can stay on top of things with an up-to-the-minute summary of transactions. Plan your budget and highlight any budgetary shortfalls (or even surpluses). Planning your short and long term transactions is the strength of this software. If you travel a lot it can also help you choose foreign currencies. This software is user-friendly and you can even adapt the software to your individual requirements.
5. Budget Manager is a ‘shareware program that will help you to construct a smart budget to guide you in your spending. It takes into account all your personal money commitments weeks, months and years into your future. It calculates for you, how much cash you need to have on hand each week to pay your bills. You can tell at a glance and how much you have left over for anything you desire. It also allows you to do “what if” scenarios with your finances.
6. Check Book Money Manager is a simpler ‘no frills alternative to the more ‘bells and whistles’ personal budget programs. On screen this looks like a checking account that from which you pay your bills. It highlights surplus money is not needed to cover short term expenses and that can be diverted to say, paying down debts. It is a basic money management methodology that does not take a lot of time or input to maintain, yet still gives easy money control. It includes a tutorial to help manage your money rather than your receipts.
7. Easy Money is personal more about expense tracking than budgeting but still tries to live up to its name. You can track any number expenses in any number self-defined categories. Derive your defined reports and send your data to others. There is a ‘Macro’ utility for repetitive tasks. It is quick to learn and easy to use with a good ’help’ facility, optional password security and essential data backup.
8. Family Funds Tracker Pro helps the user build a budget with the figures at your finger tips. Track your money in, out and your savings. Sort everything by category and type and by the day, week, month and or year. The color graphics of cash flow is very useful to those who are more visual than numerical. There is a very useful feature called ‘’closing out a year’’, and another shortcut for recurring items.
9. Simple Home Money Management is one of the easiest to use free personal budgeting software. It produces useful reports to put you in the driving seat of your home finances. It is written with the average person in mind, i.e. most of us who find it difficult to budget or even pay off their credit cards.
10. Money Professor. If you are trying to juggle a number of loans this program makes it easy to review their future value and costs. You can put in your best guesses as to future changes in Interest rates by drawing a graph freehand. Create multiple ‘Scenarios’ under a ‘Study’, and save it to disk as an XML file.
All of the free personal budgeting software programs have different features and benefits. The important thing is to choose the one that works for you and your current financial circumstances and stick with it!