Introduction: It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to free software. After all, you’re likely already familiar with many of the most popular ones. But which ones are right for your needs? This guide will help you choose the best free software for your budget, based on your specific needs.
We will cover topics such as Best budget software, personal home budget software, and Mint Budgeting App.
Best Free Software for Budgeting
Managing your money successfully includes keeping a close eye on your expenses. One way to do that is to take advantage of free software and services. Free personal finance software can be surprisingly robust, helping you track spending, create and manage budgets, and run reports.
The creators of Quickbooks and TurboTax, Intuit, offer a free online budgeting tool called Mint. This software gathers all of your financial information and provides you with a summary of your spending, bills, budget, and credit score. You may set objectives and reminders, make your own budget, and sync your data between the web and apps. Encryption and multi-factor authentication improve security. To keep track of your money and portfolio, utilize Mint.
Access Mint via the web or phone apps for iOS and Android.
GnuCash is desktop software; its features include tracking bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses. GnuCash is based on double-entry accounting for balanced books and you can run a number of reports to see your financial data. GnuCash also offers small-business accounting tools that let you manage customers and vendors, handle invoicing and bill payment, and even payroll.
GnuCash is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, BSD, and Solaris. There is a companion app for Android that will let you track expenses on the go and later import them into the desktop software.
AceMoney Lite bills itself as the best Quicken alternative. You can manage your budgets, track your finances in multiple currencies, keep an eye on your investments and analyze your spending habits. You can also do online banking. As this is the lite version, you’re limited to two accounts; the full version supports unlimited accounts.
AceMoney Lite is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X.
Personal Capital offers free financial software for tracking investments and planning for retirement, in addition to its tools for cash flow, spending, budgeting and net worth. Personal Capital’s focus is on investments, showing you the performance of your portfolio over time and helping you make decisions for the future, so its budgeting components aren’t as robust as other software.
If you’re not an investor or prefer fine-tuning your budget to getting the broad view, Personal Capital may not be the best fit. However, if you want to save for college or retirement, its free tools will show you whether you’re on track.
Personal Capital can be accessed via the web or apps for Android and iOS.
Buddi is an open-source budget software that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and has been translated into multiple languages. Buddi can encrypt financial data with a password, and it’s designed to be easy to use even if you have no financial background.
Features include budgeting, tracking accounts, and personal finance reports, but you will have to enter transactions manually. Free plugins add more features, and the online user manual is easy to read and use.
Buddi is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Free Budget Spreadsheets
If you don’t need fully featured personal financial software and you’re just concerned about keeping a budget, there are some great free budget spreadsheet templates you can use with Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc or Google Sheets. Just download and open them in your spreadsheet software to get a handle on your cash flow.
Best budget software
Quicken is a long-established tool for managing personal accounts, and while its reputation was founded on a desktop version, it is also available as an app for your mobile devices.
Quicken has a comprehensive set of financial reporting features. These are organized around a few different topics, including budgeting, bills, accounts, and even investing. For budgeting, it allows you to enter your purchases and income so you can compare them to have a better picture of how much you spend versus how much you earn.
In terms of bills, you can see which utilities and such services you are constantly paying, as well as the amounts owed and how much money you have left over. For accounting purposes, you can even combine your banking and credit card payments in one location so you know exactly how much you’re paying out. This is especially useful because consumers frequently underestimate how much simple purchases might add to prices.
It also allows you to track your investments, whether they are part of your savings, investment portfolio, or 401k pension plan. This implies that you have a good notion of how much your savings and assets are worth, while it’s fair to say that
In total, Quicken combines your banking, investment reporting, and budgeting into a single dashboard that you can access from a PC or even a mobile device via the mobile app.
You Need A Budget, often known as YNAB, is here just in case you require precise instructions. Because, hey, you really do need one if you don’t want to spend every every penny you have and more. Perhaps you have more money than you anticipated as well.
As you may anticipate, YNAB’s main goal is to assist you in reducing your expenditure and avoiding living paycheck to paycheck. Maintain the plan and moderate your spending, and soon YNAB will realize that you are using last month’s funds rather than those you just received.
It is simple to install, supports the bulk of transaction data that can be downloaded from banks, and automatically adjusts for use by either individuals or small businesses by altering its monetary categories in accordance with your requirements.
If you stray from your course, YNAB, which is surprisingly understanding and forgiving for a piece of software, will inform you what to do to get back on track. You’ll have to make some compromises, but if direction is what you need, this stands out from competitors like Quicken.
When working simultaneously with various currencies, BankTree performs a good job of supporting them by providing balances in multiple currencies rather than rounding them off to a single total. The ability to scan receipts with its mobile app and input them later makes it useful for keeping track of anything else.
Although BankTree doesn’t have the most attractive interface and is a little bit trickier to use than some of its more sophisticated brethren, it does provide some quite neat reports that can be broken down by time or payee. Before deciding to buy this one, it would be worthwhile to try the free trial.
Although you are limited to using the desktop program on one PC, it comes with a year of updates and support. There is a fee for using the software on any subsequent PCs. Additionally, a browser-based version is accessible.
Regardless of the version you choose, BankTree offers a 30-day free trial so you can see if it’s right for you before making a purchase.
4. Money Dashboard
The iOS/Android app for Money Dashboard isn’t trying to revolutionize banking or offer anything truly ground-breaking, but it is perhaps one of the best money management tools available. Connect all of your UK bank and credit card accounts, and you’ll be able to log in once to access all of your balances in one location. That is reason enough for us to suggest it.
Money Dashboard will track your expenditure and provide you with a comprehensive pie chart showing your spending on loans, consumables, transportation, and other expenses. You can quickly see your total balance and see how much cash is available in each of your accounts. You can also compare this amount to the one from the previous month.
Moneydance is a desktop money management program with a very slick single-window layout that was designed especially for Mac users (but it is also available for Windows and Linux). You may instantly check your accounts, impending invoices, current expenses, and more when you load it up. When you click on an item in the left sidebar, the main content updates to reflect your selection.
One of Moneydance’s most helpful features is its account register, and its reporting capabilities are solid though not very eye-catching. This works on a very similar concept if you’re old-school and used to maintain a checkbook. Additionally, there is an iOS app for recording transactions while on the go, which afterwards syncs with the desktop software.
UK users must manually download their transaction history to stay on top of it and switch to their bank’s own app to transfer money because Moneydance is unable to support the connection protocols used by UK banks. However, US users are well-covered.
Personal Home Budget Software
Despite the fact that Quicken’s reputation was built on a desktop version, it is now available to use as a mobile app. A popular tool for handling personal money is Quicken.
Quicken offers a wide range of choices for financial reporting. These are divided into many categories, such as investments, bills, accounts, and budgeting. Inputing your purchases and income allows you to compare the two and better understand how much you are spending in relation to how much you are earning.
When it comes to bills, you can also check which utilities and other entities you frequently pay, as well as the remaining funds in your account and the amounts still owing. You can even combine your credit card and bank statements for accounting needs so that you have a very clear sense of how much you’re spending. This is especially useful because people frequently underestimate the financial impact of everyday minor expenditures.
It also gives you the option to track your investments, whether they are a part of your savings, investment portfolio, or 401(k) pension plan. This means that you are aware of the value of your savings and investments, yet it is reasonable to argue that you shouldn’t be alarmed by brief changes in the stock market.
In total, Quicken combines your banking, investment reporting, and budgeting into a single dashboard that you can access from a PC or even a mobile device via the mobile app.
You Need A Budget, often known as YNAB, is available if you require specific instructions. Because, hey, if you don’t want to spend every every dime you have and more, you really do need one. Maybe you’ve also got more money than you expected.
As you might expect, YNAB’s main objective is to help you lower your expenses and stop living paycheck to paycheck. If you stick to the budget and control your spending, YNAB will soon notice that you’re using last month’s funds rather than the ones you just got.
It is easy to install, supports the majority of transaction data that can be retrieved from banks, and automatically adapts for use by either individuals or small enterprises by changing its monetary categories to meet your needs.
YNAB, which is surprisingly understanding and forgiving for a piece of software, will tell you what to do to get back on track if you veer off course. There will be some trade-offs, but if direction is what you need, this excels over rivals like Quicken.
Why we advise it: Let’s start with Mint’s overwhelmingly positive App Store and Google Play reviews. (It has also by far the most reviews of any piece of software we looked at.) Credit cards, loans, investments, as well as bank and savings accounts are just a few of the many types of accounts that can be synced for no cost.
Mint tracks and organizes your expenses for budgetary purposes. Customization is possible for these endless categories. For these categories, you can set upper and lower limitations, and Mint will let you know when you’re approaching them.
Along with those budgeting features, Mint can help users track goals, boost savings, and pay down debt. The user’s credit score and net worth are also shown by the app. Bonus: Mint provides lots of help for using
Why you may want to think twice: The fact that Mint keeps track of almost everything for you is one of its many amazing benefits. But that might not be the ideal choice if you wish to budget more directly and actively. If you’re searching for an app that helps you manage your finances in preparation rather than just track them after the fact, then another software on our list may better suit your needs.
Why we recommend it:
Goodbudget prioritizes budgeting above transaction tracking. This program is based on the envelope budgeting technique, in which you divide up your monthly revenue across different categories of expenses (called envelopes).
This app is not tied to your bank accounts. Cash sums, debts, income, and account balances (which you can retrieve from your bank’s website) are manually entered. After that, you designate money for the envelopes.
You may access the app on the web and on your phone. The numerous articles and videos that are accessible might assist you use the program.
The free version of Goodbudget has a restricted amount of envelopes, two accounts, and two devices. The premium edition of Goodbudget Plus provides more features including unlimited envelopes and accounts, up to five devices, and more.
Why you may want to think twice: Every expense must be entered because financial accounts cannot be synced. The app probably won’t work for you if you’re not willing to put in the effort.
Mint Budgeting App
Mint is a budgeting program that includes a variety of functions to aid with spending planning and tracking, bill negotiation, and even credit monitoring. Although Mint’s owner, Intuit, mainly relies on advertising to make its service free, it does provide an ad-free paid tier as well as a premium tier that offers additional features—both of which are reasonably priced.
Here’s everything you need to know about Mint and whether it would be a good fit for you if you’re considering using a budgeting app to help manage your finances.
How the Mint Budgeting App Works
Although there are other budgeting apps with free features, Mint may have the most extensive selection. You may link all of your financial accounts to receive a complete financial picture, plan and track your income and expenses using resizable categories, and gain knowledge about potential ways to enhance your money management.
Along with a VantageScore credit score, Mint also provides a credit monitoring service. Though the VantageScore might provide you a good picture of your credit health overall, bear in mind that 90% of the biggest lenders utilize the FICO Score, which is generated in a different way. To put it another way, your credit score may not necessarily reflect the same situation that lenders perceive when you ask for a loan.
Mint comes with several helpful tools you can leverage to make the budgeting process go more smoothly and also to make better decisions about your money. Here’s what you can expect:
- Direct import: When you connect your financial accounts, Mint will automatically import transactions as they post, so you don’t have to check each individual account every time you update your budget.
- Automatic categorizing: When transactions get imported, Mint will automatically categorize them for you based on transaction data. You can make changes if you need to, but the automatic feature can save you a little time whenever you review your spending.
- Goals: If you have a savings goal, you can set it up in your Mint account and track your progress toward it. Ideas include a vacation fund, holiday spending, a down payment fund and other short- and mid-term savings objectives.
- Alerts: Mint will notify you when the cost of your recurring subscriptions increases, your bills are due, there’s unusual spending, your account balances are low and more.
- Investment tracker: Mint can help you keep track of your investment portfolio and even spot unnecessary fees your investment advisor, 401(k) provider or broker may be charging you.
- Resources: Mint offers a wealth of resources, including calculators to help you with retirement, paying off debt, investing and more, as well as articles that can educate you on just about any personal finance decision you need to make.
- Paid features: While most of Mint’s features are free, it does offer a premium version, which comes with a modest monthly fee. With that, you’ll get help with canceling subscriptions you no longer need, spending projections to help you avoid overspending and money spotlights to help you understand your spending habits as they compare to other Mint users.
The majority of Mint’s features are available for free. However, the budgeting software has numerous adverts, which might be bothersome. You must pay $0.99 a month if you don’t want to see advertisements. The monthly fee for Mint’s premium version, which can make your budget even more effective, is $4.99, which is still less than what many other budgeting apps charge.
Owner of both QuickBooks accounting software and TurboTax tax preparation software, Intuit, which also owns Mint, is well-versed in data protection.
The business employs a number of security precautions, such as multifactor authentication, security scanning with VeriSign, biometric authentication, security notices, and others.
You can remotely wipe your data from the app if you misplace your device. Your information will also be removed if you opt to close your account.
- Very easy to set up and use
- Once your accounts are connected, the approach can be very hands-off, meaning you can come back anytime and catch up
- Connects with an exceptionally large number of financial institutions, making almost all U.S. and Canadian accounts connectable
- Free to use
- Can only set a budget for the current month
- Because Mint can be used in a more hands-off way, it may not prove effective for some users in saving money, paying down debt, etc.
- Web interface design is less attractive and user-friendly
- Web and mobile interface includes ads and offers
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best way to track personal finances?
Apps and budgeting software make it easy to categorize your spending so you can see when and where your money is going—at a glance. Knowing these patterns is the first step toward changing your behavior to start saving more.
Is personal finance software safe?
Go with trusted brands, and you can expect the same types of firewalls and encryption that you’d expect from a banking website. It’s often the human who does something risky rather than a flaw in the software.
Free Software is a software system that is not subject to government or corporate control. This means that it can be used by anyone without restriction. This makes it a great choice for individuals, businesses, and organizations who want to freedom of choice, privacy, and security. By using the right software for the right environment and time, you can save money while enjoying the benefits of free software.