One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to keep track of your personal finances. Whether you are trying to save money for a special purchase or leave a legacy for your children, it is very important not to lose control over your finances. When people fall behind on their bills or let credit card debt build-up, it can lead to serious financial problems which ultimately could ruin their lives. This is why it is so important to have some sort of method of tracking your personal finances, both expenses, and income. The following article presents some great programs designed specifically for this task.
Just in case you need to be told explicitly what to do, along comes YNAB – short for You Need A Budget. Because, hey, if you don’t want to spend every single penny you have and more, you absolutely do need one. And perhaps you have more money than you thought?
YNAB’s primary mission, as you might expect, is to help you curb overspending and avoid living from paycheck to paycheck. Stick to the program, temper your spending appropriately, and eventually, YNAB will see you spending last month’s money rather than that which you’ve just earned.
It’s quick to install, supports the majority of transaction information downloadable from banks, and appropriately configures itself for personal or small business use by changing its monetary categories depending on your needs.
If you get off track, YNAB – which is reasonably forgiving and understanding for a bit of software – will tell you what you need to do to get back to where you need to be. You’ll have to make sacrifices, but if it’s the guidance you need, this sets itself apart from the likes of Quicken.
BankTree is more than happy to support worldwide currencies, and in fact does a solid job if you’re working simultaneously with more than one, offering balances in multiple currencies rather than rounding them off into a single total. It’s also good for keeping track of everything, allowing you to scan receipts with its mobile app and import them later on.
It’s not the prettiest software around, and it’s slightly more awkward to use than many of its more refined cousins, although BankTree does produce very neat reports which you can break down by time, or by the payee. It may be worth experimenting with the free trial before you choose to invest in this one.
The desktop software comes with one year of updates and support, though you are restricted to one PC and there is a charge for any additional PC you want to run the software on. There’s also a browser-based version available.
Whichever version you opt for, there’s a 30-day free trial available, so you can try before you buy to get an idea if BankTree will work for you.
Quicken Deluxe includes more personal finance management tools than any competitor, but it’s relatively expensive and many features aren’t available in the mobile apps. Still, no one does personal finance more comprehensively.
Quicken, after more than 25 years of existence, launched something two years ago that users have wanted in personal finance software for a long time: a companion website that mirrors some of the features and information found in the desktop version. Now, you can work on much of your Quicken data from anywhere, since the information is stored in the cloud and syncs with your desktop file. You can also access a subset of your Quicken data through capable mobile apps. These web access capabilities also take away some of Quicken’s intimidation factors and make it more competitive with state-of-the-art personal finance websites. In fact, it’s one of this year’s Editors’ Choices, along with the totally free Mint.
These virtual tools are available for all versions of Quicken starting with 2018. As Quicken has matured over the years, it’s become so feature-heavy and slow on older PCs (though the 2020 version offers many performance improvements) that it’s just too much for some users—and too expensive. Still, there’s no denying that Quicken is the most feature-rich personal finance application available today.
- Robust set of personal finance, planning, and investment tools
- Mobile and web companion apps
- Flexible transaction tracking
- Useful reports and graphs
- Excellent support options
- Inconsistent user experience
- Electronic bill pay through biller websites not available
Moneydance is a desktop-based, personal finance app that features strong support for online bill pay, multiple currencies, and cryptocurrencies. However, a dated interface and limited mobile app functionality prevent it from truly challenging the best apps in its class.
Quicken faced competition shortly after its 1991 launch. One of those rivals was Moneydance, a free, open-source, desktop application released in 1998. Today, the personal finance app runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a $49.99 price tag (after 100 free manual transactions). Moneydance offers much of the same functionality as Quicken, including income and expense management, online banking and bill pay, investment tracking, budgeting, and reports. It also supports multiple international currencies and cryptocurrencies.
That said, Moneydance lags behind Quicken Deluxe (the Editors’ Choice pick for paid personal finance services) due to a dated, sometimes clunky user interface and substandard mobile apps. By contrast, Mint (the Editors’ Choice pick for free personal finance services) bundles its budgeting and credit-reporting features into top-notch web and mobile apps. For those reasons, we can’t recommend Moneydance as wholeheartedly as those services, but you may find it worthwhile for its many useful tools.
- Detailed dashboard
- Supports multiple currencies, including cryptocurrencies
- Capable transaction management and budgeting tools
- Online bill pay
- Investment tracking and reports
- Dated user interface
- Weak mobile apps
- Doesn’t guess at transaction categories
We chose Honeydue is the best option for couples because it is specifically geared toward helping you manage your money with a partner. You can link accounts and customize what information you share with your partner while also communicating about money issues directly through the app. Notifications even alert you to upcoming bills or when you or your partner exceeds pre-set spending limits in your budget categories.
- No monthly fee
- Choose how much account information to share with your partner
- Transactions are automatically categorized
- Customizable alerts for overspending or upcoming bills
- Only available for iOS or Android (no desktop app)
- Limited financial education
- Few reporting features that allow you to look at the big picture
Honeydue is designed to help couples manage their finances together and its features are focused on joint communication. Honeydue makes sharing information about money simpler by allowing you to respond to your partner’s transactions with a note, a thumbs-up, or other emojis. You can also aggregate your linked account information to see all of your individual and joint transactions in one place.
Honeydue makes tracking spending easy by automatically categorizing transactions as well as allowing you to add your own custom categories. And while there are fewer reporting options than with some other programs, customizable alerts help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Personal finance software is a good solution for any personal money management. Personal finance software will help you organize your personal finances in the most convenient way.