Best Budget Software
Budgeting your money is the first step in taking control of your personal finances and removing the guess work from saving and spending. Knowing how to properly manage your money is becoming more and more crucial in this unstable economic environment but it's also a valuable skill to possess in any financial climate.
However, getting started may seem a bit daunting at first glance so we've taken the liberty of performing the legwork for you. The best personal budget software provides an abundance of tools ranging from cash flow analysis and financial assessment to debt tracking and long-term budgeting. Here are the top providers in terms of offerings, ease of use, cost, and device compatibility.
Budgeting Software: What to Consider
There are several things you should look for when you are searching for good budgeting software. Some are well-rounded and include features for a variety of users while others are tailored for specific goals. Take these things into consideration to choose the program that is best for you:
- Do you want to link your accounts directly to your budgeting tool?
- Do you need debt elimination tools?
- Does the program offer alerts when payments are due?
- Is the program easy to navigate and user-friendly?
- Is the software compatible with mobile devices? Does it have an app?
- Does the service cost money? Is there a premium option that is worth it?
Quicken Budgeting Software Review
- Ease of use and practical features
- Range of reporting and monitoring tools
- Data export direct to TurboTax
- Payment reminders and alerts
- Security alerts in the event of suspicious activity
- Paid upgrades for enhanced features
If you want a software product that will enable you to see where your money is going and will provide you with a simple way of tracking your finances, the Quicken Starter Edition could be just the thing. All transactions that you make are recorded and placed into categories so you can easily track them. You can use graphs and charts to view transaction data, which also aids monitoring and you can use this software to organize your budget with ease and convenience.
When it comes to making bill and other payments, you can benefit from alerts and reminders with this software, which reduces the risk of missing payments. You will also be able to benefit from a free mobile app, which enables you to stay up to date with your finances even when you're on the move. If any suspicious activity occurs on any of your accounts, you will receive an alert via the software, which is a great security feature. The software offers security, practicality and exports data directly to TurboTax, providing even greater convenience. It also provides ease of use and a range of practical features such as reporting and monitoring tools.
If you want to upgrade to an enhanced version of the software, you will unfortunately have to pay for this. In addition, it is worth noting that there are no tools or features for personal investing with this software. The software does have good reviews on review sites such as Knoji.com and Cnet. Weighing up the pros and cons of this software is important before you make your decision with regards to suitability.
Verdict - Superb
For a product that is well respected within the financial software field and offers a great variety of practical and convenient features, Quicken Starter Edition is a solid choice. This is why it has made it to the top five list of personal finance software products.
Mint Budgeting Software Review
- User-friendly, easy to navigate
- Creates a multitude of reports, in various formats
- Fast and secure signup
- You see all your accounts in one place
- Helpful graphs to analyze your information
- The Investment Tracker has some technical issues
Mint.com has a fantastic design, is user-friendly, and gives you the tools to figure out what's going on with your cash, not only online but also via mobile devices operating on Google's Android or Apple's iOS. It can be accessed online via a web browser from anywhere with an internet connection and does not require a download of local software. However, there are apps available for easy access on mobile devices. Signing up for Mint is free, which is a huge benefit considering that fact that companies that offer similar service require memberships. Adding an account is simple and easy with Mint and there are helpful graphs and reports that help you manage them. At the time this review was written there were some technical issues with the investment tracker tool but that may be fixed at some point.
Verdict - Great
Mint.com is a budgeting software that has caught our eye for several years now, and still impresses with the variety of helpful features the site offers. There have been some negative reviews that complain about technical issues with the service's apps, like not syncing with live spending. However, the majority of consumer reviews are positive. This is definitely a good resource to use if you are looking to keep better track of your finances.
Mvelopes Budgeting Software Review
- Secure account setup
- Easy to navigate
- Helps you cut expenses fast
- Mobile access possible
- Interesting use of electronic envelopes
- Premier subscription costs $10 per month
- Link to only four financial accounts during trial period
Here is a sleek, easy to navigate site that I like. You can use it for several purposes, be they to get out debt, find better ways to track your expenses or build a rainy-fund account to cope with an uncertain future.
Verdict - Great
Mvelopes takes the traditional approach of budgeting (via money stashed in envelopes) to another level, rendering it easy to understand and implement. This is why I am rating the site 9/10; the $10 monthly subscription is a bit high for a site designed to help you save money but the depth of financial advice you receive is worth it.
Yodlee Budgeting Software Review
- Signup is free, fast and secure
- Manage all your accounts in one place
- Access to mobile devices
- View income and expenses in one place
- Monthly reporting for progress checks
- Some navigational issues
Yodlee is a solid bugeting software that hands you a hodgepodge of features and tools that enable you to track your financial goals and reach debt freedom as soon as economically feasible for you.
Verdict - Great
Yodlee was one of the first players in account aggregation and debt management several years ago, and still has a suite of tools and services that will help you better track your finances and reach your goals. There are some navigational problems. If you have multiple accounts you need to provide log in information for each. However, the benefits out way the shortcomings so I am giving the site a 4 and a half stars.
Buxfer Budgeting Software Review
- You manage all accounts from a single platform
- You can track and pay bills on time
- Visually helpful chart and report options
- Secure registration and account access
- Compatible with mobile devices
- The premium option starts at $2.79 a month
- Free membership limited to five financial accounts
Buxfer helps you to easily administer your money, and shows you your financial picture in real time or at a specific period, such as at the end of the month, quarter or year.
Verdict - Great
Buxfer offers the same features that other top players in the online money management business provide. Some consumers complain that they were not able to set up accounts with specific banks and they had trouble setting up certain types of savings accounts like 401ks. However, most reviews say that set up was simple and easy. Again I don't really like budgeting sites putting themselves in your budget by charging membership fees for the full site. On the other hand, the fee is small and the service is worth it so I am rating it 4 and a half stars.
The best home budgeting software provides a collection of helpful and innovative tools and ways to better manage your money, increase your net surplus over time, and live debt-free. These programs also enable you to review all your accounts on a single platform, which can be a time saver, especially if you have several accounts ranging from credit card and mortgage to checking and savings accounts along with brokerage and money market accounts.
Budgeting Software FAQs
Should I use a budgeting site?
A budgeting site is not completely essential to keep track of your money with a organized budget. It is possible to effectively budget your personal finances on your own. All you really need is an intimate knowledge of your finances a basic idea of how to organize them. On the other hand, many budgeting sites are free and offer easy-to-use interfaces that help you organize. A good site can streamline your budgeting and make your experience easier. Budgeting sites also help you to manage multiple accounts for when you have a complicated financial structure.
If your personal finances are relatively simple it may not be necessary to use a site. Just create your own spreadsheet and keep track of your income and spending. If you'd like some extra organizational help then a budgeting site is a great option.
Should I give a budgeting site direct access to my accounts?
Many top budgeting sites require access to your bank accounts to give you full access to their features. This allows your exacted numbers to be automatically put into the budgeting tools. This also gives you access to handy features like automated alerts when it is time to make a payment and live budget tracking.
On the other hand you may be hesitant to give a company direct access to your bank account. If you aren't comfortable with that, there are plenty of sites that give you handy budgeting tools without requiring access to your accounts.
Of course, you should never give out your account information to someone you don't trust. If you do, make sure you are giving it to a reputable source and always monitor your accounts for transactions you don't recognize. If something seems strange in your account, report it.