Online banking is a great tool to pay bills and reduce paper statements. However, it cannot establish a budget or categorize your expenses. A financial tracking software gives you the ability to review how you are spending your money — Dan Crimmins
Improving financial management skills often requires a lifestyle adjustment: a change in habit of keeping a constant watch on your cash flow and net worth. Can you imagine an accountant keeping track of all the debits and credits in his head for an entire month before checking to see if he’s within budget and cash allowance? Taking time every day to check on your finances is a healthy habit, and a financial management app can help you save time and make that habit easier to develop.
The team at The Simple Dollar thoroughly researched 43 of the most popular personal finance software from apps to desktop to determine the best ones.
They hunted down apps that offered a full suite of tools cutting out ones that didn’t sync with accounts or were not available on multiple systems like phones and tablets. After narrowing down their list from 43 options to the top 10, they created profiles with each and tested them. The result?
These top three programs (and two honorable mentions!)
Mint — With a robust suite of features that are easy to learn, Mint came out on top. The app makes setting up a budget simple, and it allows you to create an intuitive plan to suit your lifestyle. Mint also helps you plan for long-term goals, and keeps your short-term goals in perspective by letting you know if you’re running out of money for the month. The best part about Mint? It’s free!
YNAB — YNAB, or You Need a Budget, is great for people who have a lot of steady, recurring expenses. The app only lets you budget money you’ve earned (not money you think you’ll earn in the future). YNAB also does a great job of holding you accountable: it doesn’t let you go over budget in a category without reducing your spending limit in a different category. Unlike Mint, YNAB isn’t free, but they have a 34-day free trial you can take advantage of to see if the app works for your needs.
Personal Capital — Personal Capital Personal Capital looks at your total financial health: your assets, your liabilities, your cash, your investments, and your net worth, rather than your budget. This app works best for people who struggle with budgeting: with Personal Capital, it doesn’t matter if you spent more on food this month, so long as your net worth is higher than it was last month.
Honorable Mentions — Quicken and Prosper Daily
Quicken has a lot of the same basic functionality of Mint, but is intended for a slightly more experienced audience. The true downside? The software runs at $75 for Mac and $30–$95 for the Windows editions.
Prosper Daily is a free mobile app that only tracks your spending, making it a great supplementary tool that’s easy to use, but it’s not the complete package.
What Do These Apps Have in Common?
- They’re easy to use, so you’ll be more inclined to check them every day
- They motivate and teach you how to manage your money better
- They’re bank secure so you don’t have to worry about keep your data and funds safe
- They seamlessly work on your desktop and mobile devices
The Bottom Line
Personal finance software can send you emails with financial tips, alerts to warn you about your spending, and show you the data. But remember: only you can make the decision to spend or save those dollars. No matter how good a personal finance software program is, the only person who can change your finances for the better is you.
For more information regarding their selection process and tips to use each software, visit The Simple Dollar: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-personal-finance-software/
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