It’s clear with the popularity of getting out of debt and radio shows like the Dave Ramsey show, debt-fueled “retail therapy” and keeping up with the Jones are losing popularity when compared with the freedom people are gaining by getting out of debt. Money is tighter than ever and people everywhere are looking for ways to maximize each dollar that finds it’s way into their checking account. The most practical way to make that happen is still by creating and managing a personal budget. While a basic spreadsheet will still work to accomplish this task, many are turning to technology to make the work easier, faster and more effective.
So what is the latest in personal finance software? Which budgeting software tools are leading the others? How much do they cost? Below are listed three of the most popular money management software packages, one from each type of payment option.
One Time Cost Personal Finance Software
YNAB is considered by many as the best personal finance application currently available. It uses the very effective envelope budgeting approach that is built into a 4 step “YNAB methodology” to focus users on the tasks that will actually make a difference in the way they manage their money. Those who are concerned about security will like YNAB too because it goes against the grain by NOT connecting to your financial institution. YNAB comes with a one time $60 price, but you can try it out with a 34 day free trial.
Monthly Subscription Personal Finance Software
Mvelopes is an online, flash-based financial application that is based on the envelope method of money management (you place your money in envelopes such as ‘groceries’, ‘rent’, and ‘entertainment’ and then spend as appropriate from those envelopes. Mvelopes carries $7-12 monthly fee based on how long you sign up for after your initial 14 day free trial.
Free Personal Finance Software
Mint.com is one of the better money management software tools. It gives a good snapshot of net worth and personal spending. It is definitely the flashiest, sleekest, most web 2.0ish of the personal financial applications out there. Mint carries no up front fee or monthly subscription.
It is true these three receive most of the attention, but there are many more options out there to consider. While most the personal accounting software tools are not free, many (like the two above) do offer free trials that will enable you to give them a test run before making a long term commitment. Keep in mind that setting up your finances can be a pain, so it might just be worth it to read the reviews and educate yourself prior to dropping money and time on a solutions for yourself. Doing your homework is likely to get the result you desire. These 3 personal finance software suggestions are by no means a comprehensive list. There are many more great options (I’ve reviewed over 20 so far) out there to choose from. If you are interested in seeing a larger list of available options for your home budget software, check out my reviews for the best Mac and Windows solutions.