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15+ Best Personal Finance & Budgeting Software for 2018

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Whether you're just starting out or established in your career, most of us struggle with personal finances. Good personal finance software can help you manage your money, but there are a lot of options out there. Which money management software should you choose?

In this article we examine over 15 of the best personal finance software options out there--many of which are free or low cost. Some tools can also be used for home or business accounting needs. Finally, we'll discuss using spreadsheets for your money management needs.

Why a Budget Is Important

If you're like most of us, you're struggling to get your personal finances under control. According to statistics from US Federal Reserve, almost half of adults in the U.S. couldn't afford to make an emergency payment of only four hundred dollars. From the same study, nearly 25% of adults struggle to meet their monthly expenses.  The financial picture isn't much better for those living in other parts of the world. In Great Britain, for example, the average household debt has topped 3000 pounds according to the Office for National Statistics. That study also found that almost one in five British residents report that their debt is a heavy burden.

Getting control of your personal finances is a serious matter. The consequences of too much debt can be serious: a spoiled credit rating, repossessed vehicles and/or foreclosures on your home, and even personal bankruptcy. But keeping track of your spending is hard. It's just too easy to spend a little money here and a little money there. But before you know it all those little expenditures have added up to too much money.

That's where a budget comes in. A good budget can help you track how you spend your money and help you plan to use it better. A good budgeting or personal finance tool can even help you to devise a savings plan and get ahead of your expenses. Other financial software tools can help you save or even invest your money. So, let's take a look at some of the best personal finance software available so that you can find the one that's right for your needs.

15 Top Personal Finance & Budgeting Software

If you're planning to get your personal finances in order in 2018, here are 15 tools to help you do it:

1. YNAB 

YNAB Personal Budget Software

This popular tool is listed as the best personal budget software by many reviewers. Develop a budget that's based on your goals, but flexible enough to meet unexpected expenses. YNAB syncs to your bank account to give you real-time financial information. Plus, you can automatically generate charts and graphs to track your progress. This is strictly a budgeting tool though, so you won't find investing or tax tools.

2. Mint 

Mint Personal Financial Software

This popular personal finance software makes it easy to track and pay your bills. You'll be able to set up automatic bill payments from within the software. Mint makes creating your budget easy and even offers budget and money management suggestions. There's a mobile app, and you can even find out your credit score free of charge. A downside to mint is that, since it's free, you'll see lots of ads.

3. Quicken

Quicken Financial Software

Quicken offers a family of money management software tools ranging from the Starter version to the Home & Business version. It works well on a PC or a Mac, and there's now a mobile app too. In addition to creating a budget, use it to analyze your financial situation or investments. With the Home & Business version you can even manage a small business or track freelance income. While Quicken is well-known as one of the best personal accounting software options, some may find it has more options than they need.

4. Mvelopes

Mvelopes Budget Software

This personal budget software is based on the popular concept of creating "an envelope" for each budget expense category. Except with Mvelopes your budget envelopes are virtual. Use your income to "fund" the expense categories. There are three levels of Mvelopes available, ranging from the Mvelopes Basic level that just runs on your mobile device to Mvelopes Complete, which includes a monthly meeting with a personal finance trainer. The free level of Mvelopes limits the number of envelopes you can have--a restriction that's lifted for the premium users.

5. Acorns

Acorns Personal Investing Tool

You don't have to be rich to start investing your money with this helpful personal finance software tool. With the Acorn app, each time you make a purchase the difference between your purchase cost and the nearest dollar is invested. For example, if you spent $1.50 USD, $2.00 USD would be deducted from your bank account. The extra fifty cents would be invested. You're literally investing your spare change. This is known as micro investing. The more you spend, the more you could save. And it's free for college students with a current .edu email address.

6. EveryDollar

EveryDollar Home Budgeting Software

If you're looking for the best budgeting software, you'll want to consider EveryDollar. Although it's a fairly new budgeting tool, it's already been getting good reviews. It has preset budget items to streamline the budgeting process for you. There's a free version and a paid version of this software. With the paid version, you can automatically import bank account or credit card transactions. With the free version, you'll see ads in your interface. Since this is a new money management software, they are still adding features. So, this tool may offer more functionality in the future.

7. LearnVest

LearnVest Investment Tool

With LearnVest you get access to a financial planner who can help design a custom financial plan for you. Once your plan is designed, you can email questions or take advantage of their tools, articles, classes, and other resources. There's a one-time setup fee (which can be financed) and a monthly subscription cost. While this tool costs more than many personal finance software tools, it's less than many financial planners would charge. Keep in mind that it's a financial planning tool rather than a budget tool, though.

8. PocketGuard

PocketGuard Money Management App

This money management software automatically is designed to let you see your financial picture quickly and easily. Connect the PocketGuard app to your accounts so it can track your bills and create a budget for you. Once you're connected, it suggests ways to help you lower costs and improve your financial picture. Best of all, you'll always know how much cash you have that not needed for bills and other essentials.

9. Moneydance

Moneydance Personal Finance Software

Use this personal finance software for more than just budgeting. Moneydance can also handle online banking, bill payment, and more. You can even use it to track your investments. Plus, you can use the graphing tool to create pie charts, graphs, and other visual representations of your financial picture. One handy feature is the ability to set up recurring payments and reminders.

10. Wallet

Wallet Financial Tool

With this personal budget software, you can devise a budget that makes sense to you. With Wallet, set a budget with spending limits and payment categories. It tracks your expenses manually or automatically. You can also set up recurring bills, reminders, and even shopping lists. It also gives you the ability to share your finances with another person, which could be useful for families or small businesses.

11. Prism

Prism Bill Tracking

If handling bills is your financial stressor, you'll want to check out Prism. The free budgeting app gives you a way to manage all your bills at once. It notifies you when you receive a bill and lets you choose whether you want to pay the bill now or later. Since the app works with directly with the billing companies, you don't have to wait for a payment to post.

12. Digit

Digit Money Savings Tool

Do you struggle to save money? If so, Digit may be the money management software you need. The tool calculates how much you can save each day. Then, it automatically moves that amount from your Digit savings account. You're kept up-to-date via text messages. When you want to withdraw money from your savings, send a text message and Digit will transfer the money back to your checking account.  

13. CountAbout

CountAbout Finance Software

This cloud-based personal budget software includes a lot of important budget features such as the ability to split transactions, automatic syncing, and financial reports. You can import data from Quicken or Mint software to CountAbout, making it easy to switch from other financial software packages. Plus, you can compare your budget to your actual spending. However, you can't pay bills or track your investments.

14. Dollarbird 

Dollarbird Financial Software

DollardBird cloud-based personal finance software uses a calendar to help you manage your income and expenses. It automatically figures out your cash balance for a defined period. You can also choose to share your information with a family member or partner. If you run a small business, you can upgrade to the Business plan which offers unlimited calendars and allows you to have unlimited team members.

15. GnuCash

GnuCash Money Management Tool

Whether you're looking for inexpensive money management software for your business or home, GnuCash can help. It's free accounting software developed by volunteers (although contributions to the project are encouraged). Because it's a project rather than a commercial product, this tool has a community around it. Resources include Wiki, documentation, and a mailing list to communicate with developers and other users.

Using a Spreadsheet as Personal Accounting Software

If you understand how to use spreadsheets, you may find that popular spreadsheet tools meet your home accounting software needs. 

Here are two popular spreadsheets you may want to use for budgeting or other money management needs. I've also included some tutorial links to help you get up to speed on each spreadsheet.

16. Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel

Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet tools available. Enter your data in the spreadsheet cells and add formulas to calculate your balances. Excel also allows you to generate many different types of graphs and charts for a visual picture of your finances. Plus, Excel files can be exported to .pdf or other popular formats. And, it works seamlessly with other Microsoft Office tools.

Excel won't sync to your bank accounts, however. So, you'll need to enter and update your information manually.

16. Google Sheets 

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is another extremely popular spreadsheet program. It was designed to be cloud-based with powerful real-time online sharing features--which could be especially helpful if you're using it as a financial tool for your small business. As part of Google Drive, it's also free.

Like Excel, you enter data and formulas into Google Sheets to get it perform financial calculations. Also like Excel, you can make professional charts and graphs. Don't expect it to connect to your bank accounts or automatically pay your bills, though.

Conclusion

You can gain control of your personal finances by using the right personal finance software. Don't let your finances suffer for another day. Choose the best personal accounting software that's right for you and use the resources and tips in this article to start managing your money wisely.

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