Best Personal Finance Software 2014

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personal finance software

Find the best personal finance software

Once upon a time I started on a quest.  It was the most noble of pursuits – to find the best personal finance software.

My mission, of which I was given no opportunity to accept, is to find or upgrade my a personal finance software by April 30th.


I had  Quicken Personal Finance Software, but alas my friends at the Intuit company want to continue to generate income so as of that date I will no longer be able to update my information via the internet.  This, unfortunately, renders my current software as virtually useless.

So, to be honest I’m a little anxious to get away from Quicken.  I wanted to teach Quicken a lesson (don’t charge useless fees or you’ll lose customers) but, I didn’t want to deal with the learning curve of a new program.

Personal Capital | Best Free Web based Personal Finance Programs

If you like free products and your comfortable with a web based product Personal Capital will be a great product for you.  Once synced all your accounts you’ll have the opportunity to track your spending and your investments in one single place.  Previously Mint.com was the best web based product, but Mint doesn’t track investments.  Personal Capital is free and it tracks investments.  Your expenses are automatically synced and you have an opportunity to track your spending from there.

 

Mint – easy to use and navigate, popular, satisfied users.  Cannot track cash, small bank and credit union issues, tracks what has been spend instead of what will be spent.

Moneydance |Best Paid Desktop Personal Finance Program

MoneyDance – Here’s my full Moneydance review.

I’ll be honest – I’d never heard of Moneydance before I started this search.  However, there seems to be a lot of positive comments about it that ultimately this is one of the products I’m going to try.

Their foreign currency capabilities is one of the most appealing elements.

You Need A Budget (YNAB)

YNAB personal finance software

YNAB is very specific in what it does (budgeting) but also very effective for that.

The YNAB philosophy is build on four simple tenants: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, Give Every Dollar a Job, Save for a Rainy Day, and Roll with the Punches.  The budgeting software was created to help you do those four things in the easiest way possible.

YNAB is both Mac and PC compatible.  It is easy to navigate and has a crisp interface.

Here is a YNAB review.  If you want to start a 7 day free trail you can do that here.

Other free products:

Yodlee www.yodlee.com

If you want a product that has a different feel to it try the free PocketSmith online tool.  If you want to try and win a free PocketSmith premium membership valued at $60 just be sure to leave a comment on one of the Money Saving Monday posts this month.

Disadvantages of these free products:

  • Most free products mean you will be seeing ads on the webpage.  Some people are fine with this and other would rather pay for something than see ads.
  • They give you the bank’s balance, but it’s not so easy to know what checks or charges are outstanding.
  • There is reports of compatibility issues with smaller banks and credit unionsI mentioned at the start of this post that I’m not really interested in a web based product so obviously I didn’t really seriously consider any of these.  But, I did want to point them out for you.

GnuCash | Best Free Desktop Personal Finance Program

GnuCash (http://www.gnucash.org/) was the most recommended application.  I am also going to give this a try (alongside MoneyDance) however I’m less confident about GnuCash because the reviews talk about how it has a pretty steep learning curve.  I’m not one to stick around a lot of complicated programs so we’ll if I survive the trial.

MoneyWell | Best Personal Finance Software For Mac Users

MoneyWell is a must try program for Mac users.  There was some great comments and recommendations for MoneyWell.

Mvelopes & YNAB | Best For Personal Finance Programs For Budgeting

Mvelopes is an online finance tool that uses the often recommended envelop budgeting system, but with a twist. It uses electronic envelopes.

Once expenses are recorded that amount is removed from your envelope. This is a perfect alternative for people who like to use their credit or debit card for spending, but are attracted to the envelop budgeting system.

Once transactions are downloaded from your financial institution you simply drag and drop those transaction into an expense envelope. Mvelopes does have a 14 day free trial.  It’s a cool alternative to you standard personal finance software.

Click here to try Mvelopes.

Moneydance: My Final Choice For Personal Finance Software

I automatically eliminated the free online products, because I wanted a desktop version.

Earlier this year I did purchase and use You Need A Budget.  It was a great program, but it did not have the foreign currency tools that is so important to me.

I was intimidated by GnuCash.

So I went with MoneyDance.  I’ll give a full review sometime in the future but I can say we really like it (we’ve had it for a couple of months now).  For full disclosure I should mention that the folks at MoneyDance gave me a free copy of their product.  But, they didn’t give me a free copy until I first bought MoneyDance for $40.00 (updated 8/27/10 – the purchase price in now 49.99).  When the found out I was a personal finance blogger they refunded my money.

I wanted to finish this post with a quick fact about MoneyDance from one of their online reps:

In case you don’t already know this, we have a generous trial so users can decide if they like our program before they purchase it.  The demo version is fully-functional and allows you to manually enter 100 transactions. Imported transactions are not limited.  If users decide to purchase the program at a later date you can keep all your data, the license key simply unlocks the ability to manually enter more transactions.  … We also provide online customer support to all of our users, even those who are using the free trial version.

Get your free MoneyDance trial version today.

Is personal finance software necessary?

For a moment I thought about taking a stand against buying a software package.  Instead, I was going to use Excel (just like I do for my personal budget) to track everything.  However, I quickly realized that this would be a lot of work to set up and I don’t want to take the time to customized everything to track my investments and such.

I decided that I would buy another software.

What Personal Finance Software Features are Most Important To You?

Initially I was going to set this up like my 88 best personal finance books post where I tried to find the most recommended personal finance software.  However, I quickly came to discover that the best personal finance software has everything to do with what you are expecting and what you prefer from your software.

Here’s what’s most important for me:

  • A product that allows me to see all my account balance and activity in one single location
  • Can download information from the internet
  • Tracks investments
  • Foreign currency features are important
  • Customizable and proactive (not just reactive – I can enter information not just sort bills once the money has been spent)
  • Because of my lame internet service I prefer a desktop version not web based

A Note About Free Personal Finance Software

I think that we can all learn something from the fact that Microsoft Money recently closed it’s doors.  They cannot compete against the free products.  I take that as a compliment to the free stuff.  Just because a product is free does not mean it is not any good.  When searching for personal finance software try free first.

Methodology: How Did I Find the Best Personal Finance Programs?

I started looking around online for recommended personal finance software.  I looked at several different sites and reviews.  Here were three that I enjoyed:

But one of my first stops was the most beneficial – Get Rich Slowly.  I read JD Roths’ post on the best personal finance programs.  The article was good, but I’m found a gold mine in the comments sections.  There was 230 comments where some people suggested their favorite finance programs (not all suggested their favorite software).

The thing I like about the comments is they are real people who have no incentive to promote a product (except of course the developers and employees who left comments).

I did more searching, but the comments helped me find the best personal finance software.

This post includes affiliate links, please see our ad policy.

Anyone have any favorite personal finance programs they can recommend?  Be sure you let us know if it is a desktop product or web based.

Comments

  1. says

    @Allison. I’ve never heard of Green Sherpa. It would be the most expensive product out there because even Quicken is around $80 to buy and you get it for three years. This would be $96.00 per year. Hmmm.

  2. says

    Thanks for the article. I’m still mourning the loss (and using) MS Money, which I found worked great for me!!! I’ve been putting off switching to quicken, but I’ll have to give Money Dance a try now.

    Good post, thanks!
    .-= AussiePete´s last blog ..Luke 24: The Core Gospel =-.

    • says

      @AussiePete
      I used MS Money about 8 years ago, but it has been awhile. Yeah, try MoneyDance. You can try it for free and if you don’t like it then purchase Quicken.

  3. Allison says

    Craig- you can buy a subscription for a year at around 5/month. No annoying ads and they don’t sell your personal financial information like other sites like Mint do.

    • says

      @Allison. I’ve never used Mint so I can can’t say anything about the ads. From what I found in a little research Mint has not sold any customer information – do you have a source that they sell information? What I read is that they have not make a public statement that they will not and that does concern some people in case Mint does decide to sell it, but honestly I don’t completly know. Does anyone know if Mint does or does not sell information – that would a serious consideration. If they do it would seem like financial suicide.
      At $5 per month it would be around the same cost as PocketSmith, but would still be a more expensive product. I’m not saying that is bad as long as the product is worth the price.

  4. says

    Thanks for the review. I use quicken because MS money is no longer available. I am getting used to it, but I don’t like it as much. I think I will look into moneydance, this is my first time hearing about it.

    • says

      @Broke by Choice
      I know a lot of people are in the same situation as you. They can’t use Money anymore, but can’t find something they like. I hope MoneyDance fills the missing void :).

  5. Joe Young says

    Has anyone tried AceMoney? I am updating to Windows 7 (home premium 64 bit so I won’t have XP compatibility) from XPpro and don’t think my quicken 2000 will work. Am also considering MoneyDance. Don’t want an online app. Thanks.

    • says

      Joe,
      I’ve personally never used AceMoney, but let’s see if a reader has. I’m surprised your Quicken 2000 is sitll working now. It is probably time for an upgrade :).

  6. Winston says

    I am taking over the bills from my wife and have been looking for software. I have tried Mint and love what it does. It just does not do enough. You cannot input upcoming recurring bills. There are no bill reminders (except on credit cards). All it does is monitor your multiple account transactions and breaks them up into catagories. If all you want to do is monitor your spending, then it is great. If you want anymore functionality then you need something else.

    I have also recently signed up for a free trial of Mvelopes, the Crown financial ministries version. What do you think of it?

    • says

      @Winston
      I’ve never used Mvelopes. The main advantage of a product like You Need A Budget, Moneydance, and (Quicken – sort of) is that you don’t have an ongoing monthly charge. If you used a product for 3 years. Just tak the monthly cost. It looks like a 2 year subscription is $6 per month. That means over two years you pay $144. Personally, I’d rather pay 39.99 for Moneydance.
      Here is a good Mvelopes review http://www.christianpf.com/mvelopes-personal-budgeting-review/.

  7. Hareiana says

    Hi Craig, I was looking for a review of Out Of The Dark (OOTD) budgeting and money management free web app, but could not find one as yet. Have you heard of this web app? Do you have a review of it? I heard about it from a friend and it looks very good to me and many tell me that it is one of the best free deals on the web, still it would be nice to read a professional review of it before I start using it.

    Your comments would be appreciated.

  8. Rasha Gad says

    I used Mint primary because “It pulls your transactions and starts to track them” and really that is what mint is supposed to be all about because it is not a budgeting tool nor is it able to predict cash flow, ..etc. But guess what !!! after using the software for 1 year now and was completely confident that it pulls all my transactions from my bank accounts, i found out that IT DOES NOT!! I was devastated because I based all my tax returns, budgeting .. etc on the transaction on Mint. I went to Mint user online form and found out that this is a common problem and Mint claims to be working on it. I contacted Mint and pointed them out to the problem ( which was i was missing out 1 month of transactions ) and after 4 emails back and forth in which I have answered all questions asked and gave them enough proof of the error they could not find a solution to it and stopped communicating with me all together!! So bottom line, It Is Not A Reliable Software.. you will be keeping your books based on incomplete financial info and after all its free .. so you really have no where to go when problems happen and they can not resolve it .. Sad to say but, I would recommend against using Mint!!

  9. Alan Marcell says

    Hi,
    good applications, but I would like to suggest one I use. It’s called Home budget box http://www.homebudgetbox.com . Really nice application which allows you to manage your personal finances with ease. Best of all is its rich GUI. Well that’s my opinion :).

  10. Hareiana says

    Rasha, I started using Out Of The Dark Budgeting (OOTD) and from what I can see problems like you saw with Mint cannot happen with OOTD because they give you full control over bringing your bank transactions over to your OOTD budget, and they let you do this without ever giving out access to your bank accounts which I love. I also appreciate the Cash Put-Aside feature built into my budget, so all in all a pretty good little budgeting web app totally free with the best security that comes from using it anonymously. Give it a try at: http://www.myootd.org

  11. Diane says

    I’m currently using https://www.inexfinance.com/ software and I think it’s great. It’s essential for any financial tool to be flexible so that you can adjust its features to your own financial situation and needs. Only then you can derive maximum benefits and actually see your finances improving.

  12. Sylvie-Catherine says

    Hello, for over 10 years, I use Microsoft Money. Unfortunately, I have to change software. In your opinion, all the software offered, which is closest microsoft money ..

    • Hareiana says

      Hi Sylvie, I too have not used MS Money but if you are looking for a good budgeting tool that lets you use it anonymously without giving out your personal identity or access to your bank accounts, and which is unconditionally free, you can check Out Of The Dark (OOTD) Budgeting. I use it for about 2 years now and it works great for all my budgeting and cash management needs, it also has a great Cash Put-Aside feature and what they call Credit Card Debt Terminator built in.

      I hope you find what you are looking for…

  13. Anita says

    I live in the UK but I am a dual citizen (US/Spain) so I have been looking or the ideal program to balance all three currencies. I’ve tried Mint.com but, like Bing, their “thinking” doesn’t help me. I had to constantly change what they categorized for my transactions. In addition to downloading the apps for the banks that I use, I use three tools, two PC/MAC desktop programs with their respective apps, and one completely online. I use HomeBudget and YNAB on my computer as well as on my mobile devices. They both connect with DropBox, I have the option of uploading my bank files while not giving out my information, but one helps me budget my money where the other lets me see an overall view of my finances. YNAB works more on a monthly rotation, and I used to use weekly budgets. I love YNAB, but I also use the function My Weekly Budget, where I have a little more control of my immediate spending and not on larger bills. Things like gas spending or dining out I feel I have better control of with MWB. While controlling three budgets may seem daunting, it’s helped me verify what I’ve been doing and staying on track.

    I’ve tried Homebank, MoneyStrands, and GNUCash but it doesn’t work with my needs.

    • Hareiana says

      Hi Anita, all three functions are done by Out Of The Dark (OOTD) Budgeting online for free and without giving personal identity or access to your bank accounts. It allows you to bring into your budget transactions from your account via the files from your bank and have total control on which transaction to take and which to leave out and also to which of your custom budget category each bank transaction should go. It provides simple instructions on how to do this yourself with total control over the transfer mapping based on your custom budget. It is a fully functional budgeting tool flexible to handle any budgeting period that you choose (monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, etc) with powerful add-ons like cash put-aside and credit card debt terminator built into your budget and it also gives you overall analysis control with reports over your cash situation, historical budgets and transactions plus a complete personal assets manager also built in. The only think I am not sure about is handling of currency conversion which I never need.

  14. Tom Clarke says

    So, most of these software packages let you download the bank stuff and that’s great but far as the banks are concerned credit card payments are just single pay items. Do any of them facilitate getting the credit card info as well? I’d think you’d need to break down the itemized credit card charges to really know what you’re spending when and where. Thanks.

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