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One of the most important things when it comes to personal finance is taking control of your money, instead of allowing it to control you.
You need to track your monthly income and expenses, and give every dollar a name and a job. All income should be assigned to an expense category, or to a saving category. Every penny. If you allow your excess income to remain unassigned, it will disappear, I guarantee it. (I know from personal experience.)
Budgeting Programs To Help Track Your Money
Tracking your family budget is becoming easier all the time as new software options appear on the market every day. Here's a giant list of some of the best budgeting options available. Some programs are free, some have free trials, and some do cost money. Both Mac and Windows programs are included.
Desktop And Online Money Applications
- Ace Money Lite: A freeware personal finance manager.
- Banktivity for Mac: A slick looking financial manager with a ton of features.
- Buddi: A personal finance and budgeting program.
- Budget5000: Plan your personal budget, track spending
- Budget Express: Create and manage a budget.
- Budget Simple: A free, easy to use online budget
- Budgeting Spending Plan: A budgeting guideline that shows amounts you should spend in certain categories.
- BudgetPulse: Organize your cash flow, expenses and bank accounts in one place.
- Budget Tracker: A feature rich money management tool.
- Buxfer.com: Easy online money management.
- ClearCheckbook: Money management software.
- Dave Ramsey's Personal Finance Software: Straight from the folks at DaveRamsey.com
- Financial Envelope Software: An envelope based budgeting software.
- Goodbudget: A full featured envelope budgeting site and set of apps. Has a free version and premium version. Full review here.
- GnuCash: A personal and small-business financial-accounting software.
- Home Budget:
- iCash: A personal finance manager for Mac and Windows.
- Inzolo: A super simple budgeting application based on the time-tested envelope method.
- JGnash Personal Finance: A free personal finance manager with many of the same features as commercially-available software.
- JustBudget: A free online web application to manage your personal budget.
- Liquid Ledger: Mac OS personal finance manager.
- Mint.com: Easy to use and full featured online money manager that allows you to check all your accounts in one place. Includes budgeting and saving tools.
- MiShell Budget Calendar: Take control of your finances with this easy to use, intuitive software that shows all transactions in an easy-to-understand calendar format.
- Moneydance Personal Finance Manager: Organize your finances, manage your budget, track your portfolio, or just automatically balance your checkbook. Moneydance can do it all.
- Moneyspire: People friendly finance management.
- Moneystrands: Free money manager that automatically pulls together data from your bank, credit card and investment accounts to provide an accurate, up-to-date picture of your financial life.
- Moneytrackin': free online webapp that allows you to track all your expenses and income easily.
- MoneyWell: Mac OS envelope budgeting.
- Mvelopes: An online personal finance and spending management system based on the envelope system.
- NeoBudget: An online budget system that uses the envelope method to help you track your spending habits and stick to a budget.
- Pear Budget: A simple budgeting and expense tracking service.
- Personal Capital: One of my go-to apps for keeping track of my finances and especially my investments. Full review here.
- Piggy Budget: Track your spending without complicated accounting.
- PLCash: PLCash is a platform-independent personal financial program.
- Pocketsmith.com: The unique forward-focus of PocketSmith tells you what sticking to budget means for the future of your money. It is a crystal ball for your bank accounts. Very cool!
- Quicken: Great desktop application that does it all.
- Quicken Online: Free, full featured and easy money management – online. Also works and syncs with the Quicken Iphone App. (Update: now merged with Mint.com)
- Rich Or Poor: Track income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and much more
- Squirrel for Mac: A personal finance application for Mac OS X.
- Snowmint Creative Budget: Manage your money to get out and stay out of debt.
- Tiller Money: Tiller Money helps you to budget using Google spreadsheets that will automatically pull in your transaction data from your bank. Very cool. Ready my full Tiller Money review here.
- Yodlee MoneyCenter: Free online money manager to track spending, pay bills and more.
- You Need A Budget : One of the more popular personal finance programs in the personal finance blogosphere, YNAB is highly recommended. Read my full YNAB 3 Review and YNAB 4 Review here. YNAB also now has an online version. (We use YNAB for our budget now.)
Excel Budget Templates
- Budget Spread: Spreadsheet from gatherlittlebylittle.com
- Budget Spreadsheet: Spreadsheet from financefreelancelife.com
- Dave Ramsey Allocated Spending Spreadsheet
- Enemy of Debt Budget: Spreadsheet from EnemyOfDebt.com
- Financial Snapshot & Budget: Spreadsheet from BudgetsAreSexy.com
- Google Docs Budget Templates: A bunch of usable budget templates.
- Tiller Budget Templates: Premium templates from Tiller.
- Vertex42 Budgets And Calculators: Budgets and a variety of other excel calculators.
- Windows Excel Templates: A variety of excel budget spreadsheets are available here.
- Zero Based Budget
iOS & Android Money Apps
- Bank Of America App: If you have accounts with BoA like I do, this may come in handy. Includes bank and ATM locator that uses Iphone's GPS.
- Banktivity Mobile: iPhone app that lets you keep track of your day-to-day spending and account balances on the go.
- Bill Minder: Track recurring bills, mark bills as being paid or unpaid, and manage payment info.
- Bloomberg Mobile: Mobile version of Bloomberg's financial news, stock info, etc.
- BUDGT: iPhone app that helps you setup a budget based on your recurring income and expenses.
- Chase Finance: If you have an account with Chase, this is their online banking app.
- Daily Finance: Money news, stock quotes, stock market news, etc.
- Dollarbird: Keep a close eye on your cash flow for better financial planning.
- Goodbudget: online software was mentioned, but they also have apps available that are extremely helpful.
- Home Budget: Budget apps for iOS and Android.
- iBearMoney: An intuitive personal finance manager.
- Level Money: Level Money helps you plan ahead for essentials like rent and bills, and then lets you set a target savings goal.
- Mint.com Iphone App: Great app for always knowing where you are with your finances – gives you a complete picture of all your accounts. Also on Android.
- Money Lover: A budget planner and expense tracker.
- Moneystrands Mobile: Mobile version of the online application above.
- Pay Off Debt: This app is dedicated to helping you run your debt snowball.
- Pennies App: An expense tracker that helps you track your spending against budget goals.
- Personal Capital: I mentioned their online software up above, but they're worth mentioning again because of their superb app.
- PocketMoney: a full featured budgeting and account tracking tool.
- PocketGuard: Seamlessly control your money, bills and budget from a single place.
- QuickBank: A simple multi-account financial management application featuring a tabbed interface.
- Quicken Online Mobile: Syncs with the Quicken online financial tools mentioned above.
- Spendee: On iPhone and Android, this app helps you to visualize where your money is going.
- Spending Tracker: Simple application that allows you to track your budget.
- Splash Money: Full checkbook and finance tracking tool.
- Squirrel for Iphone: Mobile version of the MacOS personal finance application above.
- Wally: Expense tracker and budget app.
My Personal Choice For Best Budgeting Software
So there are a ton of options on this page for budgeting software. I have personally tried quite a few of them, and when it comes down to it there are three main ones that I would recommend, and that I use on a regular basis. Those include:
- You Need A Budget: This has been my go to budgeting software for going on 5 years now. I use it every day, and my wife and I both prefer it to other software.
- Tiller Money: I also have started using Tiller Money as an easy to use automated budgeting spreadsheet to complement YNAB. It automatically pulls my bank transactions and categorizes them for me. I love it – and they have an Excel spreadsheet version as well!
- Personal Capital: I use this mainly for tracking my investment accounts. It gives me a good 10,000 foot view of my investing activity, and has some good tracking for general finances as well.
Do you have a favorite personal finance software – either online, desktop or mobile? If you do, let us know about it (and leave a link) in the comments. We'll add it to the list!