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What are the best software tools for personal finance?

Please list what you like about the software you use.

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locked by Chris W. Rea Feb 8 '13 at 1:52

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The best one is the one that you use. –  Drew Stephens Aug 4 '10 at 22:36
    
Similar to: money.stackexchange.com/questions/972 –  brainimus Aug 5 '10 at 2:49
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This question is incredibly subjective. It provides no metric for best. I realize it's from the old days, but still I don't think it's a shiny example of the site. –  C. Ross Jun 7 '11 at 12:55
    
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15 Answers 15

Mint.com—Easy solution to provide insight into finances.

Pros:

  • Web based
  • Automatically updates all accounts
  • Free
  • Works in plain english
  • Supports large number of institutions
  • "Goals" feature lets you define and track savings goals
  • Clear spending reports help you balance your budget and identify areas to trim spending.
  • Dedicated support team as well as Community based support

Cons:

  • Can not perform transactions though it - you can only view transactions
  • Can not track cash efficiently.
  • Web based - they store a copy of your credentials and transactions until you delete your account
  • Accounts often fail to update causing much frustration
  • Only works in the USA & Canada
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And theyre is just too much going on in the site. Quicken.com was much more clean and straight forward. Mint is like a little kid trying to make you look at everything. ugh, hate it. –  Jack Marchetti Aug 4 '10 at 21:54
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Mint.com would be just fine... if it could keep actually update the accounts once in a while –  d03boy Aug 4 '10 at 23:21
    
@d03boy - it took me 3 weeks for it to add my student loans. I seriously hate mint.com –  Jack Marchetti Aug 5 '10 at 15:02
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Mint can NOT manually upload a QIF or OFX document. This means that there is no way to synchronize a bank if their automated system cannot support it. Only 2 out of 4 of my accounts are supported by their automated systems, the others perpetually report "Fix It!". –  Precipitous Aug 15 '10 at 21:14
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No other product comes close to making things as automated and easy to use. Sadly, it isnt perfect but they do a great job of trying to fix things. I have 19 accounts and all update daily with almost no issue. Takes the work out of budgets. –  AdamV Apr 9 '12 at 23:49
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GnuCash—Great for the meticulous who want to know every detail of their finances.

Pros:

  • Free.
  • Locally stored, so you know you information is secure.
  • Can import statements from most major banks.
  • Supports American and Eurpoean banking data protocols (OFX and FinTS).
  • Tracks prices of currencies and common investments (stocks, mutual funds, bonds)
  • Scheduled transaction calculations (for example, splitting out principle and interest from a given loan payment).
  • Double entry accounting standards to helps with research and audits.
  • Complete reports and graphs make understanding you finances easy.
  • Budgets
  • Open Source software

Cons:

  • Community supported, so getting answers to problems can occasionally be time consuming.
  • Designed for business accounting, so interface is sometimes more complicated the needed for personal finance.
  • Double entry accounting can be complicated for a beginner.
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Then offer an answer you have some experience with. –  Anonymous Aug 4 '10 at 22:36
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@cyotee Just because I don't know about it doesn't mean that it isn't an option. Since this is community wiki others that have experience with it can edit it to add content. –  brainimus Aug 4 '10 at 22:41
    
I tried GnuCash for a while. Don't love it but it's powerful –  theo Aug 12 '10 at 13:36
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This is my preferred. Great software, much more powerful than Mint; the only downside is that it takes more effort. –  Benjamin Chambers Oct 26 '10 at 18:17
    
I would argue that for the average user, internet storage is far more secure than local. –  Nick T Apr 14 '12 at 20:58
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I like You Need A Budget (YNAB)

Pros:

  • Integrated budget as key concept, not an afterthought. This is far and way YNAB's best feature, being able to plan what your money will do rather than monitoring it after it has been spent.
  • Refined interface that is visually appealing.
  • Easy setup and use.
  • Can manually enter or import transactions from any financial institution supporting Quicken.
  • Can track cash.
  • Free, frequent updates until the next major version. The updates sometimes include new functionality.
  • No forced upgrades or expiring download capabilities.
  • License allows installation on multiple computers.

Cons:

  • The application is focused on day to day finances. Although you can track stocks, mutual funds, etc., the application does not provide specialized interfaces or tools for this activity.
  • Data not in the cloud, but you can sync to an iPhone app or an Android app. Data can now be in DropBox.
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Beat me to it. YNAB is awesome. –  roufamatic Aug 5 '10 at 16:14
    
Do you have a pros / cons list for YNAB? –  Gates VP Apr 9 '12 at 1:06
    
@GatesVP - Thanks for asking, I added some. –  Leigh Riffel Apr 9 '12 at 13:28
    
"Data not in the cloud" would seem to me to be a potential pro as well as con, depending on your point of view. –  Michael Kjörling Feb 6 '13 at 8:39
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Excel

Pros:

  • Extremely flexible
  • Many available spreadsheet templates that can automate many tasks
  • Easy to import / export data
  • Easy to generate graphs / charts

Cons:

  • Difficult initial set up
  • Less convenient than a dedicated budget solution
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Great for everything except one aspect. It doesn't automatically download information from my banks. If it did that it would be absolutely perfect. –  theo Aug 12 '10 at 13:37
    
in the same theme, google spreadsheet. pro is its in the cloud and a web app, a con is you loose a few graphing options. –  antony.trupe Aug 31 '12 at 2:32
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Intuit Quicken.

Pros:

  • Fairly Easy setup
  • Good Account Management
  • Lots of Flexibility
  • Will automatically pull transactions from most banks

Cons:

  • Possibly too complex for many users
  • Bad file format
  • Unclear behavior
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Why is Quicken good? And what's it's status now that Intuit bought Mint.com? –  Anonymous Aug 4 '10 at 22:34
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I use Quicken and while I have some issues with it it's the best Desktop Software I've found so far. Pros: Fairly Easy setup, Good Account Management, Lots of Flexibility. Cons: Possibly too complex for many users, Bad file format, Unclear behavior –  theo Aug 12 '10 at 13:36
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What does "bad file format" mean? –  poolie Jun 7 '11 at 5:00
    
Native data files are not human-consumable like tab-delimited or CSV, and they're not accepted by many other pieces of software (though Quicken can IIRC export ledgers etc in Excel format) –  KeithS Feb 6 '13 at 2:09
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I just switched (from the abandoned, but good MS Money) to Moneydance 2010

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I always liked MS Money. I was sad when they killed it off. –  theo Aug 12 '10 at 13:34
    
Isn't a free version still available? –  Jaywalker Nov 24 '10 at 10:14
    
the free version doesn't support downloading anything. –  superfell Nov 24 '10 at 16:04
    
@superfell I think the free version allows unlimited downloaded transactions but it only allows 100 manually entered transactions. Its just intended for trial purposes. –  Kevin Stembridge Oct 27 '11 at 12:25
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http://www.Mvelopes.com

Mvelopes is envelope-style budgeting in an online application. I've tried all of the other applications and I choose to pay for this one for the following reasons:

  • Automatically downloads transactions from banks
  • Envelopes let you spread income and know exactly what you have for each category at present
  • Billpay service that integrates with envelopes
  • 12 month spending plan(budget)
  • Debt tracker
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For Mac it's definitely iFinance.

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I use iBank for Mac to keep track of my expenses. I also use the iPhone version since they can sync over Wi-Fi and I can capture expenses right on the spot instead of trying to remember what I spent on when I turn on my laptop.

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KMyMoney

Pros:

  • Free (and open source)
  • Easy to use
  • Locally stored, so you know you information is secure.
  • Can import statements from most major banks. (OFX)
  • Tracks prices of currencies and common investments (stocks, mutual funds, bonds)
  • Scheduled transactions
  • Graph / Reporting tools
  • Basic budget tool
  • Works on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX

Cons:

  • Windows and Mac OSX support not as good as Linux support
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For iPhone: iExpenseIt

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  • Highly customizable and practical.
  • Visual indicator of monthly budget vs expenses.
  • Overview of Today's spending vs daily spending average.
  • Expense Summary of total, average expense per day and top expense of the month
  • Repeat Expenses - allow recurring expenses such as monthly rent, mortgage, utility bills, etc.
  • Customize Detail / Simple monthly Budgets.
  • Store digital photo receipts.
  • Instantly generate graphical reports.
  • Dynamic reports view: Specify reports by criteria such as report by payment, by vendors, etc.
  • Supports VAT/GST.
  • and so on... see the link ;)
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Money Manager Ex

PROS:

  • It is free and open
  • Simple
  • Does not require an install. Can run from a USB key

CONS

  • Weak importing feature
  • No any localized rule (e.g. taxes)
  • No portable device support
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crashes for me sometimes –  Jaywalker Nov 24 '10 at 10:15
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Emergency Account Vault (Windows)

I use it to store info about all of my accounts/assets in an encrypted document. It's more for keeping track of everything that is in your name than managing money. Good for situations when you need to quickly look up info about a specific account you own.

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For any android device you can try: Daily Expense Manager - to track your expenses and a host of other apps to suit your specific needs.

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