The Best Personal Finance Tracking Software

February 12, 2013

personal finance softwareIf you want to improve your finances, it helps to have a solid idea of what is going on. Unfortunately, we as humans have a pretty poor ability to track what we earn and what we spend. As a result, it helps to have some sort of method of keeping track outside our heads.

For the longest time, pencil and paper, in the form of a checkbook register and/or ledgers, was the preferred method. Now, though, it’s possible to get personal finance tracking software that can help you stay up to date with ease, including applications for your mobile devices.

Not only that, but most personal finance software applications will use your data to create visually appealing graphs that clearly illustrate your situation, and reports that detail your past spending. You can even use some personal finance tracking software to create projections of possible outcomes if you keep on with your current actions.

What is the Best Personal Finance Software?

There are many different personal finance software programs out there, and what you decide to use depends largely on your goals, your money style, and your current financial picture. There are basic budgeting apps that do little more than allow you to track your spending quickly and easily, and there are more involved programs that will even keep tabs on your investment portfolio.

Personally, I have long been a fan of Quicken. It’s what I used for years. However, when the Mac operating system stopped support Quicken 2005, I knew I was in trouble. The new Quicken has proved to be fairly powerful, and Windows users seem to like it. However, Mac users don’t have the same experience with the new Quicken. So, right now, I use Moneydance. It’s not quite as awesome as Quicken 2005, but it has a similar ledger set up, and it makes reconciling my statements each month fairly easy. Plus, I can enter information about my investment accounts and loan accounts.

If you are more into old school money management with straightforward features, Quicken is a great choice. And if you are looking for a Quicken alternative, Moneydance will do. Both of these programs allow you to link your accounts online, to make tracking that much easier.

But what about other personal finance tracking software? Here are a few suggestions for great personal finance tracking software for a variety of needs and goals:

  • Mint: This is one of the most beloved budget tracking apps. Link up your accounts, and see where your money is going. Quickly see your spending, and watch for trends. Use that information to change your habits.
  • YNAB: Mint is more about seeing where your money has already gone. YNAB is about actually giving your money a job. This is one of the more active personal finance tools, since it doesn’t automatically link your accounts. It requires you to think about your spending ahead of time and plan out your expenditures. This software is perfect for those who like the concept of zero-based budgeting.
  • Personal Capital: If you’re ready to add investments into the mix, Personal Capital is a great personal finance tracking app. Not only do you get the budget tracking aspects, but you also get portfolio management help, and a look at your assets.
  • LearnVest: This is another great software application that provides you with the ability to see all your assets. Plus, you can pay for planning services that help you create a five year plan.
  • ReadyForZero: Get help paying down debt with this program. You can create a personalized debt repayment budget, and then track your progress.

No matter your goals or situation, there is a personal finance software program to fit your needs.

What’s your favorite personal finance software? Leave a comment!


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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8 Responses to The Best Personal Finance Tracking Software

  • TOM

    I am considering a software buy for my personal use. I have multiple bank accounts, multiple currency, multiple family members, investments in bank deposits, stocks, mutual funds, real estate, have joint investment in real estate lands and buildings. i am not looking for online updating or anything. just to mange all these in one place with categorization, tracking of its growth, reports on total asset value etc etc. safe and secure program needed, please suggest or help

  • Greg

    I’ve been using YNAB for a few years now and I think it’s great. I tried Mint and like the blerb up there says, Mint lets you know where your money went, YNAB is for planning where you want your money to go. I never really had any debt, but my money used to just disappear, but now that I plan with YNAB I’m actually able to save and when big bills arrive (like car insurance, house insurance, property taxes, etc.) I just pay them in full because the money has already been put aside.
    The only downside to YNAB is that you have to manually download your transactions from the bank. Although, if you read their forums, it seems that most people enter their transactions manually.
    They also have a smartphone app that you can use to keep track of your budget categories and balances.

  • Carrie Smith

    I actually use several types of personal finance tracking software for my various endevours. For instance, for my personal money I use — which I absolutely love. But for my business money I use and love the tax reports and other additions for tracking income from Paypal/Amazon and etc. I’m also a huge fan of ReadyForZero and wouldn’t be debt-free without their awesome software!

  • Budet and the Beach

    I’ve tried SO many programs over the years, but what I’ve stuck to the best is a simple excel spreadsheet. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason my simple brain can deal with it the best. Whatever works!


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