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10 Best Personal Finance Software and Apps
July 28, 2021
Taking control of your financial life seems like a daunting challenge at first. Not only do you have to track your spending, but you also need to understand your expenses relative to your cash flow and track the performance of your investments. While handling all of this on your own in a spreadsheet would be difficult, there’s a modern adage to remember: “There’s an app for that.”
With the help of the best personal finance software or app, you’ll be on your way to better financial health as you get a firm grasp on all your spending habits in a single, easy-to-use platform.
Why you need to use personal finance software
There are several reasons why you may want to use financial planning software. If you struggle with creating budgets on your own, for instance, or maybe you simply have too many accounts to manage. It’s possible to have bank accounts, credit union accounts, investment accounts for individual stocks and ETFs, and retirement accounts for 401ks or IRAs, all at once.
Does that seem like a lot? It is, but there are many personal finance software options available to help you keep your finances understandable and under control. From personal budgeting software to money management software and expense report creation, there’s a financial planning tool out there to help you reach your money goals.
The best personal finance software and apps
When you look into using software to help you with personal financial management, it’s crucial that your pick is connected to your specific financial goals. This can include getting help with risk management, avoiding paying for a financial advisor, and tracking business expenses, among many other things.
Here are our selections for the best apps to manage personal finances.
1. You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is budgeting software that focuses on putting your money to work for you. It allows you to add all your financial accounts to a single dashboard, which you can use to assign different amounts of money to a category at your discretion. This helps you proactively use your money to pay down debt and credit cards, build an emergency fund, or put a portion of your paycheck toward your vacation.
The website and app both use a spreadsheet model so you can easily track your expenses and see what you have left over each month. YNAB has a free trial for 34 days, and subscriptions are priced at $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
Cost: $11.99 per month or $84 per year
Mint is free personal finance software that’s popular among newcomers to the finance world. It has a streamlined interface and integrates with most financial accounts, making it very useful for budgeting, tracking expenses, seeing your credit score, and creating financial goals and milestones.
However, because Mint is a free budget tracking software, it doesn’t include options for bill payment or extensive investment tracking features. It will also regularly offer you ways to save money on various financial services. Keep in mind that Mint does receive a referral fee from these services, so only use one if you think it has value.
Compared to other finance programs, Quicken has the most extensive history. Its PC version is particularly comprehensive, and features include exporting data to Excel, generating balance sheets, and creating customized invoices. You can even generate Schedule C and Schedule E reports.
Quicken may be slightly intimidating for those just starting out because it requires an advanced understanding of personal finance to get the most from its features. Depending on the plan you choose and the features you need, Quicken costs $34.99 per year for the Starter version and goes up to $93.59 per year for the Home & Business version.
Cost: Starter $34.99 per year, Home & Business $93.59 per year
CountAbout is a great finance app choice if you need solid expense tracking software to stay on top of transactions and import data from various financial accounts, including Mint and Quicken. Its budgeting tools are somewhat basic and the tool lacks a comprehensive dashboard, but it does allow you to customize and tag transactions and it will create and track invoices.
Those perks alone make it an excellent choice for small business accounting purposes or sole proprietors with recurring transactions and invoices. After the 15-day free trial, CountAbout Basic is priced at $9.99 per year, while its Premium version is $39.99 per year. Premium also allows you to automatically import information from compatible financial accounts.
Cost: Basic $9.99 per year, Premium $39.99 per year
MoneyDance is a straightforward, well-designed personal finance tool that’s a breeze to set up. It has one of the best wizard tools available and seamlessly integrates with most bank accounts to enable bill pay and other features.
Unlike other finance programs, MoneyDance connects directly with your financial institutions instead of doing it via third-party. As a result, you’ll enjoy enhanced security and better protection over your sensitive financial data. MoneyDance also has robust investment tracking and budgeting tools.
The only down side is that its app doesn’t score too highly on iOS or Google Play, making it better suited for use on your computer. The software retails for a one-time payment of $49.99 with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Cost: $49.99 one-time payment
6. Tiller Money
Tiller Money was created with the spreadsheet fanatic in mind, so it’s perfect if you love to keep detailed spreadsheets to track spending and plan your financial future. To facilitate this, Tiller Money syncs with fully customizable Google Sheets, which means you need a Google account to use the software.
Once you sync your Google Sheets, Tiller Money automatically updates them based on the information in your connected financial accounts. If you don't want to create your own spreadsheets, there are templates you can use as well. After a 30-day free trial, Tiller Money costs $79 annually, billed at $6.58 per month.
Cost: $79 per year
7. Personal Capital
Personal Capital classifies itself as a digital asset management service as opposed to personal accounting software. It provides personalized investment advice while automating many parts of the portfolio management and financial planning process. This software also requires you to have a net worth of $100,000 or more to use its wealth management services.
However the app version, which includes the dashboard and financial analysis tools, is entirely free and doesn’t have a net worth requirement. Instead of charging a monthly or annual fee, Personal Capital assesses portfolio management fees. They range from 0.49% to 0.79% depending on the amount of money managed. These are much lower compared to most financial managers, which typically charge between 1% and 2%.
Cost: 0.49% to 0.79% portfolio management fee
Buxfer is among the best personal finance software options due to its extensive reporting dashboard and excellent mobile app. It can automatically sync any updates on your financial accounts between devices, including any changes you make on desktop or mobile.
Buxfer also allows for shared expense tracking, color-coded budgeting, and easily generated reports. These give you a clear, concise breakdown of how you’re using your money.
Depending on the features you use – phone support, smart alerts, transaction backups, etc. – you’ll choose from Plus, Pro, and Prime services. They’re billed at $3.99, $4.99, and $9.99 per month, respectively, on an annual basis.
Cost: Plus $3.99, Pro $4.99, and Prime $9.99 per month
Mvelopes is home accounting software that specializes in using an envelope system for organizational purposes. It compiles your budget by category, allowing you to create different “envelopes” for different expenses, such as transportation or food. When you use money in a certain category, Mvelopes allows you to move money from one envelope to another to help you stick to a set budget.
You can link your envelopes to different accounts, too, such as bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards. This lets you know exactly where the money is coming from for each category.
Mvelopes has 3 pricing tiers: Basic at $6 per month, Premier at $9.95 per month, and Plus at $19 per month. The Premier pricing tier also comes with quarterly financial coaching sessions, a unique feature in budgeting apps and extremely useful if you want personalized assistance.
Cost: Basic $6, Premier $9.95, and Plus $19 per month
Trim is an excellent free personal finance software that acts as a personal assistant. It stands out because it helps you manage your money through artificial intelligence.
When you download the app, you’re prompted to link your financial accounts, including bank accounts and credit cards. Once you do, Trim will help you negotiate your recurring bills with service providers such as utilities, internet, and phone companies.
Trim’s basic package has no upfront cost, but it charges up to 33% of the annual savings it negotiates for you. You won’t be charged this fee if you pay for the Premium service, which costs $99 per year and has multiple benefits. You get access to a personal financial coach, a high-yield checking account with 4% APR on the first $2,000, and budgeting tools and bill cancellation services.
Cost: Free with up to a third of annual savings it finds for you, or Premium at $99 per year
Managing your finances is a personal affair, and everyone has different ideas about how they want to spend their money. However, anyone can benefit from using tools that promote accountability and proper budgeting. With the right tool on your side, you can feel empowered and confident about your financial future.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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