Managing finances used to be a very complicated and expensive procedure. It involved recording your income and expenses manually. You do the calculations yourself or you consult with professionals. And oftentimes, you never seem to balance your account.
Now in the digital era, managing your finances or budget has never been easier! You can simply download an app or piece of computer software that will do the work for you.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of countless businesses, many businesses were hard hit financially. If you or your business took a hit from all that happened, the good news is you can pick up the pieces and start again. Now, more than ever, you need to keep a close eye on your income and expenses, your budget, and your investments. There are many websites and desktop software products that handle personal finance exceedingly well. We explore 5 of the best here.
Mint – Best for budgeting and financial tracking
No web-based rival provides as comprehensive a collection of tools for tracking your spending, budgeting, and goals better than Mint.
Quicken – Best for managing investments and transactions
If you want to be able to handle your investments, taxes, and budgeting in one app, then you can’t get much better than Quicken.
YNAB – Best for detailed budgeting and habit building
YNAB stands for You Need a Budget, and it’s true: You do.
Personal Capital – Best for investment tracking and advice
See Personal Capital
Personal Capital is lighter on personal finance tools and heavier on investment tracking than its competitors.
Moneydance – Best for money management
Moneydance is a desktop-based personal finance manager that boasts strong security, online bill pays, and support for multiple currencies (including cryptocurrencies).
TurboTax – Best for taxes
You may not necessarily need TurboTax to manage your finances throughout the entire year, but when it’s tax time, the software can come in handy.
PocketGuard – Best for students
This free budget app, connects your checking, credit and savings accounts and detects recurring bills and income. Its simple user interface and intuitive pie charts make it easy to start budgeting and tracking spending.
BankTree – Best for tracking multiple currencies
BankTree is more than happy to support worldwide currencies, and in fact does a solid job if you’re working simultaneously with more than one, offering balances in multiple currencies rather than rounding them off into a single total.
Honeydue – Best for Budgeting with your partner
Honeydue is designed to help couples manage their finances together and its features are focused on joint communication.
Goodbudget – Best free option
Based on the envelope system, in which you portion out your monthly income toward specific spending categories. The app allows multiple devices to access the same account, so partners and family members can share a budget.
Our Top Picks
· Free, fast, and easy
· Highly automated
· Simple budgeting tools
· Checks credit score
· Good mobile support, including for Apple Watch
· Only supports US and Canadian accounts
· Discontinued bill pay
· Weak investing tools
· Fair pricing
· Secure online backup
· Desktop and app
· Useful reports and graphs
· Flexible transaction tracking
· Inconsistent user experience
· Electronic bill payment through biller websites not available
· Personal budgeting app built on a solid philosophy
· Improved security, user experience, mobile apps
· Goal setting
· Great tutorials and education material
· Solid user experience
· New reports
· Takes time and commitment to understand and use effectively
· Excellent user experience and investment tracking
· Smart assignment of categories
· Retirement planning
· Automatic online bill tracking
· Good mobile apps
· Weak transaction management and budgeting
· No credit score information
· No reports
· 30-day free trial
· Supports multiple currencies
· Can be a bit tricky to navigate
See spec comparison below
Mint is one of the most popular budgeting and expense tracking tools.
The software can pull in your bank and credit card information to analyze your spending and pinpoint areas where you can cut back to improve your finances. For more accountability, Mint allows you to set up alerts for things like due dates and low balances to keep you on track. These features help you avoid expensive fees on late payments and overdrafts from your bank account.
If you’ve set up budget categories, Mint will give you real-time information about the amount you can spend on things like food and gas. you’ll get alerts when you’re over your budget in a particular category, if it spots a large or suspicious transaction and if you’ve paid ATM fees. Mint also lets you track all your bills in one place and reminds you when upcoming payments are due. All these features are free — including its credit monitoring service.
Mint is free to download and use on iOS and Android devices, as well as desktop.
Quicken is one of the most established personal finance software on the market. You can use the software to manage various aspects of your financial life from budget creation to debt tracking, savings goals, and even investment coaching. You’ll be able to do everything from calculating your net worth to paying your bills automatically.
The software features Excel exporting, which allows you to manipulate and perform additional calculations on your data. One of the more advanced features includes bill paying, which allows you to set up payments for your bills right from the software.
You can even use it to track the value of your assets to have an accurate calculation of your total net worth. The app is robust enough to manage both your personal and business expenses and even handles property management functions like rental payments from tenants.
The software starts at $34.99, its deluxe is available at $49.99, premier at $74.99, and home & business at $99.99. It is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is for the committed user, no doubt. It’s based on the zero-based budgeting system, so you must make a plan for every naira/dollar you earn. It also requires a financial investment of either $84 a year or $11.99 a month, after a 34-day free trial. (Students who provide proof of enrollment get 12 months free.) Those who pay this price can benefit from YNAB’s many features. You can connect bank accounts, set goals, contribute to savings and customize spending categories. You can also access resources, like app user guides, budgeting advice and free workshops.
As you create your budget and manage your daily finances, the software provides you with tutorials that will help you tackle some of the tougher financial topics. If you’ve been struggling with bad financial habits, YNAB can help you break those through a few basic financial management rules.
The software automatically links to your bank account, integrating your spending information for analysis and budgeting tracking. You can keep tabs on how you’re tracking toward your monthly budget and take action if you’re overspending. It doesn’t include any investment tracking capabilities.
With Personal Capital, you get to track your investments alongside your other accounts. Just as with budgeting software, you can connect all your bank accounts in one place and analyse your money, including your investment portfolio.
Unlike most budgeting software, the options for monitoring your investment accounts are more specialized. You can track whether you’re in line with investment goals such as retirement, check how well your portfolio is performing, and find out if you’re paying unnecessary fees.
If you have an extensive portfolio (worth $100,000 or more), you can pay a fee to receive personalized advice from financial experts. The core software is completely free.
This software lets you customize your categories and see the percentage of total monthly spending that category represents. Personal Capital also serves up a net worth tracker and portfolio breakdown.
In addition to supporting worldwide currencies and offering balances in multiple currencies, BankTree is also good for keeping track of everything, allowing you to scan receipts with its mobile app and import them later on.
It’s not the prettiest software around, and it’s slightly more awkward to use than many of its more refined cousins, although BankTree does produce very neat reports which you can break down by time, or by payee. It may be worth experimenting with the free trial before you choose to invest in this one.
The desktop software comes with one year of updates and support, though you are restricted to one PC and there is a charge for any additional PC you want to run the software on. There’s also a browser-based version available.
Whichever version you opt for, there’s a 30-day free trial available, so you can try before you buy to get an idea if BankTree will work for you.