Personal finance software is revolutionizing how people manage their money. Gone are the days when you had to fumble with a checkbook and balance it in a tiny registry book. Before personal finance software, people were often about as excited about budgeting as they were about going to the dentist. From time to time, they needed a budget checkup, but it was just too time-consuming to work at every day. Technology has changed all that. This article introduces you to the best personal finance software.

The fintech industry has been hard at work to bring the best personal finance software options to the marketplace. Advances over the past few years have made these programs far easier to use. The days of manually filling a spreadsheet with your accounts and balances are over—unless you prefer to do this work yourself.

The personal finance options below all can sync your online banking and other accounts into your personal finance software. At the click of a mouse, you can see your entire monthly payment history, your account balances and if you are on budget.

Who Needs the Best Personal Finance Software?

These fintech inventions are great for everyone. The ten options described in this article have variable features. The best one for you depends on which features you intend to use.

All are secure and user-friendly, so you don’t need any advanced technology skills to benefit from personal finance software. In fact, they designed these programs to assist less tech-savvy people in joining the fintech revolution.

The primary categories of Fintech users are budgeters and investors. For those who want to manage household spending and stay on a budget, any of the below options will work. Investors who want to integrate their budget, brokerage accounts, and consumer accounts need to choose one the options equipped with investment tools.

These are a little more expensive but well worth it if you have significant investment exposure. Some of the best personal finance software can even help you research investment options and track portfolio performance compared to the broader market.

Personal Finance Software FAQ

1. What Is Personal Finance Software?

Personal finance software helps people manage their money by automating tasks that were once labor intensive. The programs have color-coded budget screens. The user can manually enter account and balance information or use the sync feature to populate these fields automatically from information contained in their online accounts, such as online bank and credit card accounts. Spending reports and projections can be created using this data. Brokerage accounts can also be inputted to manage investments and retirement planning.


2. How Do You Operate Personal Finance Software?

The best personal finance software provides a user-friendly format. You can log in through a desktop computer or on your smartphone. Navigation is generally intuitive though it may take a few minutes to learn how to work the tools. If you choose to sync your other accounts with your personal finance software, you can access the bill pay options and pay creditors directly from the platform.


3. How Does It Help You Save Money?

Budgets are all about reducing wasteful spending, avoiding or reducing debt and having positive cash flow. Managing cash flow is a challenge for many people. With so many expenses and variable bills or income, households may struggle to live within their means. By using budgeting software, households can track their spending and reduce their cost of living. The software can also with purchasing decisions by projecting how they impact household budgets.
 

4. Where Can You Buy personal finance software?

Personal finance software is readily available online. You can purchase it directly from fintech companies or through an online marketplace like Amazon.


5. Is Personal Finance Software Secure? 

Always use a personal finance software solution that uses encryption and TLS 1.2 for security. 128 to 256-bit encryption is best. These security features prevent your information from being stolen while in transit on the web. Applications that use https domains instead of http are secured by encryption. Many personal finance software applications also use multi-factor authentication.

How We Reviewed

We picked the ten best personal finance software options based on security, ease of use, popularity, price and user experience. This article explains the salient features of each product and details what makes that particular option stand out. These explanations help the reader determine which product has the features that most closely match his or her needs.

Some applications are better suited to budgeters while others are better for investors. Other options are best suited for someone who wants to use the application for both purposes.
   

What We Reviewed

  • Quicken Premiere
  • Moneydance
  • Buxfer
  • Quicken Starter
  • Banktivity
  • CountAbout
  • Mvelopes
  • Moneyspire
  • YNAB
  • BankTree

Quicken Premiere

Quicken Premiere

Features

Quiken earned its place as one of the top names in personal finance software. It created another hit with Quicken Premiere. Don’t worry if you aren’t tech savvy. This product is user-friendly, and anyone can set it up on their computer and sync it with their other accounts in a few short minutes.

Once you set up your Quicken Premiere, you are treated to a visually intuitive display. You can set your budget, and you’ll get alerts whenever you go into the red. The product is great for investors. It tracks your portfolio and automatically compares it to the market.

Price

Quicken Premiere costs around $50 on Amazon as of November 2018. MAC users also need to purchase Quicken for MAC.

PROS

  • Effective investment management tools
  • Budget copied into upcoming month
  • Convenient bill pay option

CONS

  • Desktop only
  • Higher than the average cost
  • MAC users must have Quicken for MAC

Moneydance

Moneydance

Features

With Moneydance, you can manage your spending while footloose and fancy-free. The platform is intuitive and runs on your smartphone or desktop. You have the option of creating multiple accounts with multiple budgets. Users can sync their accounts with their banks.

Those who prefer to manually enter information will find Moneydance is easy to work. If you like creating budgeting reports, such as charts showing past spending, Moneydance has many helpful options. The program is suitable for those who want to use it for budgeting but not for retirement planning.  

Price

Moneydance is available for under $50.

PROS

  • Many report options
  • User-friendly smartphone capability
  • Sync with an online bank or manually enter information in an easy format

CONS

  • No investment or retirement planning tools
  • Lacks budgeting goal tools
  • No retirement planning tools, though you can sync brokerage accounts

Buxfer

Buxfer

Features

Buxfer scores highly, especially with the Millennial generation. The product can be used on your smartphone. Once you sync with your accounts, it automatically categorizes your expenses in color coded budget screen. You can opt for spending limits by the week, month or year.

Need to send someone money? You can do it straight from Buxfer with the shared expense feature. This is great if you have roommates and need to split rent or utilities. Pie charts and line graphs provide aid in seeing where your money goes.  

Price

Buxfer costs around $60.

PROS

  • Great for managing shared expenses
  • Accurate transaction categorizing
  • Ease of use

CONS

  • No export for tax programs
  • No savings goals features
  • Minimal investment tools

Quicken Starter

Quicken Starter

Features

Quicken Starter is for those who like the Quicken setup, don’t intend to use it for managing investments and want an app that works on their smartphone. It is less expensive than Quicken Premiere because it has no investment tools, but it contains all the great budgeting tools of the Quicken Premiere program. This includes automatic data transfer from synced accounts, color coded budgets displays and email or text alerts when budget limits are reached.

Price

Quicken Starter is available for under $40.

PROS

  • Smartphone capable
  • Budget alerts
  • Cost savings over Quicken Premiere

CONS

  • No investment tools
  • Not MAC compatible
  • No tax program export capability

Banktivity

Banktivity

Features

Banktivity provides easy-to-use budgeting tools. You can track your activity and create reports that enhance your understanding of your budgetary habits. The program is smartphone capable. It is also great for investors and those planning for retirement. The platform also provides multiple methods for syncing your accounts; however, there is an additional charge for syncing services.

Price

This product can be purchased for around $50.

PROS

  • Great budget planning platform
  • Investing tools
  • Generate useful budget reports

CONS

  • Extra fee for syncing accounts
  • Fewer investment tools compared to Quicken Premiere
  • Must have a mobile app for syncing

CountAbout

CountAbout

Features

CountAbout is a great option for budgeters. It provides a user-friendly experience and many options for budgetary reports and projecting. The best thing about CountAbout is that the design of the platform helps you hone in on the information you need; it does not, however, supply alerts. You can import virtually all types of financial accounts with the sync feature. You can easily view changes in your net worth and track investment accounts.

Price

This product is available for about $50.

PROS

  • Great report generating capability
  • User-friendly and intuitive
  • Import all types of accounts

CONS

  • Must use premium edition for sync capability
  • No text or email alerts
  • Does not supply tax-related reports

Mvelopes

Mvelopes

Features

Mvelopes provides a digital platform to use the envelope method of budgeting. The old-fashioned method of envelope budgeting consisted of placing cash in envelopes that were marked for specific spending categories, such as rent, groceries, and travel.

This method prevents one part of your spending from overwhelming other categories, leaving you short for important expenses or forcing you into debt. Mvelopes provides digital envelopes. It also provides convenient bill pay features and is user-friendly.

Price

Mvelopes can be purchased for under $50.

PROS

  • Great for envelope budgeting with digital currency
  • Keeps spending on track
  • Takes the guesswork out of budgeting

CONS

  • No investment tools
  • Does not provide text or email alerts
  • No tax-related tools

Moneyspire

Moneyspire

Features

Moneyspire will inspire you to spend wisely. It's user-friendly and provides a feature that projects account balances based on projected spending moves. It comes in the basic- and plus versions. The basic is great if you don’t want to sync your accounts. If you're going to sync your bank, credit cards, and investment, you need to plus version.  

Price

$29.99 for the basic version.

PROS

  • User-friendly
  • Account balance forecasting
  • Plus version provides investment help

CONS

  • Must buy the plus version to get all the features
  • No goal-oriented text or email alerts
  • Lacks retirement planning tools

YNAB

YNAB

Features

You Need a Budget (YNAB) provides everything you need for organized, wise spending. Its user-friendly platform is smartphone and desktop capable. It also provides robust financial education features. Users can also create spending reports.

It's easy to use while out and about, so you can see your whole financial picture at the store before making purchasing decisions. It also has the unique feature of compatibility with Alexa, so you can access your financial information hands-free.

Price

YNAB is available for around $50.

PROS

  • Alexa compatible
  • Great design for smartphone use
  • Provides educational tools

CONS

  • No investment tools
  • Has fewer report creation options than competitors
  • No tax-export capability

BankTree

BankTree

Features

If you want a service that integrates with your investment accounts, BankTree offers sophisticated features. First, you can work in multiple currencies. It’s just as capable for budgets based on U.S. dollars as the British pound.

In addition to great cash flow and spending analysis tools, it also integrates your brokerage accounts. It even provides investment research options. You can manage your entire portfolio and household spending from your BankTree account.

Price

BankTree costs around $40.

PROS

  • Perfect for the tech savvy investor
  • You can make investment and spending decisions in one application
  • User-friendly

CONS

  • Must subscribe to BankTree’s online banking service to integrate bank accounts
  • Must manually import if you do not belong to BankTree’s online banking
  • Added cost to subscribe to BankTree online banking

Best Personal Finance Software - The Verdict

Quicken Premiere, Banktivity, and BankTree are great choices for investors. These programs can handle all of your money management tasks and even help you increase returns on your investments. Quicken is often more attractive to older clientele familiar with Quicken who prefer working on a desktop instead of a smartphone.

Those who like smartphone access and investment tools won’t go wrong with Banktivity or BankTree. These two are likely to appeal to younger investors. CountAbout is a solid option for those who want to import their investment accounts but are less interested in advanced investment features.

If you’re not looking for an investment platform, you have many choices. The remaining seven on our list will all make your budgeting experience far better. If you like Alexa, consider YNAB. This app appeals to younger people comfortable with technology but not so versed in financial management.

YNAB provides the tools to get your financial management skills up to par. Those starting in a big city and needing to manage their rising expenses should look at Buxfer, Mvelopes or Moneyspire. Each has creative and educational financial management tools.

Quicken fans who are interested in budgeting only can opt for Quicken Starter, which is less costly than Premier. Moneydance provides great tools. If you will not use it for retirement planning, Moneydance is a good choice because it can do everything else.

Managing a budget is more important than ever. Costs are rising, and more Americans are falling behind. Keeping on your budget helps you avoid and eliminate debt. It also frees up money for saving and investing.

To have financial security and independence, you need to manage your money wisely. By using the best personal finance software, you can track and plan your savings and spending with the accuracy of an accountant.

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