In the past, managing your finances meant manually recording your income and expenses, doing the calculations yourself, and having consultations with professionals. Today, we are blessed with many different personal finance software options to make money management easier and faster.
In the digital era, it’s never been easier to stay in control of your finances. You can simply download an app or piece of computer software that will do the work for you.
Tracking your budget can now be automated, you can learn basic principles directly from your phone, and you can consult with advisors virtually for a lower price tag. Yet new pieces of financial software are constantly being released; it can be overwhelming to choose just one.
To narrow down the best software for your needs, you have to ask yourself what you most need – personal finance is a broad term. Possible uses include budgeting, saving, investing, taxes, and bill management.
Skip to the best option for your financial needs:
- All-Purpose Financial Software
- Budgeting Software
- Investing Software
- Tax Software
- Bill Management Software
10 Best Personal Finance Software Options
- Quicken: Best Overall Financial Software
- Personal Capital: Best Investment Tracker
- YNAB: Best Money Management Software
- Mint: Best Budgeting Software
- Mvelopes: Best for Zero-Based Budgeting
- Buddi: Best for Personal Finance Beginners
- FutureAdvisor: Best Investging Software
- Acorns: Best for Beginner Investors
- TurboTax: Best Tax Software
- RocketMoney: Best Bill Management Software
Overall Best Financial Software
There are a few personal finance programs that cover a couple of areas, but there aren’t many that are suitable for absolutely everything. If you’re looking for the most sophisticated advice and learning content, then you’d be better off with more specialized software.
Otherwise, an all-purpose program can be very effective.
Quicken is one of the most established pieces of personal finance software for a good reason. 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.
You’ll be able to do everything from calculating your net worth to paying your bills automatically.
This comes for a price. You can choose between the following plans:
- Quicken Starter: $3.49/month ($41.88 billed annually)
- Quicken Deluxe: $3.99/month ($47.88 billed annually)
- Quicken Premier: $5.99/month ($71.88 billed annually)
- Quicken Home & Business: $8.99/month ($107.88 billed annually)
If all you want to do is track your finances, then the starter pack will suffice, but if you want to perform more sophisticated functions, then it might be worth investing.
Upgrading to deluxe will give you more customization, and the premier will provide you with more help with investments, taxes, and savings.
2. Personal Capital
Personal Capital offers a way to track your investments alongside your other accounts within a single money dashboard.
Just as with budgeting software, you can connect each financial institution you have an account with and view everything in one place. Personal Capital helps you analyze your money, track your investment portfolio, monitor your net worth, and also track your credit score.
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.
To Learn More:
Empower (formerly Personal Capital)
With Empower, you can see your net worth, analyze investments, and discover any hidden fees you weren’t aware of before – as well as set spending and saving goals.
Best Budgeting Software
Creating a budget should be an essential part of everyone’s financial plan, and budgeting software is excellent to track where your money is going and how much you’re managing to save. Generally, once you sync your software with each financial institution, your incomings and outgoings will sync automatically.
This is ideal for helping you save for a specific financial goal or to have simpler money management.
YNAB is short for ‘you need a budget,’ and it’s a program designed to help its users set one up. You’ll be walked through the process of allocating your money between different areas of your life and helped to stay on track.
This is great for people who are struggling with debt or managing their finances, but if you feel you’ve already got to grips with the basics of budgeting this may be unnecessary.
The software costs $14.99/month or you can pay annually for $99 a year (making it $8.25/month), but you can take part in a 34-day free trial first and there’s a 100% moneyback guarantee. YNAB claims its software pays for itself, as users save an average of $6,000 in their first year.
As well as the software itself, you’ll get to take part in fifteen workshops to help you manage your money better.
The primary function of Mint is to view all your bank accounts and cards in one place and track finances. It’s also a great budgeting app, as well as helps you keep track of your credit score. Mint is owned by Intuit, which also owns Credit Karma and TurboTax.
You can even add in loans and investments. A great thing about Mint is that it includes a phone app as well as a website so that you can track your finances on the go.
You’ll be able to track spending by categories using graphs and charts and receive personalized recommendations.
Mvelopes get their name from traditional envelope budgeting systems, breaking down your budgets into different ‘envelopes’ or categories. The program uses this approach, with users allocating amounts to separate envelopes.
Like most other pieces of software, you can connect various bank accounts and track your spending in one place.
All the plans are paid for, but some are more expensive than others. Here are the plan options:
- Basic: $5.97/month
- Premier: $9.97/month
- Plus: $19.97/month
If all you want to do is track your spending, then the basic version is fine, but if you feel coaching would be beneficial, then the pricier options might be worth considering.
Mvelopes Plus gives you quarterly coaching, while Mvelopes Complete includes coaching monthly. Luckily, you can have a 30-day free trial before choosing.
Buddi is open-source software designed for those who struggle with more mainstream personal finance programs due to their complexity. You can even find plenty of free guides on the websites, letting you know how to make the most out of the program.
Buddi is ideal for setting up your accounts and tracking your spending and income. You can then generate reports or budgets for you to stick to.
However, be aware that you need Java to run the program.
Best Investing Software
You may be concerned about saving for retirement, a house, or something else; investments can help you reach that goal.
You’ll typically need software to help you trade. Investment platforms are generally free to sign up for, but you may have to pay to make trades.
Once again, FutureAdvisor is best suited for experienced traders. However, the focus is on guiding investments rather than making them; the target market is DIY investors who want to understand what their stocks are doing better.
A holistic approach is taken since all your accounts and goals will be surveyed alongside your lifestyle.
You’ll receive personalized recommendations to make your portfolio more diverse, identify tax-saving opportunities, and ensure you maximize the benefits of each account you have.
The cost of the service depends on the size of your assets – instead of paying a flat monthly fee, you’ll pay an annual management fee worth 0.5% of the assets directly managed, which is billed quarterly.
If the idea of investing scares you, Acorns could be a great place to start. Instead of putting aside a huge lump sum, you can let Acorns invest your loose change. You might find that the loose cents add up to more than you’d expect!
You’ll be given a dedicated Acorns card that automates the investment of your loose change. You can also access tips and money management advice straight from the money dashboard, which is why it’s one of our favorite best investment apps for beginners.
It’s ideally suited for those who want to save for retirement, as there’s a dedicated service called Acorns Later that will match you up with a suitable IRA account.
To Learn More:
Price: $3 per month
Easily save & invest in the background of life. Invest your spare change, save for retirement, spend smarter, earn more, and grow your knowledge.
Best Tax Software
Tax software can help to make filing for taxes more straightforward by guiding you through the process.
Whether you’re an employee, self-employed, or a business owner, you’ll be able to find the perfect program to suit your needs with these best tax software options.
If filing your taxes makes you nervous, and you want to be led through every step, Turbotax is a great tool to have ready. All you have to do is input your information and follow the process; if you use Turbotax year after year, this will become easier as the software will remember your details.
If you use a form 1040 with no attached schedules, the service is free of charge, but if you have a more complicated process, you’ll need to pay.
There are dedicated services for self-employed and small business owners, amongst others. You can also opt to receive advice from a Tax Expert.
Turbotax is a pricier option than others: the complete self-employed package is $119.99. But it is comprehensive, including industry-specific tax deductions to make.
You have to remember that sometimes the cheapest tax software, may not be the best for your needs, so make sure to know what package you need to benefit you the most!
Best Bill Management Software
Seeing all your utility bills in one place can help you save a lot of time and ensure you never miss another payment again.
10. Rocket Money (formerly Truebill)
Rocket Money, formerly Truebill, is a personal finance app focused on helping users to lower the costs of their bills and find the best price. They do this by negotiating your rate for you – you upload the details of your bills, and the team will look for better deals or try to negotiate.
All you have to do is sit back and wait for the results.
The service isn’t free, but rather than paying a monthly fee, you’ll split the profits of your savings: Rocket Money takes 40% of the total amount. That might sound steep, but since you’d be paying the full price for your bills without the app, it’s fairly reasonable.
To Learn More:
Rocket Money (formerly Truebill)
Rocket Money makes it easy for you to manage subscriptions, lower your bills, optimize your spending and get a grasp on your financial life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best personal finance software for me?
Some software focuses on one particular area, while others can tackle all of them at once. You should also ask yourself whether you’re willing to pay for software; this will probably depend on the types of features you’re looking for. If you want to be able to track and categorize your money and do the basics, the free software will probably suffice.
If you’re looking for guidance, and sophisticated features or you’re a small business owner, you’ll need to upgrade to paid software.
It’s worth routinely asking yourself these questions as your situation might change; you may also find you need more support and guidance initially than you may in the next year.
Is Quicken the best personal finance software?
Quicken is a fantastic all-purpose personal finance software, but it’s not necessarily the best option for everybody. On the one hand, if you feel you’d benefit from receiving tailor-made financial guidance from advisors or if you want to be walked through a specific process like filing complicated taxes or trading stocks, Quicken could be too basic for you.
Of course, you could use Quicken alongside a more specialized tool, but the subscription costs can quickly add up.
On the other hand, if all you want to do is track your spending to help you save more, Quicken could be an unnecessary expense as you’d be unlikely ever to use the more advanced features. Many free or cheap apps can perform this function just as well.
Quicken is ideally suited to those who have relatively complex financial situations but feel relatively confident in managing their money independently.
What is the best personal finance app?
Many personal financial software programs mentioned are either completely free or suitable for those with a low budget.
Of course, the best software for you depends on your needs, but each category has a clear winner:
- All-Purpose: Quicken is a great personal finance software option
- Budgeting and Saving: Mint and Buddi are entirely free
- Investing: Personal Capital provides free investment management for those with a low portfolio
- Taxes: TurboTax is free or affordable depending on your situation
- Bills: RocketMoney is a great option
Can you use QuickBooks for personal finance?
Quickbooks is an accounting tool designed for business owners. Most of the features are built with business needs in mind: you can to profit and expense tracking, send invoices, and track sales tax.
That’s why it’s so expensive – the simplest plan is $15 a month, while the most comprehensive plan is $31. If you don’t own a business and you’re not self-employed, you’d be paying a high price for features you’d be unlikely to use.
However, if you do happen to own a business, then QuickBooks is a great piece of software to take control of your finances and automate processes so you can spend more time focusing on your company.
It includes comprehensive support – such as accounting help – that makes it well worth the price.
What is the best personal finance software for Mac?
Most of the pieces of the software mentioned are suitable for Mac, as well as Windows. Some have web apps, whereas others have a dedicated program to install. Quicken, Turbotax, Future Advisor, Mint, and Personal Capital are all examples of personal finance programs that work well on Mac.
Choosing The Best Finance Software
When it comes to personal finance software, we’re spoilt for choice these days. New apps and websites are being launched all the time to help us control our money better.
It’s tempting to always opt for free programs – after all, if you’re reading this, then you’re hoping to take of your finances. However, it’s important to bear in mind that investing in a good program now could help you to save more money in the long run. Also, you want to find a partner that you trust with your financial data.
The benefit of learning to invest or budget now could be exponential.
Ask yourself what your key money goals are and how complex your financial situation is. A small business owner who invests parts of their profits in the stock market has far more to track than an employee with a savings account.
Where do you feel along this spectrum, and where would you ultimately like to be? Answering these types of questions can help to shed light on what kind of personal finance software you need.
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