Question: What is the best personal finance software for budgeting/tracking spending?
Answer: This is an easy question to answer but it also needs to be divided into two parts: personal finance software that you can buy/download and use on your desktop, and websites that you can use from any machine. Let’s start with desktop software…
For Mac users, iBank is probably the most popular personal finance software used. It’s also, without a doubt, my favourite. After linking all of your accounts, it gives you a crystal clear picture of how much money you have, how much you owe, or where every penny you spend goes. On top of the desktop program, you can also use iBank on your iPad or iPhone.
I’m not a PC user myself but, if I were, I would probably buy and use Quicken. Quicken Cash Manager 2013 lets you track your spending, pay your bills, create a better budget and save for what you want. On top of being Canada’s best-selling personal finance software, my friend Krystal loves it so much she has given away free copies before – that’s a good enough review for me!
As for websites…
With more than 10 million users, Mint is obviously the most popular personal finance website to use, and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s free, it only takes a few minutes to link all of your accounts, and you can do so much with it. The one thing to consider is that, in Canada, giving third-party sites (such as Mint) access to your accounts automatically breaks the agreements you have with your lender. If your accounts were compromised via Mint, your bank wouldn’t be at fault – you’d be out of luck.
Finally, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I would recommend LearnVest. On top of the Money Center producing charts and graphics that help motivate you to stay on budget, my favourite part of the site is all of the content around it. And they released their first app in October. I wish, wish, wish it was available in the iTunes Canada Store! *Note: Since writing this post, LearnVest has become a paid for service. Also, Canadians cannot link their accounts to LearnVest.
And that’s it! Of course, there are a number of other pieces of software you can buy or download, but these are what I consider to be the best. Now, I still don’t think anything works as good as writing it all down by hand and putting it into Excel… but maybe that’s because it helped me see just how crazy of a spender I was, before I finally learned how to budget.
What’s your favourite personal finance software to use?