You’ve got bills to pay, multiple mortgages, investments, taxes, and loans to worry about. Or, you may only have a few of these. Either way, it’s a lot to manage, especially for one person, and especially with just a pen and paper. Maybe you’ve dabbled in using Excel to keep a concise spreadsheet of all your finances, maybe it’s working. Or perhaps you’ve been a committed Quicken user but it’s just not as user friendly as you’d like it to be. There are a lot of programs floating around but only some of them are really worth considering. We’re going to run down a list of the  best money management software available to help you get a grip on your finances. Some of these are even free! Sounds pretty good, eh? If you feel like you need a little more guidance on how to manage your money, Money Basics, is a good place to start.

  1. YNAB

Here’s a program that can do everything you want it to do and more. It’s modern, it’s intuitive, it’s thorough and you won’t be disappointed. YNAB offers monthly and yearly graphs that are colorful and easy to read. They break down complicated information about trends and patterns and lay it out in a visual format for you. It includes educational tools, support and a variety of really awesome options for you to completely customize your money managing experience. This is no doubt a go-to for many of the experts, and many people just looking for a little help. YNAB wants to see you achieve your financial goals. Unfortunately, there are no sections dedicated to personal taxes and the program does not support bill pay or online banking and does not have financial calculators.

What it’s got:

Cost: $60.00

  1. Quicken

You may have heard of this one before. Some people absolutely love it, and some people run from it. It’s a computer based software program that files, tracks and manages your entire financial portfolio for you. Professed Quicken lovers say it has the most comprehensive evaluation of your finances. Some think it’s just a fancy check registrar that doesn’t do much for understanding your money flow. It allows you to manage multiple accounts while using online banking and automated transaction updates. The best part? You can upload your financial information directly to TurboTax! Downside: the user interface is a bit dated and can seem somewhat complex if you’re used to more sleek and contemporary “bootstrap” styled programs. Want to learn more about accounting? I recommend this introductory course on financial accounting.

What it’s got:

Cost: $59.99

  1. Mint

I’m a mint lover. The website is contemporary and intuitive for even the least computer savvy of people. It helps you track what you have, what you want, where the money is going and how much of it is going there. I have goals set up for vacations and I get text messages every Friday with a summary of all my money accounts so I can stay on track. This is a web site platform so all of the financial information that you add to your profile will be stored in one convenient place. It’s nice to see the balance on your credit card, loan and bank account with the click of one button. You can even compare your average spending in certain categories to that of the average American. It helps you either feel really, really good, or really bad (which helps you be a better budgeter!) The best part? It’s free! Make sense of your money!

What it’s got:

Cost: Free

  1. Mvelopes Personal

This website based program offers envelope-based money management. It operates well as a place to create and guide your budget, but it doesn’t offer a lot in the way of personal investments. I recommend this for someone who is looking for a basic way to organize their personal and household expenses in a way that keeps them from overspending. The website has a free option that will let you edit up to 25 different categories for money flow. The paid option is $10 a month which gives you the option to create unlimited categories, access to bill pay and access to the debt center which will help you get your debt organized and in control. Mvelopes works on any mobile device so you can keep mobile budgeting as an option. However, you are not able to create or update your categories while on the go. Sorry.

What it’s got:

Cost: Free or $10 for upgraded plan

  1. Pocket Smith

Pocketsmith uses a unique approach to financial forecasting. They have you update a web-based calendar that acts as your management system. Think of each category (shopping, credit cards, etc) as its own calendar. It may sound a little weird if you’re used to using graph styled budgeting programs like YNAB or Quicken. But, despite its unique style, Pocketsmith boasts a lot of the same organizational and functional features that its top competitors do. Once you have plugged all of your information in it draws you a trending graph so you can see if you’re doomed to be in a cash crunch soon, or if your cash income is enough to cover your expenditures.

It’s recommended that before trying to navigate yourself around the website that you take a few minutes to watch the video tutorials. It will clear a lot up and make your set-up time quicker. There are three plans: free, premium and super.

What it’s got:

Cost: Varies

  1. Money Dance

Moneydance is a really easy program to use when managing your money. It’s well organized and allows the user to customize it for further organization. You can have it up and running with all your financial information imported in just a morning. It has easy-to-read financial reports that keep you on track while your money flows in and out. There is a great technical support to help you with anything should you need it. The program works across all platforms so no need to worry if you decide to switch to Linux or a Mac. The downside would be that this is one of the more expensive options out there. Is it worth it? Totally.

What it’s got:

Cost: $49.99

  1. Simple Money

Simple Money is a personal money management program. It allows its users to split bills and expenses, track all spending, create financial reports, archive data and import investment reports. It does not, however, sync with mobile devices or let you create tax reports. It has a super easy interface that allows you to drag and drop the icons to customize the look and feel of your landing page. It does not, currently, operate on Windows 8. Feeling a little confused? Hopefully this personal finance course can help you learn how to budget, save and win!

What it’s got:

Cost: $29.95

  1. Ace Money

Ace Money is a great software program for your personal finances, and even for small-businesses to use. It has a user-friendly interface and a versatile range of functions which makes this a good choice for those just starting out or for those with complicated financial accounts. It’s a computer based software program so if you’re worried about all of your finances being stored on the web, you don’t have to with this. Ace Money has been likened to the underdog of the familiar money management program, Quicken. One of the best parts is after you purchase your software license you will received free upgrades – forever! The downside, they don’t have telephone based support. However, they do have a great support community online that will more than likely be able to answer all of your questions or concerns.

What it’s got:

Cost: $34.99

  1. Banktree personal

Banktree is a forerunner in the world of money management options. It’s highest rated for its ability to compile reports regarding every aspect of your finances. It allows you to have online banking and to use exchange rates if necessary. It doesn’t have any tax options, or archive data, but it does give you a comprehensive look at trends and your personal investments. You can learn from their forum, online manuals, tutorials and email support so you will never be left hanging when you have a question. One thing to note: it is a UK based company so users in the US will experience fluctuating exchange rates.

What it’s got:

Cost: $39.99

  1. Microsoft Money Home and Business

This is your big time accounting software. It’s comparable to Quicken it the way it looks and operates. This is more than your personal budgeting guide. It will help you create every aspect of your financial portfolio from businesses, to investments, loans, credit, cash flow and more. It really is your number one program for everything money related. Its user interface is a little more complicated than some may like but it’s only a learning curve. This program will monitor and pay your bills online, automatically connect to all of your financial institutions and it has a tax line manager. Overall, this is your one stop shop. If your finances aren’t all that complicated, I would recommend another program.

What it’s got:

Cost: $49.95

That’s a wrap. Hopefully this list of the best money management software has given you some insight on what you need, and what you can get. There are a lot of options out there to browse but don’t get overwhelmed. Take a chance and try which one you think will fit you best. If you find that it’s not what you wanted you can always try another. Remember that some of the free options could be a really good start for those of you that don’t really know what you are looking for. Give them a test run and then revisit this article to help guide you. To learn more about programs such as Quickbooks, take this quickbooks training to get a leg up. Good luck!

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