When it comes to finding free personal finance software, it’s important to remember that there’s more to the picture than just a low price tag. Security should always be the number one priority, regardless of the impressive features and tracking options that the application may boast. After all, it’s important to know that sensitive information, like your account numbers and social security, won’t be shared or easily hacked into.
While it may seem like most reliable and proven financial software is only offered in paid versions, there are some great finds still available on the Internet. Here are some of the best free personal finance software to start off 2012 on the right foot:
- Mint. This is probably the most popular software available right now that’s still free and actively being updated. It’s main feature is that it can help manage your monthly budget by letting you know when you’re starting exceed the money you have available, and even when you’re starting to spend too fast in a certain category. The best way to get rid of debt is to figure out why you’re going debt in the first place, which is exactly why everyone should find something that can help them monitor their monthly spending habits.
- Wave Accounting. I love them. I have been pretty open about my hatred of spreadsheets. That, along with owning a Mac, makes getting things like Quickbooks a pain. Wave Accounting handles both my business and personal financial records, and has cut down the amount of time I spend on accounting by 70%. They have a great new payroll service out now as well. And its all free!!
- AceMoney Lite. If you’re looking for software that will help you track upcoming bills, investments and spending, then AceMoney Lite is a great alternative to some of the more expensive programs out there. This is a viable alternative to using Mint, and a less comprehensive version of AceMoney; however, it still has plenty of features for the casual user. If you decide that you need more tracking options than the Lite version offers, then you can always upgrade to the full version, which does have a free 30 day trial for those who aren’t sure if they would benefit from it or not.
- Microsoft Money Sunset Deluxe. Many people like this one because it comes from a trusted name brand. Prior to being released for free, Microsoft Money Sunset was part of paid line of financial software. Unfortunately, the rest of the programs have been discontinued. It’s also worth noting that this program does not come with any type of live customer support, and users are expected to use the online troubleshooting guide to answer any questions.
- GNUcash. In addition to allowing users track their investments, this piece of free personal finance software also keeps track of bank accounts and where earned income is being spent. It’s another program that’s similar to Mint, albeit not as popular at the moment. GNUcash can be used for both personal and business accounting, which makes it a very versatile free alternative.
- Financial Fate. Although it’s not quite a financial tracking program, Financial Fate is a great tool for people new to taking control of their own budget. The way the program works allows you to see how your current and past spending habits will affect your finances in the long run – hence the name, Financial Fate.
In addition to checking out user reviews, another good way to gauge the reliability of personal finance software that’s being offered for free is to see how long the company has been in business. If it looks like it’s a recent startup, then it’s a wise idea to give it another year or so to mature and gain user trust before jumping in feet first. In the meantime, don’t forget that a well laid out spreadsheet and some dedication can be just as effective at keeping your budget on track as