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Whether rich or poor, it’s a good idea to have a budget.
Some people have strict budgets where they meticulously include every expense – from $2 coffees to $500 car payments. Others have more flexible budgets.
No matter what type of budget you have, your PC is your best budget management tool. Here are the top 5 best budget management software programs available for PC today:
Quicken is in first place on our list for a reason. It’s the world’s most popular budget management software. Intuit, creator of Quicken, also makes QuickBooks, Mint, and TurboTax.
They’re the kings of the financial management software world. With Quicken, users enjoy an easy UI, “bank level security”, and an overall polished experience.
Quicken, however, is far from free. It costs $39.99 for the Starter Edition, $74.99 for the Deluxe “debt reduction” edition, and $104.99 for the Premier edition. Fortunately, that’s a one-time fee and there are no recurring monthly charges.
In 2009, Intuit purchased Mint for $170 million. Mint was Intuit’s rapidly growing competitor. Unlike with other acquisitions, however, Intuit didn’t kill Mint off and fire all its employees.
Instead, Mint continues to successfully operate to this day. Mint may be the second most popular personal financial management software in the world behind Quicken and the two programs offer similar features, including:
-Colorful graphs, pie charts, and budget information
-Direct integration with your bank account
-The ability to setup goals and budgets for groceries, gas, coffee, rent, and other expenses
Mint is a good introductory budget management tool. It’s geared towards people who are setting up a budget for the first time and its unique, colorful interface is easy on the eyes. There are also mobile apps available.
AceMoney, like Quicken, is desktop-based software. The full version of AceMoney costs $39.99 although there is a free lite version available.
AceMoney does offer a mobile app for the iPhone, although you’ll likely want to stick with the desktop software.
Unlike Mint and Quicken, AceMoney doesn’t offer a colorful, friendly-looking interface. Instead, its interface is business-like and, dare I say, more professional.
Popular AceMoney features include investment performance tracking, multi-currency support, bill payment reminders, multiple account management, and more. It’s largely the same as the other options on this list, but it’s worth a try if you don’t like the other interfaces seen here.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
You Need A Budget is another easy-to-use budget management program with a friendly interface. Good software is available for desktop, iPhone, and Android. The interface is like a mix between Mint and Quicken, with the right blend of colorful graphs and convenient subheadings.
You Need A Budget also offers some unique features. Users can view free live classes online, for example. Classes are scheduled daily and cover topics like budgets, credit cards, debt reduction, and more.
YNAC claims that it’s about more than just budget software:
“We’re not just about software. Our method has helped thousands of people gain control of their finances.”
At its core, YNAB is a budgeting software, but it also encourages customers to “buy in” to their financial management system to live a healthier, debt-free life.
Moneydance, which costs $50, is very similar to the other programs on this list. Its main distinction, in fact, is in its interface, which adopts an iOS-style look – even when using the Windows software.
Moneydance is available for Windows, Mac OS, and iOS, although no Android apps are available. It lets you track investments, manage your portfolio, and edit budget information from entirely within the program.
You can also setup reminders when bills are due. The interface isn’t quite as user-friendly or beginner-friendly as the other options on this list, making Moneydance more of an “intermediate” option.
Do you really need PC budget software?
The problem with PC budgeting software is that it’s only as helpful as you want it to be. It’s not going to tell you where to cut back your expenses or how to increase investment income.
If you want to learn more about budget management, then Top Ten Reviews recently chose a “Gold Award Winner” in its debt consolidation category. If you need real budget help, then it may be time to hire a real professional. Free PC software can only help you so much.