Personal Finance Programs: Tip-of-the-Day #173


With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for a money management program has shifted but that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for it. Especially for a comprehensive solution that spans saving, spending and investment tracking.

Here are more than a dozen personal finance programs to review for your needs:

* Budgetpulse offers standard budgeting and tracking features, as well as international compatibility. It focuses on tracking your core accounts - simplicity at its best.

* AceMoney is a Windows desktop app that offers downloadable transactions, budgeting, investment tracking and more. It costs $30, but there is a free version available with fewer features.

* ClearCheckbook is an easy tool that helps with balancing a checkbook and managing money. Like an online checkbook register only you can view reports, set budgets, create reminders and more.

* Expensr offers simple account tracking. Expensr enables you to compare your money habits with other broad groups that you select - a nice feature if you like to see how your spending compares with the rest of the world.

* Buxfer is a fairly comprehensive financial management tool that enables users to import data from their bank and credit card accounts, set spending limits, track shared expenses, and more.

* Mint offers support for investment accounts, and enables users to create personal budgets. With a pretty huge following, Mint has become a leader in this space. Might be worth checking out.

* Moneydance is a full-featured desktop personal-finance manager. It's platform agnostic and offers budgeting tools, investment tracking, and many built-in reports.

* Geezeo enables users to create and manage a budget with the support of other members. Kinda like Weight Watchers, you aren't going it alone.

* MoneyStrands offers lots of budgeting goals with configurable alerts ("Let me know when I've spent $100 on music this month!"). Users may also compare finances with other demographics (not individual users, but groups of users), which again can be useful if you like to see yourself on a bell curve.

* Mvelopes automatically connects with most banks and offers a free bill-pay service. Coming in at $7.90 per month, it isn't free but it also hovers right around what most banks charge for monthly Bill Pay features.

* Wesabe really leverages its active community of users as a draw to bring in new users because like most social media sites this outlet enables users to draw support from each other, sharing tips and ideas.

* YNAB enables you to import bank transactions, pay bills, etc. Again, another program really strong in the budgeting dept. but not so much on investment planning.

* Yodlee offers account-tracking functionality, integration with most banks, and a bill-pay feature. Worth checking out as it served as the model for many other tools that launched post-Yodlee.

* Quicken is the most well known tool among this round up and fairly comprehensive and well-supported (albeit not without its own set of issues). The software is "new and improved!" every year so you have to upgrade to get the latest and greatest features and after a certain point your support is sunsetted on older versions.

* Rudder enables you to connect to all of your accounts through this one app. Helping with bill pay, cashflow predictions and beyond, this tool can be helpful for simpler tasks.

* Thrive offers budgeting and bill bay prompts and encourages users to save. This tool is mostly geared toward saving.

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