There are personal finance software for all kinds of things relating to your finances, such as budgeting and investing.
We are going to look at the different personal finance software out there, including both free and paid options.
Let’s take a look at them.
What Is Personal Finance Software?
Firstly, let’s talk about what personal finance software actually is! Luckily, there are so many different types of personal finance software to suit your needs.
Types of software include things like apps, programs, and websites that help you to manage your money in different ways.
When Would Someone Use Personal Finance Software?
You can use personal finance software at any point in your money journey to help you with your goals.
You can use personal finance software when you are just starting out with managing your finances or when you think of yourself as a financial pro.
Using personal finance software can help for various reasons, such as:
- Keeping you motivated
- Helping you stay on track
- Getting you started with managing your money
- Helping you with your investments
- Keeping everything in one place to keep you organized
- Building good money habits
Best Personal Finance Software for 2021 [By Best Use]
We are going to look at the best online personal finance software options, going through what they are individually best for.
Best Software for Budgeting & Spending Tracking:
Mint is one of the best personal finance software that you can use for monthly budgeting and tracking your spending. It’s a good free personal budget software and the best free budget app.
The good thing about the Mint app is that you can import your bank and credit card information which will help you get an overall look at your money.
Another thing that we love about using Mint personal finance software is the accountability that you can get from it, with the reminders that they give you.
When you are new to managing your money, it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s all too easy to forget certain things, which can put you back at square one.
With Mint, you can set up alerts for things like when you have a due date for a bill or if you have a low balance and need to move some money around.
You can set up budget categories and you will get notifications based on what you are spending in those categories, which will help you to stay on track.
But let’s keep going and talk about some Mint alternatives that you could benefit from.
Cost: $11.99 per month, or $84 for the year
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is set up to help you create and maintain a good budget.
YNAB is a personal budgeting program that is based on the envelope budgeting method.
The YNAB software linked automatically to your bank account, and it will use this information to create budgeting tracking and analysis.
YNAB says that the reason that they help you to be so successful is not just down to the tech, but because they follow these 4 rules:
- Give every dollar a job
- Embrace your true expenses
- Roll with the punches
- Age your money (this is where they suggest you wait a while to spend your money)
YNAB has so many good reviews from users, who have found their budgeting system and method really beneficial in managing their money properly for the first time.
Best Investing Software
Cost: $1 for Lite, $3 for Personal, $5 for Family
You can start with as little as $1 per month and you can use your spare change to invest automatically.
They give you access to smart portfolios which adjust automatically as your money grows.
Acorns also give you a debit card to go with the checking account that will save and invest for you.
When it comes to investing, a lot of people worry about starting because they don’t have a lot of money to invest with, and don’t want to risk any of their money.
Acorns can really help people who are brand new to investing and just need to get started.
Getting started is often the most important thing because we can procrastinate over it, and Acorns provides a reason as to why you can start now – with just $1.
Cost: Checking has no fee, Digital Investing 0.25% annual fee, 0.40% annual fee
Betterment is a financial advisory company that provides robo-advising and cash management services.
Betterment says that if you follow their recommendations, you could earn 38% more money over 30 years compared to the average investor.
Betterment is one of the leading robo-advisors which invests your money depending on what your goals are.
When they know what your goals are, they can figure out what to invest in based on your level of risk and how long you want to be investing for.
Betterment is a fiduciary, which means that they will work in your best interests. They don’t own any of the funds that they recommend.
Robinhood is a financial services company that offers people the ability to invest in stocks, ETFs, and options.
The best thing about Robinhood is that it is free to use! Yes, that’s right – you can trade stocks for free on Robinhood.
They make their money from interest earned on the cash balances in your account and margin lending.
Robinhood makes it really easy to invest, but this is something to also bear in mind as ideally, you don’t want to be trading all of the time.
They offer a free stock when you sign up, which is a good way of getting started with investing as you don’t have to use your own money for this.
Check out our in-depth Robinhood review here.
Best Software For Taxes:
When it comes to doing your taxes, it’s always a good idea to find a good piece of software to make the process as pain-free as possible.
Cost: $0 for the DIY route, if it’s basic. For Deluxe Online, it’s $29.99 plus $36.99 per State filed. For Premium Online, it’s $49.99 plus $36.99 per State filed.
We always recommend H&R Block, because we think they do a great job. H&R Block was founded in 1955 and now has approximately 12,000 retail tax offices.
They have a free option for filing your taxes, which includes state filing. If you have a simple tax return to do, this is one of the best options for you to use.
There’s no need to spend loads of money on doing your taxes if what you will be submitting is really straightforward.
There are additional services for more complicated tax returns, such as for HSA contributions or investors.
You also have the choice of filing with a tax pro starting from $69 where you can send in your documents and let them do the rest.
Cost: $0 for the DIY route, if it’s a only simple tax return. For the Deluxe, it’s $60 plus $45 per State filed. For the Premier, it’s $90 plus $45 per State filed.
TurboTax is not one of the cheapest options out there, but they do offer a free option (only for simple tax returns, not everyone qualifies) if you have a simple tax return to do.
It’s quite easy to use, as you can just upload your information from your employer or even just take a picture of it to upload.
The more complicated the tax return, the more you will have to pay, which makes it a bit of a pricey service unless you have one that is straightforward.
Best For Business Finances:
When it comes to your business budgeting software, there are some software platforms that will help you manage them well.
Cost: $12.50 a month for Simple Start, $35 a month for Plus, $75 a month for Advanced, and $7.50 a month for Self-Employed
Quickbooks is one of our favorite programs to use – we personally use it for our business to keep track of everything.
There are lots of things that you can do there such as tracking your income and expenses, invoicing, cash flow management, and more.
They even have a demo so that you can try out what it’s like to use Quickbooks before signing up, which we think is a good touch.
Best For Zero-Based Budgeting:
Cost: $6 a month, or $55 a year. Has a 30-day free trial
Does the word ‘Mvelopes’ sound pretty familiar to you? That’s because it sounds like ‘envelopes’ which is the budgeting method that they follow.
The cash envelope budgeting method is where you have budgeting categories for the different things you spend on, and then withdraw the cash amounts to put into the relevant envelopes.
Mvelopes works in a similar way – you will set up your digital envelopes for the different budgeting categories.
Keeping your money split up like this really helps with keeping on track with your budget as you can see the amounts going down due to Mvelopes tracking it.
Best For Overall Money Management:
When it comes to overall money management, you want to find some software that is going to cover a lot of bases.
Cost: $34.99 for the year for Starter and up from there with 4 packages
Quicken has been a front-runner in financial software, possibly the top program that people continue to use year after year.
Quicken personal finance has been around for 30 years and became a fully independent company in 2016.
To track your spending, you can use the Starter Package, but you won’t get access to as much compared to the other financial plans.
With the Starter Package, you can track, budget, and organize your finances.
You can create a one month budget to track your spending, categorize your expenses automatically, and see a bill center dashboard.
If you look at a Quicken comparison, you will see that users find it really helpful for their money management.
It’s also worth noting that if you have a Mac computer, you only have access to their Starter, Deluxe, and Premier plans.
Empower (Formerly Personal Capital)
Cost: A monthly fee based on a percentage of assets managed. The first $1 million is 0.89%
Empower (formerly Personal Capital) is a very popular personal finance software platform because it allows you to do so many things on there.
You can manage all of your finances on Empower software, including your bank accounts, investment accounts, and more.
There is a free budgeting tool where you can link your bank account and do an analysis of all of your money.
The main focus of Empower is on investing. It’s helpful to see what all of your accounts look like within the dashboard that they provide.
You can even see your Net Worth with the tool on there, which is handy to see an overall picture of your finances.
Net worth is your assets (things you own) minus your liabilities (things you owe e.g. debts). You can link everything in Empower and it will put together your net worth for you which may help you pay off debt.
We also love the Fee Analyzer tool within Empower, where you can check the fees that you are paying on your retirement accounts and see if you are paying too much.
This is important to check because the more fees that you pay means the longer it will be before you can retire!
Best Personal Finance Software FAQ
Now that we’ve had a look at some of the best personal finance software options, it’s time to take a look at some questions you may have:
Should I try to use just one of these personal finance software options, or a combination of a few?
When it comes to the personal finance software options out there that you choose, it is a personal preference as to which you go with.
You may find that there is not one personal finance software option that offers you all of the things that you need for your finances.
We would not recommend that you have all of them running at once, as that would get too confusing.
If you are going to have more than one personal finance software, it’s probably best to have only two at the most.
Ideally, you will want to have one personal finance software that you use, that covers all of your specific needs.
There’s nothing wrong with trying a few out though, and finding out what works best for you!
Empower and Mint are very popular platforms, and people love to compare the two to see which is best – but maybe you could try both.
What is the best budgeting method (and software) to use?
The best budgeting method that we believe will help you the most, is the zero-based budgeting method.
The reason that we think the zero-based budgeting method is the best, is because it makes sure that you are allocating all of your money and none gets wasted.
Zero-based budgeting is where you give every one of your dollars a job. This means that you don’t have anything left at the end which can be wasted.
It also means that you can cover yourself for spending in all of the areas that you will be spending in, as well as any savings you need to cover.
The software that works on the basis of zero-based budgeting is Mvelopes. Another personal finance budgeting software that is good is YNAB.
Can I use business software for personal use as well?
You could use the business software for personal use on its own, but when it comes to combining the two, we don’t recommend this.
It’s not a good idea to mix your business and personal finances as this is where it can get a bit messy and confusing.
Why should I use personal finance software instead of just a spreadsheet?
If you are a spreadsheet fan and find it works for you, then you can of course keep on using it!
You don’t have to do what other people are suggesting if you are happy with what you are currently doing.
There are lots of things that personal finance software can offer you, and if you are serious about dealing with your money, this is something that it will help with.
Should I use free personal finance software or paid personal finance software?
We always recommend using free personal finance software when you are starting something new.
The reason for that is that it’s important to make sure that you create habits around managing your money.
You can sign up to anything that you want, but that doesn’t mean that you will automatically be a pro at managing your money.
Start with the free personal finance software first, so you can see what works for you and what doesn’t.
You can then look at the paid personal finance software to see if it will be worth you upgrading.
There are some things that the paid personal finance software can do that the free ones can’t do, and if you want to level up your finance game, you can get these.
An upfront investment may save (or make) you a lot of money in the long run, so this is something else to bear in mind.
Final Thoughts On The Best Online Tax Software
When it comes to the best personal finance software, I think that we can all agree that there are lots of amazing ones out there!
The software that you choose is going to be dependent on what kind of thing you are looking for, as some are more focused on things like investing.
It’s worth checking through the list of the ones we’ve looked at and choosing from them. Try a few out and get rid of the ones that don’t work for you!