Over the years, so many people have written in to ask me if I had one budgeting software or app that I would recommend most. Since I’m not one who is really into apps and spreadsheets and software, I asked my husband, Jesse, and our friend and MSM team member, Brian, if they would help me evaluate 5 different personal finance products and share their thoughts on each.
Both of these guys find absolute joy in spreadsheets and apps and tracking all the finer details of finances so I knew they would be the perfect people to help me write this post.
Here are 4 personal finance products and why they might be right for you (or not):
EveryDollar is free budget software accessible from your computer and iPhone. It was created by the Dave Ramsey team and is based on a proven plan that’s helped millions of people get out of debt and save.
Pros to EveryDollar:
- It has a web-based interface — everything is always up to date because their apps are pulling everything from that web service.
- It’s intuitive and very easy to use to create a new budget or maintain a current budget.
- It was designed to help you get out of debt. EveryDollar tracks progress with Baby-Steps seamlessly and easily connects users to Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers for professional help.
- EveryDollar directly connects to your bank’s online banking system and pulls transactions directly from the bank. All you need to do is assign them to a budget category.
Cons to EveryDollar:
- While EveryDollar is free, there are extra features that make it comparable to YouNeedaBudget that cost $90/year or $7.50/month after a 15-day free trial.
- It’s not available for Android yet.
YNAB combines a simple, effective methodology with award-winning software with the goal of turning you into a financial superhero. They have a group of raving fans — and our family is proud to be among them. 🙂
Pros to YNAB:
- YouNeedABudget makes budgeting easy by assigning each expense to a category and automatically takes it out of the budget when you record the transaction.
- If you record the transaction from your phone using the mobile app, YNAB will update the balance and display the new category balance once the transaction is entered.
- They offer live, online classes every day of the week, and self-directed help guides.
- You can easily import transactions at one time from your bank by importing a downloaded statement on your computer.
Cons to YNAB:
- YNAB Classic is clunky when it comes to importing transactions to put into your budget because you have to download a file from your back and upload it to YNAB. Gratefully, they’ve now upgraded to a new version that will now directly connect to your bank like EveryDollar (we are currently testing the new version out and let you know what we think!)
- Unfortunately, the new version is subscription based — which means that instead of paying a one-time fee, you’ll now pay $50 per year (or $5 per month).
As I mentioned above, you’ve probably heard of Mint — the free website and app that helps you manage your money. Mint was created by the makers of TurboTax® and Quicken® and is used by millions of people.
Pros to Mint:
- You can enter your budget, it shows how much you are spending and warns you if you are about to over spend.
- You can categorize every purchase, then it breaks down your spending so you can see exactly where your money is going.
- It creates a beautiful pie chart (for those who love to see numbers in picture form!) to show what percentage of your money is going where. It makes keeping track of your budget fun and easy.
- The app lets you see how much is in your account and how much you’ve spent from your budget.
- When you enter your budget, it shows what the national average is for spending in that category (which is so interesting, and exciting when you see you’re spending a lot less than everyone else!)
- It sends you reminders to pay your bills and integrates with different accounts.
Cons to Mint:
- You don’t have as much ability to modify, change, or delete certain categories as many people would like.
- You may experience issues with it failing to save your changes — which can be frustrating.
- When you write a check, you can only see the amount and that it was a check — no other information.
And then of course, there’s Quicken — once the mother of all personal-finance products. It’s been around for 30 years so almost everyone has heard of it or used it before. Quicken is a not a cloud-based software and was designed to be used via desktop. (Quicken does now offer a mobile app and mobile connectivity through Mint.com.)
Pros to Quicken:
- Quicken is very good to use for an electronic register and is great at connecting with your bank and keeping bank accounts balanced.
- When we used it for a short time, we liked how easy it was to keep track of all of our assets (house, car, etc) updated with present values for tax and net worth calculations.
Cons to Quicken:
- The Quicken Budget tools are clunky and difficult to manage. When we used it, we ended up using as a register and used paper or Google Sheets for budgeting.
- Quicken was originally designed as a Windows-based software. The Mac version is over twice as expensive ($64.99) as the Windows-based software ($29.99).
- If you want to upgrade to the latest software, data will not transfer from previous versions.Have you used any of these personal finance products? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and how they’ve worked for you!