Recently, in a comment, Adam Lehman asked -
grad money man,
i’m a college student who is looking for some free software to manage my various accounts (savings, checking, etc.) and a place to track my daily spending. I am currently using an excel doc, but do you know of anything better?
you could write a post about it or reply. I read all your stuff.
This is the first time anyone has asked me for advice on this blog and I am honored! However, I am totally un-qualified to give advice on this matter since I still use notepad and pencil That said, I will try my best to be of some help. Please find below a comprehensive list of online software for budgeting and money management tools (I have filtered out investing and invoicing tools). I have included a brief description of each tool available from the product’s website. When possible, I have included a link to the review available on the net or a fellow blogger’s site which could provide a more personal experience. I usually find such reviews far better than having to look through the product FAQ to get the feel. Finally, I hope some of the readers who use these software will pitch in with your experiences. Adam (and others), I hope you find this a good starting point for finding the tool that works best for you.
- Bill Monk
From the website: BillMonk is a free service that makes it easy to track expenses between friends, and to settle them up instantly online. Particularly popular with roommates, young professionals, and college students, it has been used for splitting bills like rent, utilities, meals, and beers. BillMonk also allows users to keep track of books, DVDs, or other items that they have lent to or borrowed from their friends.
From the website: Billster can do the following extremely useful bits: (a) Record and report on your personal and group expenses (b) Make you very popular with the opposite sex (ISPF: What????) (c) Save reoccurring expenses, even those with direct debits or standing orders setup (d) Send reminders, either automatically or fired off by you, whenever you want to remind people who owe you money or to remind yourself about a payment (e) Automatically email you with a summary of the expenses you’ve put through billster.
From the website: The budgetEDGE concept grew out of a simple desire to access my personal financial information in an anonymous way (like an email account) online. After looking at the services that existed, I couldn’t find any other site that allows users to really understand the impact of their current spending patterns on the future or what potential purchases might mean to the future. While it’s great to see how much you have spent on chinchilla shearing lessons over the past 3 months, it’s more valuable to know how much my cash position will change if I attend another month of lessons. To solve that problem, I thought about it, and then hired the best (only) programmers I know.
- Budget Pulse
From the website: Money management software are usually complicated while online ones are too simple and featureless. BudgetPulse is built on principles of simplicity, user friendliness and comprehensiveness. As the application is easy to use, it is especially useful for people to manage and monitor their financial condition. For security reasons, we do not and have no intention to link direct to users’ banking account data.
Review: Jim Bruene at Netbanker expresses his concerns about Budget Pulse and other such online money management tools. This article is definitely worth a read before you pick your online tool!
- Budget Tracker
From the website: We allow you to track your Budget, Bills, Transactions and tie all these together in an easy to read Calendar that can send you reminders when Bills are due. You can also view most of the data stored on this site with your Cellular Phone so you can take all your data with you where ever you may be.
Review: Brian Benzinger at Solution Watch has written a detailed review of Budget Tracker
From the website: Our goal is to create the best personal finance application on the web. Money is typically not the topic of discussion for a group of twenty-somethings wanting to have fun with their lives. But that’s only because today’s finance applications make it difficult and boring. That’s what we have set about to change! We want people to effortlessly understand their finances. And have fun while doing so.
- Cash Board
From the website: Cashboard tracks time and money so you can worry about more important things. (a) Have you ever forgotten to send an invoice or collect a payment? (b) Do you have billable hours scattered all over the place? (c) Do you just need an easy to use invoicing solution? (d) Are you spending more time doing paperwork than actually making money? We feel your pain.
- Clear Checkbook
From the website: A lot of people ask us what separates ClearCheckbook from other websites or software that are supposed to help you manage your money. Microsoft Money and Quicken are so packed full of useless features that most people get so frustrated they don’t even use it. Excel is good for keeping track of some withdrawals and deposits, but as soon as you start adding categories or multiple accounts, it all breaks down. Other websites like Mvelopes.com charge you outrageous amounts of money so you can manage your finances. Paper checkbook registers require you to do a lot of math just to try and keep things balanced. ClearCheckbook is in a level of its own when it comes to making it extremely easy to keep track of all your money. You won’t be inundated with huge amounts of worthless features and it’s extremely easy to manage multiple accounts of all types as well as multiple spending categories that you can define. Also, ClearCheckbook is completely free! You’ll never have to worry about monthly fees or any costs to use this site.
Review: I couldn’t find a review of Clear Checkbook, but the blog It’s your money has an interview with Brandon O’Brien, the Creator of ClearCheckbook.com.
From the website: Learn what percent of your spending is on Food or Clothes, then compare these values with similar people so you know where to improve. Forecasting tools let you know when you’ll go broke, or when you’ll be $5K richer. They show you what to expect in your financial future.
Review: Dolores Parker at Download Squad has written a detailed review of Expnsr.
- Expense View
From the website: ExpenseView is a free, easy to use application that helps track your expenses, budgets and income. Use it to get an understanding of how you’re spending your money. The application is still in beta mode.
- Flow Catch
From the website: FlowCatch.com was built around one simple principle; that a month is a long time. Most people don’t track what they spend on a daily basis and then are in for a shock at the end of the month when they open the statement. FlowCatch is designed to change that, by having you track your spending as it happens so there are no more surprises.
From the publisher’s description at download.com: Foonance.com is the new flexible way for families, individuals, and couples to manage their personal finances and track their Net worth over multiple Money Stores. Chuck out those spreadsheets and complicated finance and budget tools. With foonance.com you can tag your expenses and import your Internet bank statements.
From the website: Geezeo is a social finance application that helps you make educated financial decisions. With Geezeo, you can securely access all your bank accounts in one place, join and create groups to discuss specific financial topics with others and check your balances before you buy using sms/text messaging right from your mobile phone. Currently in beta.
From the website: Every month you spend lots of money … with Gastus you can keep track of your daily expenses.
Gastus offers an incredibly easy way to know exactly how much you’ve paid every month. You can categorize expenses by types and concepts, and make nice pie charts and graphs to analyze your data.
From the website: iOWEYOU is an innovative expenses sharing system, originally designed for use in a shared student house. The key features are Expenses logging, Instant reports, Access anywhere, works in any currency and is Completely free!
Review: Gina Trapani at Lifehacker has written a short review of iOWEYOU.
- Just Budget
From the website: Justbudget is a free online web application to manage your personal budget, easily and succesfully. The idea behind it is to track your expenses. Trying to plan ahead is difficult for many people, most likely due to the fact that we don’t really know how we spend our money. So tracking is the first step, then you can think about making changes to your daily habbits so you can reach your financial goals. Most methods to track your expenses are very painful. Think of just maintaining a spreadsheet. It’s hard to read, search through. And if you really want to learn something from it, you gotta build tons of stats and graphs. justbudget just does that. it tries to make it easier and faster for you. So the task isn’t too much time consuming. It gives you stats about your spending and graphs showing your habits.
From the website: Mint is building a free, simple, and secure personal finance web-app. Designed to be effortless, Mint consolidates your financial life in one place. Easily see how much you have, how much you owe, and where your money goes. Advanced alerts notify you before you bounce a check or forget to pay a bill. Patent pending algorithms even show you personalized ways to save and make more money. If your finances could use organization without effort, Mint is for you. Currently in invitation-only beta.
Review: Jim Bruene at Netbanker has this take of Mint
From the website: Moneytrackin’ is a free online webapp that allows you to track all your expenses and incomes easily and without effort, thus allowing you to have a clear view of your financial situation. It intends to be a simple yet powerful online budget management tool. List of features include analysis tools, social tools, mobility support, export to CVS etc.
Review: Tim at demo marks has written a nice review of Moneytrackin’.
- My Spending Plan
From the website: MySpendingPlanTM is free secure online personal finance budgeting software that can help you manage your spending to save money, reduce debt, manage tasks and reach your financial goals faster. […]Our predictive Auto-Assign BudgetTM technology will even recommend a future budget by examining your past and present spending habits and matching them with your income.
Review: Sarah at Frugal Underground has written a detailed review of My Spending Plan.
From the website: No one wants a physical, but we all need one now and then, just to keep tabs on our well being. Your finances deserve nothing less, and determining your net worth is a good first step. It’s all about keeping track of your overall financial health. NetworthIQ™ is a social personal finance manager designed to make monitoring your net worth easy and, dare we say it, maybe even fun. Heck, it’s even FREE!
From the website: With Plan2Spend, a friendly and totally free tool, you can perform several simple tasks which will help you understand the dynamics of your expenses: (a) Organize your bills and payments (b) Track your daily expenses (c) View summary and detailed budget (d) Learn to manage money from the Plan2Spend community (e) Learn to budget your monthly spending.
Review: Tim at DemoMarks has written a step-by-step review of plan2spend.
- Spending Profile
From the website: SpendingProfile.com is an online record of your finances. Track your spending by recording your purchases and assigning them to categories. The graphs then show the overall breakdown and represent your personal spending profile.
- Spend View
From the website: SpendView is a personal finance application that empowers you to effortlessly analyze, track and manage where you spend your money. Will go to public beta soon.
- Spicy Digits
From the website: If you and your geeky friends are busy crafting next google in your garage, keep your focus on the technology and let SpicyDigits manage your recurring project expenses. With SpicyDigits, managing your recurring expenses is a breeze. Login to your free account, enter names and amounts paid, and SpicyDigits manages every aspect of keeping a tab and alerting the group via e-mail on all expenses.
- Track Your Budget
From the website: TrackYourBudget is a new and exciting web application that allows you to take control of your personal finances. You can set up cash, checking, savings, and credit card accounts and enter standard withdrawal, deposit, and transfer transactions for each account. You’ll have the ability to tag and jot down notes about your transactions for easy reference. There is also the ability to set up a monthly budget and when you enter transactions, you can immediately see how it affects your budget, making it much easier to stay on top of your money.
From the website: Wesabe is a community site that makes managing your money easy. Enjoy secure access to all your accounts, painless tools for taking control of your money and reaching your goals, and members’ tips and discussions to help you find the best values.
Review: J. D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly has written a great review of Wesabe.
From the website: Yodlee delivers innovative financial applications that make online banking more profitable. Yodlee’s financial software solutions help customers and small businesses achieve greater financial awareness, control, and satisfaction through their online channel.
Review: Golbguru at Money, Matter and More Musings has written several articles about yodlee.
- Active Allowance
From the website: Active Allowance is a revolutionary web service that helps you create a thoughtful and sustainable allowance and responsibilities system for your kids. We provide easy-to-use online tools and an easy-to-maintain process to help you teach your kids, as part of everyday life, about responsibility, values, making choices and appreciating things.
Cost: BASIC membership is free. FULL membership costs $49.95 per year.
Review: Rafe Needleman at webware has a review of Active Allowance.
From the website: (Abridged by me) We created billQ to help people stay on top of their finances. But billQ is only a tool, you also have to know what you’re building. [ISPF: BillQ is designed to help you with the following tips – ] #1 Avoid penalties, late-fees, and interest charges by paying the bills you have, on time; #2 Do not abuse credit. Credit leads to debt, and debt is a big threat to financial health; #3 Be a conscious consumer. Always understand all terms surrounding purchases and loans.
Cost:BillQ comes in two versions. The first version of billQ is the free version.and has some feature limitations. The second version, billQ Plus, costs $5/month or $50/year and gives you access to a number of advanced features.
Review: Jim Bruene at Netbanker reports that billQ Named Best of the Web by Online Banking Report and Bean Counter Blog has a short review of BillQ.
From the website: Start now to manage online your budget, schedules and
contracts, with simple and effective tools! BudgetOnWeb is a free online system that integrates project management with contacts management and financial tools.
Cost: Up to 5 megabytes for free; 5 to 25 megabytes $50; 25 to 45 megabytes $100
From the website: BudgetSnap puts everything in one place. You will not find a more straightforward program for arranging your finances. Think of it as a checkbook register that’s linked to everything. See your current balance and financial pain points. Make changes and rearrange transactions. Pay and post items from a single screen!
Cost: Current special rates 1 Month @ $7.96; 3 Months @ $19.96; 6 Months @ $33.57; 12 Months @ $62.97; 24 Months @ $89.97
Review: Jim Bruene at Netbanker has a detailed review of BudgetSnap.
From the website: Mvelopes Personal is the most effective online personal finance and spending management system ever. This revolutionary, award-winning system applies innovative financial software technology to the traditional envelope method of budgeting to help you manage your finances, while living within your income – and most of it’s done automatically!
Cost: 2 Year Plan: $189.60 (i.e., $7.90 per month); 1 Year Plan: $129.60 (i.e., $10.80 per month); Quarterly Plan: $39.60 (i.e., $13.20 per month);
Review: Shelley Elmblad, the guide for Financial Software section at About.com has written a detailed review of Mvelopes.