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Best Personal Finance Software of 2019

Best Personal Finance Software 2019 - Programs for Mac, Windows PCs

We spent over 60 hours testing 20 personal finance apps and programs to find the best budgeting and money management tools. Our choice for the best personal finance software is Quicken Premier. It combines the best budgeting tools with easy-to-use tax reporting. It can track your investments by letting you compare your portfolios with the market, as well as allowing you to track fund fees and set retirement goals. Quicken Premier is the most complete program we reviewed and a good choice for anyone looking to get a better handle on their finances.

ProductPriceOverall RatingConnectivityBudgetingReportingPersonal InvestingNoteworthy FeatureBest ForOptions & FunctionalityBank & Credit Union AccountsCredit Card AccountsInvestment & Retirement AccountsWorks on PC & MacBrowser-BasedMobile AppsBudgeting SimplicityOnline Bill PayBudget AlertsTrack Remaining BudgetCopy Budget to Next MonthGoal TrackingNet Worth OverviewSpending ReportsCash Flow ReportsPersonal Investing ReportsTax ReportsExport to Tax ProgramPortfolio OverviewTrack PerformanceDisplay Asset AllocationCompare Portfolio to MarketTrack Fund FeesRetirement Goals
Quicken PremierView Deal4.5/58.3101010Portfolio X-RayInvestment Management100%100%--100%PC OnlyPC Only
MoneydanceView Deal4/588.386P2P Lending AccountsReporting80%85%-100%-----
BuxferView Deal4/5107.554Links to PayPalForecasting Budget100%70%Android, iOS & Windows100%--------
Quicken StarterView Deal4/579.57.81.3Snap & Store ReceiptsSimple Budgeting100%100%-PC-100%---------
BanktivityView Deal3.5/5779.34Apple Watch AppReporting90%80%$$$Mac-iOS100%------
CountAboutView Deal3.5/59.85.85.53Customizable Categories & TagsSimple Budgeting100%80%PremiumPremiumPremium80%----------
MvelopesView Deal3.5/59.865.51Financial CoachingEnvelope Budgeting100%80%75%----------
MoneyspireView Deal3.5/577.55.36Print ChecksPaying Bills75%75%PlusPlusPlus-iOS80%Plus-------
YNABView Deal3.5/5874.81.3Works with Amazon Alexa and Apple WatchBudgeting75%65%-Android, iOS & Amazon Echo100%-----------
BankTreeView Deal3.5/57.55.36.39Supports Multiple CurrenciesInvestment Management75%80%$$$PC-70%------
iFinanceView Deal3/56.375.53Apple Watch AppTracking Multiple Budgets65%80%HBCI support requiredMac-iOS80%German banks only--------
MoneyLineView Deal3/56.34.86.32Transaction ManagementSimple Budgeting75%80%--90%----------

Best Overall

Quicken Premier

Quicken Premier

Best tools for managing investments
Copy your budget to the next month
Pay your bills through Quicken
Cost is higher than most
Since it is a desktop app, you must be at your computer to use it
Mac users need to purchase Quicken for Mac

Our pick for the best personal finance software is Quicken Premier. Quicken is one of the most well-known names in personal finance, and it is constantly updating its software with new features.

The version of Quicken Premier we tested was incredibly easy to connect to any bank to track finances.

When you connect the program to your account, it will import your transactions and categorize them automatically. If something is incorrect, you can edit it. The categories are used to help you organize your budget. Quicken color-codes your budget, green for within budget and red for over budget. The program sends alerts when you approach or exceed your budget. Quicken gives you multiple options for setting up your budget. You can keep the same limit each month, or direct any unused amount to roll over into the next month.

Where Quicken Premier stands out is in its tools for managing investments. If you own stocks or other securities, this is the best choice for you. Its tools analyze your portfolio and compare its performance with the market. You can also create retirement goals and use the calculator to evaluate your finances and determine what you need to save toward your retirement goals.

Read the full review

Best Value

Quicken Starter

Quicken Starter

Lowest cost of any of the programs we reviewed
Has all the budgeting features of Quicken Premier
Can use the app to save receipt information
No investment monitoring features
Doesn’t work on Mac
Doesn’t export to tax programs

Quicken Starter is a scaled-down version of Quicken’s personal finance software. With a cost of $39.99, this is among the lowest-cost programs we reviewed.

This is our best value option because it gives you the same useful budgeting tools as Quicken Premier.

Quicken Starter connects directly to your accounts and imports your balances and transactions, automatically categorizing them. You can manually adjust the categories if default tags don’t match your budget.
Budgets are easy to create and can be divided into categories to track how much you spend on groceries, rent and other items. You can set up email or text alerts for when you approach or exceed your budget limit in a certain category. The Quicken mobile app also lets you check on your budget from your phone. You can also use the app to take pictures of receipts and add those to your records.

Quicken Starter has no tools for monitoring or tracking your investments. You can’t import information about your investments or use any of the tools for tracking fees or creating retirement savings goals. If you just want a personal finance program to track your spending and manage a budget, not having those investment tracking features shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

Read the full review

Best Mobile App

Buxfer

Buxfer

Easy-to-use mobile app
Auto-tagging of transactions is accurate
Shared-expense tracking lets you divide costs with roommates, friends or family
Can’t export to tax programs
You can’t create savings goals
Investing features are minimal

Having a mobile, web-based personal finance program makes it easy to track your spending and expenses from anywhere.

Once you create an account with Buxfer and download the app, you can connect it your bank and credit card accounts. Once connected, your balances and transactions are added to Buxfer and automatically categorized. You can also edit the information if the automatic categorization isn’t accurate.

Creating a budget with Buxfer is easy. You set an overall spending limit for each week, month and year you intend to budget. You can use the categories to further refine your budgeting. The budgets are color-coded. One advantage of being primarily app-based is that you can always have your budget available and reference it when you’re out shopping. Buxfer also has shared-expense tracking, which lets you send money to others, especially useful if you split rent or utilities with roommates.

Buxfer offers simple reports that help you visualize your spending. You can use the pie charts to determine what percent of your income you spend on various categories. Line graphs give you a quick view of your income versus your expenses. One drawback of Buxfer is that you can’t set up savings or retirement goals.

Read the full review

Best for Investors

Moneydance

Moneydance

Connects to brokerage accounts, letting you monitor your assets
Doesn’t send alerts when you approach a budget limit

If you have investments and brokerage accounts, Moneydance is one of the best options for you.

This program has tools to help you track your investments and monitor the progress of your portfolio. It syncs to your brokerage account and shows your balances and trades. In addition, it has reports that let you track your transactions and the performance of your investments. Moneydance is an easy-to-use program that lets you categorize your spending so you can see how much you spend and what you spend it on. You can also sync to your bank and P2P lending accounts to directly import your transactions.

Read the full review

Best for Envelope Budgeting

Mvelopes

Mvelopes

Easy to set up and import transactions
Doesn’t track investments

Mvelopes is one of the best programs if you practice envelope budgeting.

With this method, you split your budget into envelopes marked with categories such as groceries, bills or entertainment. You then purchase items with money from the envelope category they fall under. Mvelopes lets you track your expenditures by assigning them to digital envelopes. When you exceed a spending limit, the envelope balance changes to red, and the program prompts you to address the situation by adding funds or letting it stay negative. This is a good way to visualize your spending and track where your money goes. One drawback is it doesn’t send you an alert when you go past a limit.

Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We’ve reviewed personal finance software for 12 years. For this most recent update, we spent 60 hours using 20 programs before settling on the best 10. You may notice that some newer apps don’t appear in our reviews. We chose not to include free services like Mint or Personal Capital, though we may reconsider in future updates.

We did look at both of these programs. Mint is one of the most popular personal finance apps. It also offers a free credit score and has a wide range of alert options. Personal Capital doesn’t have budgeting tools, but it lets you track all your accounts and is very well-suited to people with investments they want to track.

How We Tested

To test these programs, we purchased or downloaded complete trials and used them to create budgets, connect to a bank account and monitor how well each program performs. We found that setting up your budgeting software can take some time, so be sure to give yourself an hour or possibly more. The best programs connect automatically to your bank, credit card or investment accounts directly. A few require you to import through Dropbox or another intermediary. Our Options & Functionality Score reflects this; anything with an 80 percent or above is easy to connect.

Once our transactions were imported, we let the program categorize them for us and began creating budgets. We noted the tools each program has to simplify the budgeting process, and whether you can copy the budget from month to month and set up recurring payments.

To make sure we tested these programs for all manner of financial scenarios, we also looked at the tools for monitoring investments. Many of the programs at least give you an overview of your portfolios and track their performance. The more extensive personal finance programs allow you to compare your portfolio to the rest of the market.

How Much Does Personal Finance Software Cost?

Personal finance software can cost as little as nothing or as much as $130 – much depends on what you want your software to do and if you prefer using an app, an online portal or a program downloaded to your computer. There are free apps like Mint and more robust apps like You Need A Budget, which costs $6.99 a month. If you have investments or need more complicated budgeting and accounting tools, a program you download may be your best choice. These usually cost around $50 to $130.

How to Choose a Personal Finance Software

Before settling on a personal finance program, take stock of what you need it for and how you’ll use it. Everyone’s financial situation is different, and some of these programs may not suit all your needs.

Basic Budgeting
If you need to get a handle on your finances and track your spending,  each of these programs offer something for you. A budget can be as simple or complex as you need. You may want to simply track your total spending, or you may want to divide it into a range of categories. Some people like the envelope budgeting method, which allows you to set aside money each month for specific items or goals. Mvelopes is a good program that utilizes this method.

Goal-oriented Budgeting
If you’re budgeting because you want to save toward a goal, say a down payment on a home or for retirement, many of the programs offer tracking tools that let you set aside an amount each month and track your progress. Using personal finance programs to manage your budget can help you find areas you’re overspending in or ways you can cut back your spending to make your goals.

Tracking Investments
Not everyone invests money in the stock market, but if you do, you’ll need a program that can cover the full breadth of your financial picture. Many of the programs we tested integrate with your financial firm and can at least give you a top-level look at your portfolio. The best let you track your performance and compare your portfolio with the market. If investment tracking isn’t what you need, you can find a lower-cost program with the budgeting features you’re looking for. 

Best Free Personal Finance Apps

Most of the personal finance programs we reviewed cost money to download or sign up for, and a few have monthly subscriptions. If you’re just starting to budget and track your finances, take a look at some of these free apps:

Mint: This is a free budgeting app developed by Intuit, the same company responsible for Quicken. Mint is free to download and use. Once you install it, you sync it to your bank and credit card accounts, and it pulls all that information into one main dashboard. Mint categorizes your transactions, so you can check your bank and credit card balances at a glance. It even goes a step beyond and lets you check your credit score and investment performances as well as your home’s value. 

Mint automatically creates a budget for you, though you can adjust it depending on your needs. You can also set up alerts to tell you if you’ve gone beyond your budget or have a bill coming up. One drawback of using a free app like Mint is you get ads and promotional offers.

Clarity Money: This is a relatively new app, owned by Goldman Sachs. It's very similar to Mint in that it syncs to your bank accounts, tracks spending and sends alerts when you have a bill due. However, it stands out by monitoring your subscriptions to services and websites, and it can cancel them for you. Clarity Money gives you a good picture of your finances, but if you need more in-depth budgeting tools, it may not be as useful.

PocketGuard: This is a basic app that tracks your spending. It doesn’t have many additional features and may not be good for reconfiguring your entire budget, but it’s a useful way to see how much money you have on hand.