The best home budget software packages

How many times have you looked at your bank account and wondered where the money has gone – again? If this scenario is giving you a few grey hairs every month, maybe it’s time to invest in a good home budget software package to help you identify and keep track of your spending habits.

Whether you’d like to manage your own finances and investments better, balance a family budget or need help running a small business, you needn't go it alone, agonising over piles of old receipts, bills and paperwork. Take advantage of some of these great home budgeting software packages instead.

Quicken Personal 

Think of Quicken as your one-stop personal finance solution. With Quicken Personal, you can track all your bank accounts, credit cards, income and expenses in one place. You can schedule bill payments and other recurring transactions, as well as manage your home and car loans.

Quicken’s built-in budgeting tools will allow you to save and plan for the future, as well as track and compare your personal and business investments. You can even make useful charts and graphs.

And when tax times rolls around, Quicken Personal automatically categorises items for you and generates reports to help you prepare your annual tax return.

Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe

Designed to be a replacement for expired versions of Money software, Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe is a free, full-featured home budget tool whose only limitation is that it can’t connect directly to your financial institutions.

If entering your transactions manually isn't a problem for you, it’s hard to go past this robust personal finance product that won’t cost you a cent.

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

YNAB is home-budgeting software that allows you to plan for the future. Based on a system of four basic principles, YNAB is designed to help you create and successfully manage a budget.

The four principles are:

  • Give every dollar a job: A particular dollar can be used for current or future needs, but every dollar has a specific task in your life.
  • Save for a rainy day: The YNAB software is designed to help you seamlessly save so that unexpected expenses aren't detrimental.
  • Roll with the punches: In the event that you blow your budget in one area, the software makes adjustments in others, evening things out.
  • Live on last month’s income: This rule is based on successful implementation of the previous three steps.
According to YNAB, the median net worth increase for a YNAB user after one month is $200, increasing to $3,300 after nine months.

YNAB offers a free 34-day trial and free budgeting classes online.

Yes, with careful record keeping, you could probably approximate the functionality of these handy software programs, but with a lot more time, effort and hassle.

Since these packages are cost effective, they’re worth checking out. And they could really make the difference to your monthly bottom line.