As my father used to say, free is tough to beat. And the following seven personal finance software are not only for either very powerful. Yes, we’re familiar with the old saying that “there is no such thing as a free lunch” but the Internet has amended that to “there can be such a thing as a free lunch.” There is a huge amount of free or open source software available on the Internet and personal finance software is no exception. In fact, when it comes to personal financial software there is almost a banquet table full. However, these are the options considered to be best by the site Gizmo’s software.
Does a fast education in accounting appeal to you. Then this would be a good choice. It will teach you about how assets equal liabilities plus equity, It will also allow you to manage your budget without having to use all those categories that are usually found in commercially available personal finance programs. GnuCash permits you to easily have as many accounts as you would want under each of your categories. It has the ability to do graphing and reporting into the program that can generate a complete group of customizable and standard reports. The program includes profit and loss, a balance sheet, portfolio valuation and so forth. The one negative of GnuCash is that won’t automatically track the movements stock prices and there are brokers that don’t support file downloads unless they are compatible with Quicken.
HomeBank is very feature-rich and enables you to keep track of detailed expenses including assets, income as well your categories for your budget. It offers many different report generating options plus the capability to import information related to Amiga.
This program is also very feature rich and offers numerous transaction report categories. It also supports many different edit and settings for all transactions and reports. GFP is simple to use as it has a exhaustive help file that offers clear guidance. The program has a gentle learning curve and is great for both novices and even professionals. GFB is open source and built on the GNU license model.
Money Manager EX
This is also an excellent program. It would allow you to create numerous accounts, reports, transactions, and categories. It is described as relatively simple to use as it has a large help file you could use to learn how to use its many features and options. The program can be used with practically all computer OSs (operating systems) and would be a good choice for both beginners and personal finance wizards. Unfortunately, you must do data entries manually as this application seriously lacks real-time download and fiscal tracking capabilities.
This is also a GNU open-source program that also offers numerous features. You can use it to create an endless number of, categories, accounts, and reports. Its GUI (graphic user interface) is attractive and easily understandable. However, Grisbi
lacks a built-in help file giving it a steeper learning curve. While Grisbi is an excellent program overall you would make sure that you never forget your password as this would mean you would lose all of your financial data.
Metalogic Finance Explorer
This is a very straightforward but powerful, program for budgeting that offers two big advantages over other similar programs. First, it allows you to automatically upload data from your bank and second it will import financial data in all formats in from all possible sources via the OFE (Open Financial Exchange) protocol. You can also use MetaLogic Finance Explorer to import stock market data and print its financial information. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t have much built-in Help. The good news is that there is a more comprehensive help file available online. With this translates into is that you will need to fiddle around with it to learn how to use all its many features.
This is a “light” version of AceMoney in that it allows only two accounts compared with its big brother which will handle an unlimited number of accounts. This program enables you to keep track of all your expenses and provides numerous options to generate reports by various categories, subcategories and even functions. One definite plus of AceMoney Lite is that it offers password protection, which is good for security purposes. It has a currency converter and includes a complete and very detailed local help file. The program is fairly easy to use with a gentle learning curve making it good for both experts and novices.
This is not like the other free software programs described in this article because it is available only online. However, Mint.com may just be the most popular way to manage personal finances because it’s sort of the Swiss Army knife of online options. To use this program you will need to make an account and then input information about your credit cards, home loans, banks and brokerage accounts. The people behind Mint say it doesn’t require any information that would be personally identifiable. The account is basically anonymous. All that’s required is that you set it up using an email, a password and your ZIP Code. Mint never knows your name, Social Security number, address, account number or your PINs. It will track your spending and makes it easy to set up budget categories. Once you set up your categories and assigned spending limits to them it will send you an email alert if you are exceeding any of your limits. Mint will also send you an email alert if it finds any financial product better than one you’re currently using.
This is also an online-based service that’s 100% free. It’s set up so that you can import your bank data automatically and it will automatically classify your financial data into meaningful categories based on the information you provide. If you find that your bank does not support Money Strands you can’t provide its name to the site’s owners and it will attempt to get the bank to link with the program.
This is also an email-based system but does have some privacy issues. It puts all your accounts together in one place, provides bill reminders, allows you to create a budget and control your cash flow. According to Gizmo’s freeware site it is not possible to know if your personal details would be totally protected. “I need a credible guarantee that if my ID, password, account numbers and credit card numbers are somehow compromised through their service that they will make me whole.” The people behind this site also wonder if they were ever to close their accounts would they be able to know that their data has been securely erased.