Best Free Budgeting Software Options
Take control of your financial future with these free budgeting software options.
Is it hard for you to save money? Are you always worried about household expenses? Does personal budgeting seem like a giant hassle without much benefit? Don't worry - we all feel like that sometimes.
The good news is that there are a lot of free personal finance software options available online that can help you manage your spending and saving without having to deal with complex spreadsheets or calculators. So if you're ready to start getting your financial house in order, take a few minutes to find the free budgeting software option that's right for you.
Why Budgeting is Important
It's a familiar story. You get your paycheck at the end of the week and you feel like a millionaire. Why not celebrate all your hard work with a few drinks, a nice dinner, a night out on the town or a new outfit? Maybe there's a new gadget you've had your eyes on for a while. You work hard. You deserve it.
Come Monday, you look at your bank account and realize that it had a lot less zeros in it than you thought it did. This can lead to big problems - from money lost in overdraft fees, to defaults on loans, to worries around retirement. And while your night out on the town may have been fun for a few hours, the extreme stress and anxiety that can accompany financial trouble can last a while.
That's why budgeting is important. If you look at your budget and have enough in your discretionary budget to enjoy a few things, than great! If you don't, than at least you know beforehand and can avoid unnecessary additional costs.
Stop Winging It
It's not just about planning for "fun" spending. It's also about planning for the range of financial emergencies that can happen to almost any of us.
Everything from your car to your home to your television can have problems. You might have a leaky roof or a bad water pump on your car. You may have to pay an unexpected medical bill or fund some sort of unexpected unpaid time off from work, whether that involves disability or a family emergency.
Knowing how much you need to spend on the regular costs of living and how much you need to put away for a rainy day is the foundation of any successful budget. With a budget, you won’t be “just winging it” – you’ll be keeping yourself safe in case of an emergency, while also moving forward toward concrete goals.
Best Free Budgeting Software Options
Here are some of the best free money management software options to help you handle your financial affairs. Many of these have limited versions for free but require a subscription for a more robust version. Others offer limited-time free trials, or are available for free on the Internet or as mobile applications but come with embedded ads and/or fees for extra services like bill-pay.
Mint is an extremely popular free budgeting software service. It offers a range of resources, from visualizations of spending patterns to retirement advice and general financial advice - all through a central website portal. One of the advantages of Mint is its broad and diverse platform. One of the downsides would be that some of their tools require a pretty steep learning curve, as well as supplemental reading, which means it can take some time to really start using it effectively.
LevelMoney is another tool that helps to visualize spending and make budgeting more transparent. When you link your accounts, you can see how you're spending money on an easy-to-use interface. There are tracking and analysis tools for spending and other features to help keep track of your money. One benefit of LevelMoney is the ability to set benchmarks to advance in your budgeting goals. A drawback is that LevelMoney isn't linked to a larger platform with the range of resources available on some of the bigger websites.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is another digital tool for budgeting that's extremely popular and prominent on Facebook and other social media platforms.
YNAB takes a narrative approach to budgeting. It shows readers other people's stories and talks about budgeting in a practical, straightforward way. One of the biggest advantages of YNAB and its online budgeting tools is this story-based approach. On the other hand, it may not offer many of the technical tools available at some other sites. They offer a short free trial, but after that there's a monthly fee.
Doxo is what some people might call a “digital filing cabinet." In addition to simple budget tracking, Doxo allows actual bill payments over a smartphone. Available for Android and iOS, Doxo is quickly adding capability to a budgeting tool that not only provides access to information, but helps to manage transactions for more clarity in the household budgeting process. While Doxo is ahead of the pack in functionality, some newcomers may find it hard to use.
Mvelopes is another software service that takes a quite different tack. It's based on the old idea of putting different amounts of money into envelopes to help track finances throughout the week or the month. Mvelopes can be an effective way to really make money handling transparent. Its unique system is simple and easy to use. However, some have criticized Mvelopes as being behind the times when it comes to the automation or innovation that other platforms promote in order to help users manage their money.
Take advantage of these free budgeting software tools to help you keep your finances in order. Make this the year that you get serious about making a budget – and sticking to it. That way you'll be able to take your next night out on the town guilt free!
Mint®, LevelMoney®, You Need a Budget®, Doxo®, and Mvelopes® are registered trademarks of their respective owners. The owners of these trademarks are not affiliated with Toco Warranty Corp. and have not endorsed Toco Warranty products and services.