There are a number of choices in budgeting software. The good news is that they all work and work well. On the whole, any budgeting plan works as long as you implement it and stick to it. How should you choose budgeting software? Well, many people start by looking at the software most easily integrated with their bank and other financial resources. Many banks now allow you to download your statements directly into Quicken or Microsoft Money, as you prefer. You might also consider a virtual version of old fashioned envelope budgeting with a product like My Spending Plan at Http://www.myspendingplan.com. You can also find a number of free or shareware budgeting software options on-line if you’d like to get started at a lower cost. Finally, if you already own or have access to a basic database program similar to Microsoft Excel, this is an excellent and easy to use budgeting tool.
Which of these options should you choose? First, consider how much you can afford to spend. There are a number of great free budgeting tools, particularly if you do not need to manage and supervise investment accounts or other more complex financial matters. My Spending Plan works on the envelope system, but you will find that there are a number of other free budgeting software options on-line as well, and one may meet your needs and preferences. Buddi is an open source program that will run on any machine with Java installed and is available at http://buddi.thecave.homeunix.org/en/.
Buddi offers a traditional way to track your spending and budget your money. GnuCash allows for common financial file downloads and access at no charge gnucash.org. GnuCash offers substantially more accounting tools than the other free options listed, and will also work well for small businesses needing to keep track of their money.
If you are willing to spend on your budgeting software, the two big names in the business are Quicken and Microsoft Money. Microsoft Money is easy to learn and use, particularly if you are already accustomed to using Microsoft products. It has a number of convenient on-line access features as well, including integrated access with MSN Money.
Quicken is available both as Quicken On-line and as a standard piece of software. If you do nearly all your budgeting at home or the office, the traditional software may be a good choice, but if you use multiple computers or are often on the go, the newer on-line option may be an excellent budgeting tool.
Which of these two should you choose? That answer depends upon your bank, investments and other financial matters. Choose whichever is the most compatible with your needs for the most convenient and easiest home money management.