Big List of Free Budgeting Tools and Software

More than a month ago, I wrote a post about tracking your spending for a month. I tried to think of the best way to budget, but I don’t think there is anything that works for everyone.

Everyone knows about MS Money and Quicken, so instead I’ve decided to compile a resource of free budgeting tools so that people can try them out on their own. Try a few. Get some ideas. Make your own. The important thing is to find something that works for you.

Here they are in no particular order:

  • Mint – Free, and now owned by Intuit (the Quicken folks). Tracks your spending and categorizes it automatically. Getting very popular.
  • SimpleD – An “open source Windows application designed for personal or household financial management.” The screenshots actually look pretty slick.
  • AceMoney Lite – Freeware version of an offline personal finance management program. It even downloads stock quotes from the internet. Thanks Ken.
  • PearBudget – An Excel spreadsheet that has definitely had a lot of time put into it. It’s a bit busy, but I still like it.
  • Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 – Seems targeted at business, so this may be overkill for home budgets. But amazingly it’s free!
  • Yodlee MoneyCenter – Initially just an account aggregator, Yodlee now offers spending categories which can be used to help you budget. (Why I use Yodlee for account aggregation.)
  • Stackbacks – The “Stackbacks Automated Budget System” is more of a budgeting setup guide than a tool, but hey, download the .pdf and read away.
  • Buddi – An open-source personal finance and budgeting program, which will run on any machine with Java installed. Thanks Gerard.
  • Budget On Web – Also more biz-oriented, it is a “free online system that integrates project management with contacts management and financial tools.” Free up to 5mb of storage, that is. But that sounds like plenty for personal needs.
  • Mo.neytrack.in – A “free online webapp that allows you to track all your expenses and income.”
  • Grisbi – Another offline open-source personal finance app.
  • MySpendingPlan – A free online budgeting software system that works on the ?”envelope” system. (Somewhat dated overview here.)
  • PHPFIN – An open-source personal finance management program. It seems like you have to install it on your own server?
  • GnuCash – “Personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X.” Does OFX and QIF imports.
  • Budget Master – A free personal budgeting program that offers charts and visual reports.

I haven’t had the chance to look through all of these, but if you go to SourceForge and search for “budget”, you get a variety of programs. Some look interesting and some haven’t been updated in a while.

Unnamed “Homegrown” Spreadsheets

Some of these I have on my computer, but I can’t remember where I got them from. Either it was downloaded somewhere where it was openly available, or someone e-mailed it to me and said it was okay to distribute. I do not take credit for any of them.

  • Spreadsheet #1 – Very simple budgeting spreadsheet. Nothing fancy.

  • Spreadsheet #2 – by a Neil Rothman – A bit more advanced with pull down menus and better layout. (Updated 2012)
  • Spreadsheet #3 – Not sure who made this, but according to the file properties it was by “Anne, Edward & Frank Robinson”.
  • Spreadsheet #4 – Another simplistic spreadsheet, author unknown.
  • Spreadsheet #5 – Submitted by user Tony B. Instructions on use are included.
  • Within Your Means – Via LeisureGuy, it looks like pretty polished.

This list is will be updated as I find more. If I missed anything or you have your own spreadsheet to share, leave a comment or shoot me a message with it attached.

Comments

  1. Added Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 and Buddi.

  2. Added Budget On Web, Mo.neytrack.in, and Grisbi.

  3. This is a really useful list — thanks!

  4. No Yodlee?

  5. SimpleD has some good features as well, although it didn’t work for my style of budgeting.

    http://dsbudget.sourceforge.net/

  6. You may want to know that MySpendingPlan’s security certificate for data encryption is reported to have expired 11/4/06 at 8:45 pm & as of a few minutes ago had not been renewed.

  7. How about Yodlee? It’s free and can help track spending.

  8. Added Yodlee, SimpleD, and spreadsheet.

    SimpleD actually looks pretty cool, I like the purty graphs :) Gonna download it.

  9. Added AceMoney Lite and spreadsheet by Tony.

  10. If anyone uses the Linux operating system, there’s also an excellent Quicken-like clone called gnucash which can be found here: http://www.gnucash.org.

  11. This is an interesting post to me just because I am debating to whether or not purchase Quicken 2007 (Deluxe on sale for $39.99, Basic is $29.99 – is there much difference?). My bank website says I can download my info for Quicken 2005…so does that mean if I buy the software it won’t work? Maybe I should try out these free ones….

  12. 100kinvestor says:

    They have some good excel sheets on the Microsoft Office templates website. I use this one:

    link

  13. Since linux came up — KMyMoney is awesome — I run it on (K)ubuntu and it works beautifully. It also has built in connection capabilities to various banks/financial instituitions to download data
    http://kMyMoney2.sourceforge.net or for apt-get lovers — apt-get install kMyMoney2

  14. I like to use this free tool that I found at Free Budgeting Tool

  15. sfmoneymusings says:

    I sat down today after dinner and started on this budget. I opted for the first spreadsheet to keep track of expenses but I think I’ll need something a bit more sophisticated that will put together reports/graphs.

    Thanks again for pulling together such a large list!

  16. I wouldn’t call it a free tool… but Bank of America has some power full “PortFolio” option on their Online Website. Its free to use, and it works wonders!

  17. I use MyPortfolio myself – it is actually a licensed version of Yodlee MoneyCenter.

  18. There’s also kmymoney. Thanks for this list!

  19. Hi,

    I used http://www.buxfer.com recently & it works great, very simple to use. Also I feel before we jump into budgeting, planning, retirement, investment ..the first goal is to just track your expenses for few months & then create a budget based on the AVG spent in all categories, it helped me a lot that way …buxfer also has budgeting capabilities now ..

    cheers
    Sandeep

  20. I was looking for a free tool, and tried some of the above mentioned ones. Acelite is good, but note that the free version allows only one a/c, so basically the free version is useless, don’t even bother.

    I liked buxfer interface, but categorizing transactions is a pain. (you can set up one time tag, and then it will do it automatically). Wasabe is somewhat similar, but buxfer definitely has a better analysis presentation (graphs, charts).

    What took me by surprise was Yodlee. It is so intelligent that once the a/c is setup (you need to give id/password), it automatically updates your a/cs. The best part is it even automatically categorizes the transactions! Although the analysis is not presented in the best graphical way, if you have lots of a/cs (banks, credit cards, retirements, brokerage investments, etc.) and want to save the trouble of downloading transactions from each one and loading into one of these tools (online or local), you want to go with Yodlee. I don’t why they don’t advertise it so much, but so far it is the best I have seen. I must add that about 7- years ago (yes, I am in IT, and adventurous) I was using similar a/c service from Chase, but it is no longer available.

  21. I just tried a bunch of these over the weekend. I didn’t try Mint yet as it scared me off with its initial questions for accounts and passwords.

    My finalists are easily: wasabe and yodlee.

    I can’t quite decide, but both of these perform automatic downloads … and I like the tagging allowed by wasabe. Even some of the advise is actually pretty useful!

    The winner initially is yodlee, but I’m going to try both for a while
    and see which one feels right to drop.

    I was able to see everything I wanted on wasabe and didn’t consider the tagging very hard. It was more work than yodlee because of all the pre-categorization that yodlee seemed to do (somehow).

    Wasabe did allow me to set spending limits (I was kind of trying to impose a mvelopes style limit) — but its kind of obscure and new currently. The forums at wasabe seem very interested in improving and talking to their use base.

    I’d already take either one of these over Quicken !

  22. Mint.com. It’s FREE and it uploads your account info from your bank and credit cards so it keeps your finances current. Really cool…

  23. FYI, according to Mint.com’s user agreement, they use Yodlee to get the third party data into your account… so it sounds like Yodlee may be the best way to go with less “touching”.

  24. Also, MINT.com is still working on to get data from a/cs other than bank and CC, e.g. Retirement, brokerage etc. While Yodlee already does that. I think Yodlee is the best, especially when MINT is also using their engine. The cool thing abut MINT is the website looks nice. I think all the time they spent while in BETA was to make the website nice, instead Yodlee has a very simple, not attractive look, but has a functionality.

  25. What about Mint?

  26. AV: Did you read the coments? See the previous post.

  27. Harei Edom says:

    A friend told me about this little free online personal budgeting utility, and I have been using it for 2 month now, it is nothing short of amazing, a dream for those who like to be in control of their cash. Totally anonymous, safe, simple and easy to use and very functional.

    It’s called “Out Of The Dark” and it is available at:
    http://www.myexp.org/OOTD_gate.php

    Enjoy.

  28. After much research, I decided to try Out of the Dark. So far, nothing but frustration! I signed up, but could never login because I was never sent the registration email. I started all over with a new email address, finally got signed in, and the site was down for servicing – for FOUR HOURS!! I’ll definitely will try one of the others that have been recommended.

  29. Linda, I have done some work on my budget at OOTD today and also noticed some down time today which is the first for me ever since I opened my budget account there, so don’t get frustrated too easily, if you have a working account now just try it again as I was doing some work after this short down time and had no problems. Also did you find out what went wrong with your first e-mail account? If the second worked then maybe there was a problem with your first e-mail. Also if you contact OOTD they are very good with helping users out and all this for free. You can contact them via the menu option once logged in or also leave a message in the users billboard, they always respond reasonably quickly.

    I also researched the market before going there and found OOTD to be the best and feel the same after almost three months.

    Good luck.

  30. Kiplinger.com recommends http://www.wasabe.com

    but someone mentioned http://www.mint.com and that looks pretty good too.

  31. Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 THIS IS NOT FREE

  32. Joanna B. says:

    Within your means spreadsheet is password protected. Is anyone aware of what the password might be? It looks really cool and I would love to use it.

  33. Can these be run on Apple computer? anyone knows which one is good on Apple?

  34. Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 is free do not get confused by the fact that Microsoft does offer a Professional version of this software which is not free.

  35. Computer Lab Rental says:

    hi
    its a gr8 job done by you
    i was in a gr8 need of these … you have made my day.
    thanks for sharing ur collection with everyone.

  36. Thanks for the creator. This blog made it very simple to choose one software. Thanks for the comments..

  37. Thank you for compilation of the list. I have tried most of the tools mentioned. The tool that I am comfortable with is Buddi. It is simple and very easy to use.

  38. Manuel Tomis says:

    May I suggest an app that I have written.
    Piggybudget is written in Java, is freeware and you can easily track expenses against a budget without any accounting knowledge.

  39. After trying a lot of these over a period of time, I found I didn’t like any of them, I didn’t want my online accounts imported, I didn’t use a desktop application, so most were useless. I finally found one that I love, it tracks expenses and income. Theres no graphs, or fancy diagrams, but simple interface that can let you create “reports” which can be your weekly expenses, monthly, or whatever you wish. It’s main feature is that there are a variety of getting the data to your account. Email, IM, text message, phone, or even a bizzare method through your search bar, allows you to add expenses or incomes right as they happen, anywhere, anytime. It’s simple, it’s free, and I love it.

  40. I recently started using Expense View as one of my infamous iGoogle gadgets, but am in love with it. Please share away: http://www.expenseview.com/

  41. For PHPFin, you can run a server application on your home computer, in the background without any issues to run it. Just googled “apachefriends XAMPP” and install that

  42. Try out http://www.budgettracker.com. It allows you to track your expenses via setting up bills and income and tieing them to your budget. Also allows you to track your small business.

  43. Milen Ivanov says:

    Try this http://www.codelathe.com/mmex/
    This is very good open source software for management of personal finances, has version Windows.

  44. Check out http://www.excelmybudget.com it is a very easy to use budget software that uses Microsoft Excel. Visually interactive pie and bar charts lets you analyze where your money is being spent!

  45. Check out the just release web app http://www.spendbrite.com. It’s an easy way to simplify your spending. Web and mobile based budgeting tools make it easy to keep track of your spending, wherever you are. A simple, customizable cash envelope based budgeting system puts you in control of your spending and savings goals and helps you to keep track common expenses.

  46. All these personal financial programs definitely offer some great features and tools for budget planning and expense tracking. But I needed a software that would allow me to handle my personal finances in multiple currencies at the same time since I travel a lot. I’ve started using https://www.inexfinance.com/ personal money manager and I don’t regret it. They have some really nice features that work smoothly both in the online and mobile version. And on top of that, it’s completely free.

  47. I’d love to see this updated. I’d love to see what apps you think are the best for both android and apple users.

  48. i use a free software called spending viewer http://spendingviewer.apphb.com
    It is a windows application that is isolated to your local computer. It does not ask for your bank website credentials. You can track all of your accounts in single page. Setting up takes less than 5 mins. It allows you to upload transactions in a bulk or manually enter them as needed. It automatically assigns categories based on your settings. It has various reports allowing you to track better. Report by category, by month, by year, by payees, by budget. You can choose various time periods for all of these reports. Setup budget by weekly/monthly, and track it. It is really fast, shows years worth of data in less than a second, and all in a single screen with single click.

  49. Try Home budget box http://www.homebudgetbox.com . It is an easy, free and a rich GUI application which enables you to manage your incomes, expenses and transfers. It is in beta phase for two more weeks but after that it is fully live. Give it a try and please give us suggestions and comments about it

  50. I found this site: http://www.planthebudget.com.
    I like it especially the simulations part. I don’t think I saw it in other tools.

  51. We just released a money management app called “Project Budget”. It’s an accounting software that helps you manage multiple expenses with just one account. It’s designed to project money across all of your unavoidable bills, goals and savings items leaving you with available cash for spending. Hope you like it; http://itunes.apple.com/au/app.....&ls=1

  52. I didn’t see http://www.budgetmath.com on the list. We use it to manage our household budget. It’s pretty easy to use and works very well for us.

  53. hawaiimei says:

    Highly recommend a free iphone/ipad cash flow App ‘Balance Forecasting’ by Robert Chitoiu. Knowing how much is left to spend is equally important than knowing how much was spent. This app can show your cash balance at any time, any date up to 4 years after all the regular income & spending amounts are entered. If an unexpected expense comes up, just add to see if there’s enough cash to cover. If not, trim the other expenses or wait. Simple to use and make revisions. I’ve been using this since it first came out and haven’t found anything better. I would not want to live without this. Try it and you’ll love it too.

Trackbacks

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