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.