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Personal Finance Programs – Paid Vs Free Software. Which one should you use?

Today there are many personal finance programs that can help to organize your complete financial transactions which include monthly and yearly budget, online banking, online payment, deposits, portfolio management of funds, stock reports and tax filing etc. It will help to minimize your expenses, increase savings and returns and in turn arrange funds for every necessity of your life.

There are quite a few softwares in the market that serve to manage your personal finances. They provide reports and graphs for better understanding of where is the money coming from and where it will be going. This is the basic step for future financial planning.

Free desktop personal finance worksheets

The most basic worksheet finance program that helps to manage your budget and view a complete picture of your financial condition is Microsoft Excel. Excel can be customized and it is a user friendly worksheet.

The major disadvantage of worksheet finance programs is that you have to manually enter each and every transaction. If you are using multiple computers then it will be tiresome to transfer the updated data, using external drives or even uploading to your email account. Using a Google spreadsheet instead is a smart option, as it eliminates your storage problem by saving the data on its servers.

Free online financial planning programs

Nowadays there are number of free online financial programs available which run on Internet Explorer or any other browser.

Some of the top online finance programs include Mint.com, Clearcheckbook, eFinPlan, Finicity Money Manager-Mvelopes, IExpense Online, Geezeo, PearBudget Online Budgeting Software, Quicken Online and Wesabe.

The main advantages of using free online financial planning programs are:

  • You don’t need to install the software on hard drive and that saves storage space
  • You can use any operating system as it runs on a browser
  • Since you are using an online financial planning program there is no chance of data corruption from your end. Automatic data backup is available and you can easily access the data whenever or wherever, using internet.

The main disadvantages of free online programs are:

  • Security is one of the major issues. You have to check its credentials in terms of hacking etc
  • You need an internet connection for using and access data. If there is any problem with internet connectivity then you will be unable to access the software.
  • These free softwares does not have enough all the features you need for a financial budget
  • If you check your finances online on a public computer and forget to log out, then the next person who uses that computer can directly access your records.

Paid personal finance programs

One of the top paid financial planning programs are Quicken Home and Business 2009, Microsoft Money Plus Premium 2009 and Mvelopes Personal Budgeting System. These softwares provide comprehensive programs from banking solutions to fund management to user friendly graphs.

The main advantage of these programs is that they are secured and reliable as compared to free online programs. One of the disadvantages of using these paid programs is that you have to pay to upgrade you software. Its just fine, because everyone knows that quality comes at a price.

For starters I would like to suggest for using a free online personal finance program. This is a good way of first understanding the benefits of using the software. If you have to manage large amounts from multiple sources and you are investing in diversified projects, then it is better to use paid services like Quicken.

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