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Your Take: Do You Use Money Management Software?

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Pen & Paper is Money Management Too!When I started working five years ago, I tracked my spending down to the penny. I wrote about my “Budget Bible” before when talking about financial leaks. I felt that tracking my spending down to the penny was a great way for me to identify the areas I was spending and gave me an opportunity to review those areas. I didn’t realize it but that Excel spreadsheet was my first foray into money management software!

Back in 2003, there weren’t many personal finance tools out there. The tools that did exist were young and untested. Nowadays, there are plenty of personal finance tools available to help you manage your money! You have the beautiful, feature-rich, venture-backed Mint.com, you have the big branded cash flow focused Quicken Online, and you have the relative gray beard of the bunch, Yodlee, all at your disposal.

Of the three, I’ve played with Mint.com and Quicken Online and use them sparingly. My question for you, on this fine Friday, is – Do you use money management software? Either online or offline? If so, which one? If not, why not?

As for this week’s bribe, I have a copy of Quicken Premier 2009 to give away to one lucky commenter. You don’t have to say you use Quicken or that you’ll try Quicken Online, you just need to leave a comment and share which software you use or if you don’t use any at all! Contest closes in one week, February 27th, and it’s void where prohibited. Good luck!

(Photo: paulworthington)

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144 Responses to “Your Take: Do You Use Money Management Software?”

  1. motown missile says:

    I’ve never used any kind of financial tracking software…always just done it the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper. However, since I’m trying to get my financial house in order this year, now would probably be a real good time to try one out.

    By the way, I like the site…why did you change the name?

  2. Sssjk says:

    I have never used money management software. I tried a few times in college, but could not keep up with it. Might be time to try again…

  3. Matt says:

    I tried to check out Mint.com but they do not have my bank as an option to use. I suppose that’s what happens when you bank at a small hometown bank.
    In the past I have had some success with MS Money as well but am currently not using any software.

  4. Nan says:

    I use pencil and paper to do our household finances. It has generally worked so far, because we did not have much money to manage and what little we did just sat in a savings account at our credit union. But we recently graduated and got jobs, so we are earning a little better and I am beginning to spread out the money (wow, CDs and savings accounts!!), so it is getting a little more difficult to manage on paper. I also like the way you can quickly analyze spending using software, where as you need to get your calculator out with pen and paper accounting.

  5. sandi_k says:

    I am using clearcheckbook.com

    It doesn’t require account numbers or passwords, so that makes me more comfortable with it.

    You can also create a “cash” account, to track cash spending – which many others don’t allow.

    It’s very easy, and I like it, since it’s web-based, which has evolved as a requirement for me. (I use a MAC, and many software programs (YNAB Pro) don’t yet have MAC versions).

    I also use Google docs for my initial spending plan each month (pre-tax figures).

  6. SK says:

    I use a spreadsheet for budgetting my expenses and use another to plot my monthly account balances and Networth and compare each month with the previous.

  7. Rob W says:

    I use Quicken Delux 2004. I got a copy from a friend and have been using it for a month now. It sure beats using spreadsheets.

  8. Eric says:

    I currently use an Excel spreadsheet, but would love to try the new version of Quicken.

  9. Heather says:

    I have been using microsoft money for several years now, but it is now longer meeting my needs. I have customized spreadsheets in excel for now until I find what I need.

  10. Craig says:

    I’ve used Money and Quicken over the years and hated both. Especially hated the way some banks let you link to your account from Money/Quicken while others required downloading from their website. The final straw was when banks started offering free bill pay but you had to use their website (rather than Direct Pay thru the desktop software). I’ve been using Yodlee’s Moneycenter for the past two years. It simply puts ALL my accounts in one place with one login.

  11. Justin says:

    After ~8+ years of being under the stranglehold of M$ Money, which locks the clients financial data in a fragile proprietary format that corrupts easily — I have switched to GNU Cash.

    What a difference!

    I really like the proper accounting with expense accounts (as opposed to MS Money categories). GNU Cash also handles foreign currency exchange, while MS Money forces you into one currency.

    Open standards FTW!

  12. Ashtrom says:

    At the beginning, I used excel spreadsheet, but then, together with my fried developed software on that basis and now using it. We call it Aimiya Financial Goal. The main idea for me – I do not track my expenses on a categorise way, instead of this I am using balance sheet approach, recording my balances on a permanent basis, compare historical data with my financial goal and then analyse changes in order to get some decisions.

  13. Yoshi says:

    “Back in 2003, there weren’t many personal finance tools out there.”

    I am not sure what the author is talking about here? I began using and syncing my financial data with the banks in 1995 using the original MS Money. I used it to the end, owning every version.

    I recently switched, in Jan 2010, to Quicken 2010 and am sorely unhappy with the tool, but it was supposed to be the best direct-connect offline tool for the job. It stinks to put it mildly. I will never buy another intuit product again; including turbo tax…it is that bad. You can’t even hide reconciled transactions in Quicken without it recalculating the balances based on what transactions are currently in the register. That isn’t cool to me at all.


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