Best Free Personal Finance Software

 
Introduction

In my review of the best free personal finance managers, I found 8 products good enough to warrant recommendation with the best of these being as good as any commercial product. Some choices for online money management are also included in this article. Check them out and select the one that best suits your needs.

 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

GnuCashIf you are looking for a quick education in double entry accounting, look no further than GnuCash. It will ease you into the "Assets = Liabilities + Equity" accounting equation and help you keep tabs of your budget without using the categories commonly used in commercial personal finance applications.

Users' are allowed to easily create as many accounts as they need under each category. The program is integrated with a reporting and graphing module to generate a full suite of standard and customizable reports including balance sheet, profit & loss, portfolio valuation, etc. It also allows for convenient printing of checks.

On the downside it does not track stock price movements automatically and some brokers only support online downloads of files compatible with Microsoft Money or Quicken so that users' have to update them manually. The program does not provide encryption of files but users' can rely on third party encryption software to keep files confidential and secured if necessary. It also takes a while to either start-up or close down the program.

 

Home BankHomeBank is a feature-rich program that allows the keeping and tracking of detailed expenses, income, assets, and other budget-related categories. Numerous report-generation options are also available, as well as the ability to import Amiga-related information.
Help is available from within the program. Press F1 for extensive HTML based help.

 

 

 

GFPGFP is a rich and full-featured program. It has numerous transaction and report categories, and also supports numerous edit and option settings for each transaction and report.

It is easy to use and understand and it offers a detailed Help Section that provides clear guidance. It has a gentle learning curve and is suitable for novices and professionals alike. It is based on the GNU open-source license model.

 

Money Manager EXMoney Manager Ex is an excellent full-featured budget program that enables users to create multiple accounts, transactions, categories and reports. The program is fairly easy to use, with a medium-level learning curve and has an extensive help file to assist users on how to navigate the various features and options. It also supports most, if not all, computer operating systems.

In general, it is a good program for novices and experts. The new version now includes an option to save your file in emb format with password encryption. However, data entries must be done manually as you use this application, which is sorely lacking in real-time automatic fiscal tracking and download capabilities.

 

GrisbiGrisbi is another GNU GPL open-source budget program that is full-featured, and allows users' to create multiple, unlimited accounts, categories and reports. The program's GUI is simple, attractive and easy to understand, but because of the lack of a local help file, within the program, there is a steeper learning curve involved in learning all of the program's features and operations.

The program is versatile for the most part in terms of its capabilities and format accommodations and supports encryption of files. Nonetheless, a user must be careful not to forget his or her password as it would mean losing all of the created financial data.

Overall, it's an excellent program, which I recommend to Gizmo's users'. 

 

Metalogic Finance Explorer is a full-featured, straightforward budget program that has two primary advantages over many other programs:

(1) allows for automatic uploading of financial data from banks

(2) it accepts importing of financial data from all sources and formats via the Open Financial Exchange (OFE) protocol. 

In addition, the program allows users' to import stockmarket data and to print out their displayed financial data. However, there is a very skimpy local help file within the program, but there is a relatively more extensive online help file. Hence, the user must play around with the features to learn how to fully use them.

 

Microsoft Money PlusMoney Plus Sunset Deluxe is another excellent full-featured budget program that offers users' a wide range of services including: budget planning; report generation; stock-investment service lookup capabilities and tracking; and automatic importing/updating of online bank account services.

It also offers security options, data archival, backup and restore backup functions. In addition, there is an extensive local help file within the program to assist users' in learning how to use all of its capabilities and features.

It's an excellent program; however, since this is legacy/sunset software, Microsoft no longer supports the program and as of January 31, 2011, all online services will cease to exist.

 

AceMoney LiteAceMoney Lite is a full-featured budget program, geared primarily for personal home use. It handles only two accounts, compared with its upgraded shareware version, AceMoney, which handles unlimited accounts.

It allows you to keep detailed track of your expenses and provides a wealth of options for report generation by various categories, sub-categories, and functions. The program also provides password protection, which is a plus for security purposes. In addition, the program supports 40 different international languages and contains a feature-rich currency converter.

Lastly, because the program contains a complete detailed Local Help File, it is fairly easy to use i.e. it has a gentle learning curve. Therefore, the program is useful for both novices and experts.

Looking for online money management?

Mint is an attractive personal finance on-line service. It helps budgeting and keeping track of your finances. Users' need to create a Mint account before adding bank, credit card, home loan and investment accounts. As claimed by Mint, "It works for you without requiring any personally identifiable information from you. Your Mint account is anonymous; set up requires only an email, password and zip code. Mint doesn’t know your name, address, social security number, account numbers, or PINs".

Rudder lets users'' review all accounts in one place, get bill reminders, budget and manage cash flow. It is an email-based system with similar privacy issues. My details COULD be adequately protected, but how do I KNOW that they are and always will be? I need a credible guarantee that if my ID, password, account numbers and credit card numbers are somehow compromised through their service, that they will make me whole. And if you ever close your account, how do you know your data has been securely erased from caches, files, backups, etc.? I'm just not willing to (literally) bet the bank just to build some charts of my budget or an email summary of my accounts. That said, these offerings really do look like promising planning tools for the less paranoid.

Money Strands This service is 100% free, and allows users' to import their bank data automatically. In addition, the website service automatically classifies financial data into meaningful categories, based on users' information. Per the site's FAQs section: CSV/QFX/OFX formats are supported. Finally, the site's owners invite people to submit their bank's name to them, if the particular bank in question is not currently supported via Money Strands.

Other freeware products to be reviewed:

  • jGnash, cross-platform, supports double-entry based transactions, etc.
 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

GnuCash
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Double entry accounting, keep tabs of budgets, create various accounts in each category, full suite of standard and customizable reports.
Have to track stock prices manually, starting up or closing down the program takes a while, no encryption of files.
http://www.gnucash.org/
2.6.2
75 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, BSD, GNU/Linux

You're encouraged to use an external encryption software, such as AxCrypt, to store your critical data files.

HomeBank
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple, pleasant-looking user interface, allows for tracking of accounts, payees, assignments, archives, budgets, and categories including bank, cash, asset, credit card, liabilities. Other features include numerous editing/setting options, import from Amiga, QIF, OFX, CSV and export to QIF format, print reports (statistics, trend time, overdrawn activities, budget, and car cost), tracking of automated transactions.
No ability to export to OFX format.
http://homebank.free.fr
4.6.1
8.4 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows, GNU/Linux, and MAC and other OSes using 3rd-party programs.

HomeBank software comes with a built-in help system in html format. Once you have started the program, press F1.

GFP
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple, clean, attractive, easy-to-navigate, easy-to-understand GUI. Program supports 41 different installation languages and 11 GUI languages. It has a multitude of budget-transaction and report options, and supports numerous editing and setting choices. It also supports 7 different GUI design/decor themes, along with 4 different layout/structure patterns. The program is very easy to use and operate - but there is a clear, detailed Help File that provides ample guidance on how to use the program, if need be.
On the downside, the program must be run in Administrator Mode (for Vista OS and above). The last release date of the program was on October 15, 2007, which makes it somewhat dated, especially with respect to newer operating systems, and future OSes. There is no support for importing data from CSV file formats, and no support for exporting created tables to other external file formats.
http://gfpopen.sourceforge.net/
0.8.1
2.93 M
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
OS-independent because it runs/operates using Java/Swing infrastructures.
Money Manager Ex
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple and attractive GUI. Full-featured portable program allows for unlimited number of categories, accounts and transactions, supports recurring transactions, backup, filters, report generating, data export/import, database encryption.
Program does not support real-time automatic budget/transaction downloading from user's bank accounts - data entries must be done manually.
http://www.codelathe.com/mmex/
1.1.0
5.0 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Android.
Grisbi
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Allows for creation of multiple accounts, categories, subcategories, transactions. Can import from GnuCash, QIF,OFX, CSV - and can export to QIF and CSV. Supports backup of files in case user system crashes. Can archive previous years' financial data, to free up space and allow for smooth operation. Has a built-in scheduler for planning of future payments, and allows for payments prior to schedules dates and times. Finally, it supports encryption of files.
Cannot export to non-QIF and non-CSV formats. There's no real-time tracking or updating of financial information, no Local Help File, and financial data will be unrecoverable if user forgets password code.
http://www.grisbi.org/
0.8.9.3
11.36 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Sources, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, FREE BSD, Mandriva, Slackware, SUSE, Zaurus, Zenwalk.
Metalogic Finance Explorer
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Full-featured, easy-to-use program (even without benefit of extensive online/local help files). Supports automatic importing of bank financial data, supports all financial-data import formats via OFE protocol, supports downloading of stockmarket data, and allows users to print displayed budget data.
Skimpy local help file within program, online help file is a bit more extensive, though still somewhat lacking in guidance.
7.0.0
576 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/NT
Money Plus Sunset Deluxe
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Full-featured, easy-to-use program that supports: sign-in and log-on using security username and password (via windows live log-on id, money password, or no password), business planning, bank accounts, bills, reports, budget planning, investment planning, tax planning, imports data in QIF and OFX formats, supports debt reduction planning, lifetime planning, financial planning, converts Quicken (QDB, QDT, QDF) files, exports to QIF files, supports numerous detailed reporting formats and options, allows for auto-updating of users' imported bank-account data, allows for customization of toolbar display buttons, supports repairing of money files, printing invoices and checks, backup, restore backup, and archival functions. Lastly, there is an extensive Help File.
The program supports exporting data only to QIF format. It is also limited because it supports only 1 active user account at a time - which means that if users wants to add a 2nd account, the 1st account will automatically be deleted. In addition, the program is no longer being developed or supported by Microsoft and effective from January 31, 2011, all online services will cease to exist. Lastly, the download file is huge - at 34 MB.
17.0.150.3817
34 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7
AceMoney Lite
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Simple, attractive GUI, supports 40 different GUI languages, provides a wealth of options for budget tracking via numerous categories, sub-categories, functions, and filters, provides password protection for security purposes, has a payment scheduler, calculator (for loan, savings, mortgage), provides in-depth currency-conversion functions, can import budget data from: QIF, OFX, QFX formats, as well as XML format (for MicroSoft Money), and exports data to: QIF, HTML, CSV, TXT formats, can also import Quicken data. In addition, the program is fairly easy to learn, as there is a comprehensive Local Help File within the program. This software will be useful to novices and experts alike.
Unlike its AceMoney sister, the shareware version, AceMoney Lite supports two accounts only.
4.35.2
6.37 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Windows Server 2003/2008

Many other languages available.
NB AceMoney Lite 4.18.1 is available for Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000.

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

financial software, financial applications, free personal financial applications, freeware, free personal accounting software.

Back to the top of the article.

 

Share this
3.893335
Average: 3.9 (75 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by Freecycler on 10. August 2014 - 15:34  (117874)

Thanks for a good list Jojo.
I have used Money Manager as a replacement for Quicken over the past few years, and it is gradually maturing.
A major improvement in the latest update, is encryption, so that is no longer a minus point.
It has always been portable as well, so it might be worth changing the info in the listing. They give the option to make it portable in the install program.
It is very fast and small. I think I'll stay with it :)
For anyone considering it - have a look at their changelog.
Best wishes

by Jojo Yee on 11. August 2014 - 3:20  (117881)

Thanks Freecycler for your kind comments. The major improvement has now been updated in the article.

by ML on 28. May 2014 - 4:27  (116456)

Hello,
I'm the author of Metalogic Finance Explorer. First of all, I'd like to say thanks for this great review.

Also, I wanted to note a couple of things about Finance Explorer:
1) It is mentioned above that there is no reporting. That was accurate when the review was originally written. However the latest version does introduce reporting. There is currently one report with more coming in future releases.
2) It's also mentioned that the portable version is not available from the developer. While it is distributed by portableapps.com as correctly mentioned above, we do build the portable version at Metalogic at the same time as the regular version and then make it available to them. So it does come from us.

All the best,
Metalogic Software

by MidnightCowboy on 28. May 2014 - 4:47  (116458)

Thank you for the information. The program details have now been updated in our products database. MC - Site Manager.

by ML on 28. May 2014 - 6:22  (116459)

Fantastic. Thank you for the quick reply MidnightCowboy.

by spilot on 17. January 2014 - 2:39  (113662)

The review of Homebank lists 2 items under Cons. I don't know what version the reviewer used, but version 4.5 has both extensive local help in HTML format and exports CSV.

by dynamite00401 on 17. April 2014 - 0:41  (115755)

Thank you. The article has been updated.

by Poobah on 7. February 2013 - 10:27  (105170)

There's a mistake in the article. It says MoneyManagerEx does not support password encryption. I know it does because I currently use this feature in it, and I have done so for years.

by spaarks on 16. January 2013 - 22:52  (104541)

MoneyManagerEX has one major problem, and it is major. The QIF Import and Export function cannot handle split transaction categories. It enters split transactions as "unknown" category. It does this even with transferring accounts between MoneyManagerEX databases.
This problem has existed for a long time and there seems to be no intention of rectifying it.
It is a pity, as otherwise it would be one of the best personal finance applications.

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting!

Gizmos Needs YouShare your knowledge of free software with millions of Gizmo's readers by joining our editing team.  Details here.