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.

 
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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, but is sorely lacking in real-time automatic fiscal tracking and download capabilities. Also, it does not support password encryption, which is a must in today's computing environment.

 

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

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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
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
4.5.6
8.4 MB
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/
0.1.4.5
4.3 MB
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, attractive, easy-to-understand, easy-to-navigate GUI. Full-featured program, which allows for unlimited number of categories, accounts, and transactions, supports reminders for recurring transactions, has backup capabilities, supports filters for transaction displays and searches, supports numerous report-generating capabilities, supports CSV export/import delimiter settings, supports data-imports from: CSV, QIF, MM.NET (CSV), supports export to CSV format. Program is portable and can be run from a USB stick. Database (DB) format is open-source, non-proprietary format, which uses SQLite for easy access.
Program does not have/support real-time automatic budget/transaction downloading from user's bank accounts - data entries must be done manually. Program does not have/support real-time, automatic reconciliation of budget transactions - this must be done manually. Program also does not support password encryption.
http://www.codelathe.com/mmex/
0.9.9.0
3.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win 95/98/ME/XP/Vista/7, Linux (deb and rpm packages), Mac OSX.
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
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. There is no formal reporting structure or protocol, but program allows users to print displayed data.
6
573 KB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not 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
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.

 
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Tags

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

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Comments

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.

by GunDoggyIndian on 4. September 2012 - 22:28  (98770)

New reviews will be posted shortly, just back from hols and i have a few free wares im looking at and will be sharing with ya'll very soon.

cheers

GDI

by GunDoggyIndian on 23. August 2012 - 15:49  (98200)

hi all,

i will be taking over the reviews here, so all suggestions and comments very welcome. im a bit busy this week and most of next but hope to have all things up to speed after that.

i know some of the queries here are old, as are some of the suggestions, but to be fair to all ill try and get to them all, from being on other websites i find people will still look at their post even after months have passed, and if ye ask, tis only good manners to reply( even late replies! )

GDI

by Sergey Dorka (not verified) on 6. June 2012 - 21:44  (94516)

Another freeware for Windows that is not in the list is Cash And The City.
It's a bit different than all others, it's very easy. Although it supports only one account but it's ok for beginners.

Here is it: http://cashandthecity.com/

by LKanter on 20. December 2012 - 22:16  (103806)

Sergey, thanks for the heads up on Cash and the City. I will look into it very soon, and thanks again.

by GunDoggyIndian on 23. August 2012 - 15:46  (98199)

Hi Sergey

thanks for that suggestion, i will do a review on this for the end of next week, ( poss the weekend! ).

GDI

by Rough (not verified) on 15. May 2012 - 14:08  (93492)

KmyMoney is good replacement for microsoft money.

by Alan Marcell (not verified) on 26. April 2012 - 17:16  (92642)

Hi,
good applications, but I would like to suggest one I use. It's called Home budget box http://www.homebudgetbox.com . Really nice application which allows you to manage your personal finances with ease. Best of all is its rich GUI. Well that's my opinion :).

by LKanter on 20. December 2012 - 22:17  (103807)

Alan, I will check out the program - thanks.

by Laura Tran (not verified) on 28. February 2012 - 18:25  (89650)

Can anyone recommend a free online money manager where I can track my spending/income? I saw a few out there, but they all require automatic connection to my bank which I am not comfortable doing that. I would rather manually upload my bank information to the site.

Thank you!

by LKanter on 20. December 2012 - 22:19  (103808)

Laura, tell me more about what you wish to accomplish and I will give you some suggestions.

by Perry Watts (not verified) on 31. October 2012 - 20:37  (101665)

Hi... try www.expensewatcher.com It does not require connection to your bank and also allows cash and inventory management. I like that they do not require any identifying information except for a valid email.
Perry

by nosecurity (not verified) on 17. February 2012 - 5:59  (88951)

Hi Guys, I am looking for something that will track stock trades as an ongoing schedule D. If it downloaded info from the broker site would be a plus, but not necessary as I am willing to cut and paste. Any ideas?

by GunDoggyIndian on 23. August 2012 - 20:31  (98209)

hi,
i had a quick look and a lot seem to be the 30 day free, we will suck your money from you after that option, also some are very limited, long on words and waffle but short on an actual system that will be useful.

are you hoping to for example just follow the movement in the S&P 500, or do you wish to follow individual stocks.

ill have a look around at whats there and see what they like and come back to you

GDI

by Jeremy27 (not verified) on 30. January 2012 - 9:53  (88017)

GnuCash no longer exports to QIF. It is currently very hard to get your data out.

by Scott15111 (not verified) on 31. August 2011 - 5:46  (78719)

Ladies/Gentlemen, I am in search of a financial program that will print checks. Gnucash seems to be the only one that can do that. Can’t seem to get info on all the other programs mentioned here regarding printing checks. Gnucash seems to have a steep learning curve. However willing to put in the time to learn it or any other program. Are there any other free programs that also print checks. Would prefer the linux platform but will work in Windows to get want I want. Looking for suggestions and advice.

by Alistair (not verified) on 30. August 2011 - 1:51  (78602)

Good article, but the leading software IMHO should be Skrooge.
Multi-platform, SINGLE ENTRY, very easy to use, video tutorials, great reporting, well-supported forum,GNU license, and much more including the best importation engine of QIF files from Quicken that I've used.
I have tried and used GNUcash (dont like double-entry) Grisbi (which failed miserably & was a dog to import QIF), Homebank (import well, but no print reports) and several others. None of them touched Skrooge for its ability to import and ease of use.
Cheers, Alistair

by Computerdoc (not verified) on 30. August 2012 - 21:04  (98533)

So I tried to download Skrooge from Softpedia and got a report of

:object is infected by not-a-virus:AdWare.Win32.iBryte.x"

Not so happy about trying a product that my antivirus won't let me download unless I jump through a few hoops first.
-c

by Computerdoc (not verified) on 30. August 2012 - 21:06  (98534)

Actually it was that tricky putting two download buttons nearby and sure enough I clicked the Optimum downloader one .... that is what gave the error message above.

by Nicole13 (not verified) on 16. July 2011 - 19:25  (75650)

I've been using BuckTrak.com for a few weeks now; it helps me keep my finances in order and lets me run reports and keep tabs on multiple accounts at the same time. It's free and is pretty easy to use...

by Him (not verified) on 15. June 2011 - 6:18  (73819)

I've been using Microsoft Money for donkey's years, and have been quite satisfied with it. Unfortunately, my new computer is running on Windows7, which does not support MM.
None of the programmes I have researched have the ability to set up fixed asset accounts, as MM does.
Can anyone advise me of a programme that mirrors MM?

Him

by syntax_error on 15. June 2011 - 9:51  (73825)

The Microsoft Money Plus link above runs on W7.

by Him (not verified) on 22. June 2011 - 23:57  (74201)

I've been battling with this for about a week now, and the end result is that I've lost my original programme in the download, only to find that the version I had, MS Money 2002, V10, wasn't supported, and I have also effectively lost all my historic records. My programme was loaded as OEM, and I don't have the ability to reload it to regain them.
Tearing my hair out.
Am trying ACE for present financial records. It seems OK so far.
I'm typing this on my old Windows XP computer, as I can't run Outlook Express on the new W7. More chances of a Hair Tear!

by antoosa on 18. May 2011 - 5:24  (72153)

Hi all, a helpful tip - when mentioning financial-related websites, please check to make sure they are reputable and clean - i.e., check the website's rating at the 2 following sites:

1. http://www.mywot.com

2. http://www.siteadvisor.com

Both sites, together, will give you a good picture of the reputation of the website.

by Hareiana (not verified) on 10. May 2011 - 18:26  (71742)

Not sure how many know about this website but I used Out Of The Dark (OOTD) Budgeting for over a year now and it really changed my life financially. It has budgeting and expense tracking on one page side by side which I love, it has cash put-aside and personal stock management built in, and it has something called Credit Card Debt Terminator which I have not seen anywhere else which is great if one wants to get out of any credit card debt situation, it is completely anonymous to use, does not require me to give out any of my bank accounts information and it's unconditionally free. Find it at: myootd.org

by gnucash sucks (not verified) on 8. May 2011 - 17:38  (71639)

I was really excited about the concept of Gnucash. But after an hour of just trying to figure out how to get started, I'm ready to pull my hair out. As a regular Quickbooks user at work, Gnucash seemed simple enough... HA! I can't even enter an opening balance because GC keeps zeroing it out! No matter what I enter, I keeping getting a balance of 0. And forget about finding a Getting Started guide. I've search the entire help section and can't find anything that tells you how to get started or could at least tell me what I'm doing wrong. I need something free to use at home for personal accounting... guess the saying "you get what you pay for" really applies here.

by Jojo Yee on 9. May 2011 - 3:13  (71664)

Been using GnuCash for years but with no such issue.

GnuCash applies double-entry accounting. To begin with GnuCash, for example, if you add a debit transaction of US$1,000 for an opening balance in the account "Cash in Wallet", and add a credit transaction of the same amount in the account say Equity, then the Balance Sheet will show up US$1,000 correctly for both Total Assets and Total Liabilities & Equity.

If the above credit transaction is not entered, GnuCash will automatically add it in the "Imbalance" account. In this case, the Balance Sheet will then show up a zero balance in both Total Assets and Total Liabilities & Equity.

Hope this can be of help.

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