Home Budgeting Software
Home budgeting software is a really easy way to keep track of all your money.
Most packages allow you to keep track of what you spend daily, monthly and annually, linking in to your bank accounts too for an easy, 'one stop shop' for managing your money. With so many options on the market, which package is right for you?
If you're keen to get a grip of your finances and want to have all elements of your money at your fingertips, then it's worth considering buying home budgeting software. If you're looking for something a bit more basic though, there are plenty of free budgeting software options as well. You can read more about free budgeting software here.
There are a couple of good packages on sale in the UK, each with its pros and cons. The good thing is they offer free trials of the software, so you don't have to commit if you don't like it or it doesn't work for you.
Many of the home budgeting software packages link in with your bank account. This involves downloading files and uploading them to your package. Not all banks allow downloads of data, so it's definitely worth checking if your bank will. You'll still be able to use the software, but you'll need to manually input all data instead.
The best home budgeting software packages
There are two main players that are worth considering. The first is a US based company that offers YouNeedABudget, the second is a UK based company called Bank Tree Personal Finance. See details below.
One of the new big players on the market is YouNeedABudget.com, an American company that offers a simple approach to budgeting. Their software is highly rated in the US and will function on anyone's PC or Mac.
They offer a free 7 day trial, where if you decide to go ahead, then all your data will just transfer straight across seamlessly.
Although it's an American product, you can easily set the currency and change the names of the categories (i.e. garbage to council tax) making it much more user friendly for someone in the UK.
The objective with this software is to match up your budget with what goes in and out of your bank account using the zero-based budgeting technique. Every item is accounted for and every pound coming in is used for something (to pay something or to save for something). The software then clearly tells you if you've over budgeted or under-budgeted.
The best thing here is that this software actively encourages you to use every last pound (or dollar) within the budget. This is great on two levels:
This is a good education tool, but you'd need to ensure you stay on top of every last expenditure to make it work. You also have to cross check regularly with your bank account to ensure your budget matches your statement, so all in all, it will take a lot of dedication. Saying that, budgeting well takes time and to ensure you reach your goal (get out of debt, save for a wedding, save for retirement) you're going to need to be committed.
If you have the self discipline to make your finances match up and are happy to spend a reasonable amount of time regularly updating, this is the home budgeting software for you. It'll certainly ensure you get control of your money and understand zero-based budgeting, so it's great for beginners as well as intermediate level budgeters.
Visit YNAB to find out more
Banktree Personal Finance and Accounting Software
Banktree.co.uk is a British product and is growing in popularity both in the UK and the US, and has been made specifically for Windows. When using this product, it feels more comprehensive with more features and tools than YNAB. It's more than just budgets as it can show you your cash flow, transactions, investments and much more. You can even set it up to link straight into your bank account, allowing you to open your online account easily.
The interface looks clunkier than YNAB, but actually it's more intuitive and much easier to use. Once you get the hang of using the different features and the shortcuts, it would take no time to set up your finances and to keep track of them. The help feature is also more comprehensive and much clearer. There are reports for income, people you pay, what you've spent, cleared funds, uncleared funds and your investments.
It's a great tool for understanding your finances and getting into good habits and once you've used it for a month or so, the reports will become invaluable. In the same way as YNAB, you'd also have to stay on top of what you're spending in order to make it work. If you're not willing to do this, neither home budgeting software package would worth it.
Banktree offers a longer, 14 day free trial so you can set it up and see how it works without committing. Saying that, it's only £26 to register and the price includes full support, making it worth every penny if you've set yourself a goal of sorting out your finances.
Visit Banktree for more information. As it is an external site I can't guarantee the information provided is totally up to date but you will be able to get full details from their site.
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