From Budgets to Taxes, These 5 Finance Apps Can Help

personal finance software

I don’t know how people did it during the days of checkbooks and paper bills. They must have been overwhelmed by the daunting task of organizing their finances.

These days, we’ve got less of an excuse.

With all the different personal finance software options out there — many of which are totally free — you can clean up your messy finances in one rainy afternoon.

5 personal finance software programs worth exploring

Because there are so many options, it can be hard to know where to start.

Here are five personal finance software programs that offer different services and cater to varying financial needs.

For overall financial health: Mint

personal finance software

Image credit: Mint

Mint is the king of personal finance software, and I’d say it deserves its reputation.

It offers an attractive, easy-to-use platform with tons of features, including:

  • Account tracking: View the balances for all your accounts in one place, including investment accounts, credit cards, and student and car loans.
  • Budgeting: Create budgets and see where your money is going.
  • Bill pay: Get alerts and pay bills from within the platform.
  • Savings goals: Make long- or short-term savings goals and track your progress.

All that — for free. So if you want to keep track of your money, I highly recommend Mint as a simple way to get started.

best personal finance software

Image credit: Mint, via Google Play

Mint has 4.3/5 stars on Sitejabber, with one reviewer saying it “provides its users with unrivaled value when it comes to first-glance data about their account standings and regular spending.” User complaints include problems logging in and connecting to financial accounts.

Platform: desktop or mobile app

Price: free

Alternative: If you want to use a non-web-based program, Quicken is a popular choice. It offers similar features for $34.99 per year.

For thorough budgeting: You Need a Budget

personal financial software

Image credit: You Need a Budget

Although Mint is great, it doesn’t have the rabid fan base of You Need a Budget (YNAB).  Some users claim this line-by-line personal financial software changed their lives. One even paid off $100,000 in student loans in five years thanks to the app.

personal finance software

Image credit: You Need a Budget

It’s a little too meticulous for me, but if you want to “give every dollar a job,” you can use this software to make budgeting a habit.

At SuperMoney, YNAB receives 4/5 stars.

Here’s the most recent review: “YNAB completely transformed my financial situation; it’s a very simple platform with very simple principles that will completely change how you think about money. It’s essentially an envelope system but brought to digital form.”

As far as complaints, some users find the platform confusing, saying it takes a long time to learn your way around.

Platform: desktop or mobile app

Price: After a 34-day free trial, it costs $4.17 per month.

Alternative: Mint is probably the closest thing — but if you want in-depth budgeting software, stick with YNAB.

For advice and education: LearnVest

best personal finance software

Image credit: LearnVest

Need a little hand-holding? LearnVest might be the personal finance software for you.

It has comprehensive budgeting tools, support for your goals, and access to a knowledge center with informative articles and tips.

Best of all, it offers access to a certified financial planner who will discuss and analyze your situation with you, create a personalized financial plan, and be available via email anytime.

personal financial software

Image credit: LearnVest

On Sitejabber, LearnVest has a 4.9/5 rating.

Here’s what a user who was at her “wit’s end” when it came to retirement planning had to say: “Thanks to LearnVest and the financial planner dedicated to us, we have been able to set aside money every month, and it feels great!”

Platform: desktop or mobile app

Price: Basic use is free. Access to a financial planner requires a one-time payment of $299 and then $19 per month.

Alternative: Although it’s similar, Wela has a unique twist on budgeting and a heavier emphasis on investing. Like LearnVest, it offers access to a certified financial planner; all you have to do is invest money with the platform.

For tax preparation: TaxSlayer

personal finance software

Image credit: TaxSlayer

Taxes are never fun — but at least TaxSlayer makes the process easy and affordable. I’ve been using it for years and like how it guides you through the steps and offers free phone and chat support.

Of course, if your taxes are complicated, it’s wise to seek the help of an accountant.

best personal finance software

Image credit: TaxSlayer

On Sitejabber, the software has an awful 1/5 stars. That being said, stalwart TurboTax has only 2/5 stars. So maybe people just associate tax software with something they hate: taxes. Complaints include not being able to print your taxes and not receiving all qualifying deductions.

Platform: desktop or mobile app

Price: If you’re filing a 1040EZ form, it’s free for your federal return and one state return. For all other forms, it costs $22 for federal plus $27 per state.

Alternative: TurboTax is the most famous tax preparation software and a reliable option. For 1040EZ users, it’s free for federal plus $29.99 per state. For everyone else, it’s $54.99 for federal plus $39.99 per state.

For identity theft protection: Credit Sesame

personal financial software

Image credit: Credit Sesame

Data breaches are growing more common, so it’s essential to protect yourself.

At the very least, sign up for Credit Sesame’s identity theft service, which alerts you to changes to your credit report. It’s not the most comprehensive service — as it monitors only one of the three credit bureaus — but it’s better than nothing.

Plus, for all users, Credit Sesame offers a generous identity theft insurance program: up to $50,000 for expenses incurred if your identity is stolen. That alone made me sign up.

personal finance software

Image credit: Credit Sesame

Although it’s tough to find user reviews of the web platform online, the mobile app is well-liked, receiving more than four stars for both Apple and Android. Reviews.com also named Credit Sesame’s service one of the best identity theft protection services around.

Platform: desktop or mobile app

Price: free

Alternative: For a comprehensive program for you and your family, try IdentityForce, which monitors your personal information — and all three credit bureaus — for $19.95 per month. Or consider Credit Karma, which just announced a free service that scans the internet for your email address to see if any data breaches have affected you.

Thanks to technology, managing your money is easier than ever.

So before you spend money on expensive programs, give these options a whirl. After all, the best personal finance software is the one you use.

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