When it comes to managing our personal finances with software, I am a real dinosaur. I still use an Excel spreadsheet to create our budget each month, and record transactions there and categorize them on a daily basis. Over the last few years I have tried different versions of Microsoft Money and Quicken personal financial software with some success, but I eventually gave up on it because I couldn’t customize things the way I wanted like I can with my Excel workbook.
Having recognized my limitations with Excel, and craving more reports and statistics, I have started a search for new personal financial software. Rather than relying on ad copy from each product’s website, I decided to poll Twitter followers to get their take. The majority of followers who responded suggested Mint.com, with Quicken a close second. I also heard responses pointing me to places like PennyMinder.com, You Need A Budget, and the Dollar Store to pick up a notebook, pencil and a cheap calculator (that suggestion appealed to my frugal side!).
Going into this search for updated financial software I was only consider desktop products because that was what I was used to, but I recognize the benefits of using a site like Mint.com to aggregate all of my accounts in one view, and one package. From the Mint website:
Mint immediately pulls in your balances, purchases, stock trades, etc. to give you a complete picture of your finances. Mint connects securely with more than 7,000 US financial institutions, saving you hours of tedious data entry.
Saving time recording transactions definitely appeals to me, and I like the idea of being able to access my portfolio from anywhere with access to the web. Of course, the paranoid side of me worries about things like password security from my online banking profile stored at Mint, etc. At some point, I’ll need to get over that because this probably the direction all financial software is headed.
Quicken’s products also appeal to me because I can integrate my home blogging business finances. For a limited time, Quicken is also offering deals on Quicken products (up to $50.00 off + free shipping). So now I have a dilemma; should I go with Quicken’s product, should I give Mint, or another web-based utility a try, or should I simply stick with my Excel spreadsheet. I’m hoping some of you can share with me how you manage the finances, and make some product recommendations in the comments.
Which personal financial software product do you use to manage household finances?