Free Personal Finance Software

I’ve used both online and found Mint to be far superior, even with the limitations listed above. It takes the whole “find where your money is going thing” to the next level.

It helps that the free Mint iPhone app is great. It even forgets everything on the device when you logout.

Yes, that’s exactly why I am a scrod. I’m perfectly fine with entrusting my email to Google. But I’m not perfectly fine with entrusting my aggregated financial information to some third party. Perhaps that makes me technologically backward, but ti is what I’m looking for.

It’s a perfectly legitimate desire – I’m still not entirely wild about consolidating the info like that – it’s just that you really do have no good choices, once you throw out websites.

The truth of the matter is that unless you are carrying cash balances of over 6 figures, no one is going to bother with your information even if they get it. There are bigger fish to fry, as they say. Mint has millions of customers, even if they used some random person’s information, it’s very very unlikely to be you.

I’m more worried about them selling it off, honestly. But then, it’s not like my bank doesn’t do the same damn thing every chance they get, so hey.

I’m very interested in Mint, but I have concerns, not so much because I’m a high value target (I’m not), but having all my information aggregated in one place controlled by venture firms doesn’t give me a high level of confidence. I’ve seen what happens to the assets of these failed startups.

Firstly, you make the assumption that I’m not filthy stinking rich. I may very well be carrying a cash balance in excess of 6 figures despite looking for a free personal finance management program. Really, I might. But the thing is that if somebody were to crack an online facility like, it is likely a general attack. They aren’t targetting any one person in particular. They’ll just suck down all the information they can access. It’s a wide net they cast looking for the high value targets and I’ll be scrod.

Given that even large credit card processors which should have top notch security in place get breached, I’m not comfortable holding my financial information with these online services.

Microsoft Money has a free 60-day trial.

Money 2009 is the last version Microsoft is producing, but you should be able to use it for several years to come (it’s not like there are compelling reasons to upgrade annually). I use the product, and it supports way more features than the average person needs (or wants), yet is still fairly easy to use if all you want to do is manage accounts and budgets (the advanced stuff is for investment tracking, loan amortization and whatnot).

I know it’s not free, but Money or Quicken is probably the best choice if you’re wanting to keep your data local rather than trust it to a website. Honestly I’m right there with you on the security thing, I do not want one third party hosting all my financial information someplace. Just remember when you store things locally to backup the data files often.

I in fact did make the assumption that if you are a large target, you wouldn’t be looking for FREE software. Just sayin’.

MS Money is not free which is why I didn’t suggest it. What you want does not make sense to produce from a business point of view. Millions of people are putting their information online (safety concerns notwithstanding) and that’s the way the budget industry is going. There doesn’t appear to be much of a market for people like you. That doesn’t invalidate what you want; it just makes it much less likely that it will happen.

I built a spreadsheet. It suits my needs just fine, but I realize that won’t work for everyone.

I was going to suggest pencils/pens and ledger books, and lock them in a safe at night.

MS Money’s not free, but I’ve always managed to find deals on it. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30 for any version of it.

Money has been cancelled. Microsoft no longer sells it, and you can’t buy it unless you find it at some store that didn’t pull it off the shelves when they should have. Even if you do find it, it’ll quit working in 2011 (the purchase only includes two years of downloading from your bank), and there’s no path forward from there, and all your data will need to be migrated – badly, in my experience – to some other tool if you don’t want to lose it.

You can like Money all you want, but it’s absolutely insane to recommend it to someone new at this point.

Here’s a list of budget templates available on Google Documents. These are free and maybe they will fit the bill. Murph’s post reminded me of them.

I think Money’s bizarre bank download support limitation only applies if you want to grab the statements automatically from within the program. My bank (I think) still charges for that so I’ve been downloading the .ofx files manually and adding them. I don’t believe that specific functionality goes away.

I only use it for the interface to help quickly categorize my spending and income, then in about 30 seconds I have it exported and integrated into my own spreadsheet that is more fun to play with than Money. I recently moved that to Google Docs for availability over the Internet but it’s so painfully slow and underfeatured that I should probably stick to Excel. Maybe there is a way to store a .xls file online and access it easily through the program?

Except… GNUCash. Which is a free open source personal finance program. I can go the paid route except Money is at the end of its life. And Quicken appears to be headed in the same direction, and moving to an online service model.

So perhaps GNUCash is it for me. It’s a well-established open source project. So oddly enough, it has a higher likelihood of continuing on than Quicken.

You don’t have to use the Money service to use the Money software!

If your bank offers on line transactions, it typically offers downloads to Money, Quicken, and CSV files. You can manually connect to your bank and download all your transactions without using the Money service that is going to be deactivated in 2 years. I’ve been using Money since 99 and have never bought into the on line service. If I had, I would have put myself in the exact position Tim is trying to avoid (large corp aggregates all my financial information on their servers).

Money is a great choice for what Tim is after.

This is the new office feature (or maybe it’s a live feature).

I’m already a user of Money as I have the '97 edition. I like it. But it didn’t work properly for me under Vista. That’s actually a pretty good run for a piece of original software. That means it managed to go through Win95, WinMe, and WinXP. But I don’t want to go with an end of life cycle product at this point.

Then you probably want Quicken, which I have never tried. My understanding is that Quicken and Money are comparable, feature by feature.