As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a bit of a budget enthusiast here. It’s a budget that got our finances back on track and it’s a budget that keeps them headed in the right direction. Our budget tells us when we’ve overspent and helps us adjust to bring us back to balance when we have overspent. For our budgeting purposes, we have a pretty simple excel-like worksheet that has our income broken down, and has our expenditures broken into categories. We don’t get super-duper detailed, but it has enough detail that we know when we’re running low on budgeted funds for something.
For years, I’ve used a copy of MS Money to do our check register keeping. For some time, I even tracked our retirement portfolios in detail. I still use MS Money, but it’s recently been dropped from the Microsoft list of current software. They aren’t going to make any more versions, and they are ending the support for it at some point. So, at some point, we’ll need to switch to a newer software and from a new vendor. There are several choices. Quickbooks is a business favorite, but I feel that it’s a bit too much for our personal records. GnuCash is a free software, but is very similar to Quickbooks and for the same reasons would be a bit of an overkill. The most likely choice is Quicken by Intuit. But what version?
My first thought was to try and use Mint.com. They were purchased by Intuit and the service was integrated with and finally replaced the Quicken Online that they offered. The nice thing about Mint.com is that it’s free, and it’s online so you can access it from anywhere. The service connects to all of your accounts and updates them for you. They’ve got some pretty nice tools. A budget calculator, and a nice budget worksheet that really are nice. I might still give the service a try, but it can’t connect to my local Credit Union account, so I’d still have to enter a lot of the stuff manually.
And, if I have to enter stuff manually, I will likely end up purchasing something like Quicken Premier and utilizing it’s more robust feature set to do reporting and tracking of investments and such. Another pro for having the actual software is that I have control over where my info is and can easily backup my files. I’m sure that Mint is very secure, but I still get a bit leery about having one place that has that much access to all of my financial data.
What about you? What software am I missing? What do you use? I don’t mind being proven wrong, if there’s a better software out there, let me know!
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