When it comes to budgeting, personal financial software can be of great benefit. However, with the variety of choices on the market, it may be difficult to choose. How do you choose between Quicken, Microsoft Money and YNAB Pro? All of them come from well respected companies. Money and Quicken have differences in their appearance but the goal of the two programs is pretty much the same. YNAB looks to change your way of budgeting and thinking completely.
As far as personal finance software goes, Quicken is the current leader. The company that has created Quicken has expanded the product line to provide several different versions of Quicken. Some of the current versions are Starter, Deluxe, Premier and Home & Business.
I suggest you take a look at the comparison chart, but even the Starter edition should provide you enough bells and whistles if you are just starting out with personal budgeting software. As you move up their product line additional features are added that expand from your normal day to day banking. These features help you keep track of your personal investments, small business finances and property management.
Quicken is easy to get up and running quickly. It has a well designed user interface that is very user friendly for beginners. My main issue with Quicken is it can be an overkill for people looking to set up a simple budget. However, if you are looking to handle all of your financial needs using one product Quicken may be right for you.
If you are used to running Windows or Microsoft Office you will immediately be familiar with Money as soon as you install it. Just like most of Microsoft's products their is a universal feel of the layout and menus. This helps current Microsoft product users get up and running fairly quickly.
Microsoft Money really emphasises web related content. The program has tight integration with Microsoft's online web services. If you do not currently have an internet connection or are not always connected, you will want to take that into consideration prior to purchasing Microsoft Money.
Microsoft Money offers a web based version. If you are a person who is always on the road or is constantly moving from computer to computer you may want to look into this. However, just like accessing any personal information online, make sure the computer you are using has all of the latest security updates.
YNAB Pro is a new comer to the personal finance arena and this may be the first time you have heard of it. YNAB Pro prides itself on being a completely new way of managing your money. The program is based around four simple rules which you can read more about here.
The interface of the program is well designed and provides pleasant graphs and visuals to show you exactly where you are succeeding and failing at your budget. Each month you set up a budget amount for each category you have created. As you enter your transactions either manually or by synching with your bank you can see immediately how much money you have remaining in each category for the remainder of the month. If you happen to go over, you just "roll with the punches" and that amount will be deducted from the following month in order to keep you on track.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a bunch of bells and whistles in your budgeting software take a look at the first two recommendations in this article. If you are looking for a simple program that will get you on track quickly give YNAB a look.