Maintaining your own personal finances can be pretty tricky if you don’t have the right tools. While a good old pen and some paper can go a long way, archiving and saving that paper can be difficult — and you’re screwed if they’re consumed in a fire. So, people often turn to software to get the job done: it’s quicker (the computer can do the math for you), it’s more secure (the data can be encrypted), and it’s safer (you can backup the data off-site).

The problem with personal finance software is that it can get pretty expensive over time, because when a new version of the product comes out you usually have to pay for it.

The problem with paying for this software is that I’m a cheap bastard. I’m not cheap by choice – if I could, I’d buy the world and maybe a couple of planets – but by necessity. So, I had to do some searching and I ended up with this list of free personal finance software titles. It’s not in any particular order, so I’d recommend trying all of them out and seeing which one suits you.

BestCashBook is not the best solution for you’re looking to track every bit if spending, but if you’re looking for a simple tool to track your net worth, BestCashBook is it. Still, don’t look for it to calculate anything beyond net worth.

AceMoney Lite is, as the name suggests, the Lite version of AceMoney and it has a lot of features:

  • Track your spending habits and see where the money goes
  • Create and manage budgets
  • Track performance of investments
  • Do your financial math in multiple currencies
  • Enjoy the convenience of on-line banking
  • Don’t miss the next deadline for bills
  • Plan debts and mortgage payments

CreditFederal offers the Free Personal Budget Software. As the name implies, it’s completely free and allows you to:

  • Record and Track Expenses, and sort by type and/or by date.
  • Record Income/Deposits. Software also calculates debt-to-income ratio.
  • Instant Credit Grade Calculation. Software analyzes expenses.
  • Helpful Tips. If your grade is low, the software offers tips to improve.

BudgetTracker allows you to “keep your ducks in a row.” It’s another basic personal finance tracking tool, but it’s enough to give you a great idea of where you stand:

Budget Tracker is an easy to use program that will help you track and understand your monthly expenses. Each month you can enter in a number of specific monthly expenses including Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, Grocery, Entertainment, Phone, Medical, Clothing, and more. Each of these is tracked per month, but also a running average is kept for each expense over time. So you can see just how much you spend on average for specific items.

Budget Tracker is designed to be easy to enter all your expense data. All the averages and monthly totals are on the main screen so you can get a quick view of your personal finances. Other data that is tracked includes an overall monthly average expenditure as well as the highest month and the lowest month. In the end, Budget Tracker’s goal is to help you get a grip on where your money is going allowing you to better manage your finances.

Personally, I don’t use any of these products anymore. I was using AceMoney Lite for a long time (which has most of the features you need for helping you climb your way out of debt), but after trying Quicken’s Home Buisness Solution free (for 60 days), I decided to put down the $80 for it. I’m not too thrilled with the software – it could have a much better UI and things could be placed a bit more logically – but it’s great for my current needs.

What do you use to keep track of your personal finances?

[tags]free personal finance software, personal finance[/tags]