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Why the Latest Technology Means There’s No Excuse for Not Managing Your Money

Why the Latest Technology Means There’s No Excuse for Not Managing Your Money

There was a time you could make the excuse that managing your money was too complicated. Those days are not only long gone, but personal finance software and apps keep improving, getting more user friendly, as well as more comprehensive. Now you have to look yourself squarely in the mirror and get on with the matter of taking charge of your money.

Here is a round up of some of tools out there that can help you chart the course for your financial future.

Quicken Deluxe 2015, $74.99

Intuit’s Quicken is perhaps the granddaddy of personal finance software. Quicken makes it simple to track your money, what’s coming in and where it’s going. You can know when paychecks and bills are scheduled, expenses can be categorized. You can customize your budget and the system creates a debt reduction plan for you. Quicken can show you how much it will take to reach your retirement goals. The deluxe version includes a free mobile app that you can sync information between your computer, tablet and smartphone. You can have all your financials at your fingertips like savings, checking, credit card, loans, investments and retirement accounts. Another plus, information can be imported to Intuit’s popular TurboTax when you’re ready to deal with Uncle Sam at tax time.

"Quicken gives you some decent reports, net worth, capital gains, transactions, asset allocation, and an internal rate of return," says Quicken fan Victoria Rogers, a certified financial planner with Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors.


Intuit’s free online personal finance solution is Mint.com. "Mint excels in terms of customer service and feedback. The service takes a mere second to sync with your bank accounts, allowing you to view a quick snapshot of your personal finances and providing insightful analytics regarding your spending habits when it comes to food, entertainment, utilities, and other facets of your monthly budget," raved Joe Donovan, a tech buff, in an article for Digital Trends.


Much as you hate to pay your bills, the sooner you deal with them the better. Late fees are wasted money and not insignificant if you’ve got a bad habit. PrismMoney, a free bill pay and budget app, works hard to make it easy for you to be, "master of your money," as it advertises. You’re notified when a bill has been created and again before it’s due.

Prism makes plain how much each bill represents relative to the others and relative to your paycheck. The home screen allows you to see all your monthly bills and how each fit into your budget and income. You can track paydays to better synchronize with bill due dates. Prism takes away the guess work. It will calculate how paying bills late or early will affect income and budget before you start paying bills.

Prism works by going directly through the biller’s website, to ensure that your account is properly credited.

iBank, $59.99 for Mac, $19.99 for iPad, $9.99 for iPhone

Developed by IGG Software, iBank helps people budget better, save more and invest. Not only can you see what’s doing with your credit cards, bank, and investment accounts, you can get reports on income and expenses, your investments’ performance, your net worth, as well as budgeting and bill management.

"You can use iBank to track your spending patterns, (including assigning categories or sub-categories to every transaction), use enhanced import rules for speedy categorization, and split transactions multiple ways for detailed budgeting and reporting, says Alexandra Gardell Kreuter, a spokesperson for IGG Software.

iBank’s Envelope Budgeting feature makes it painless to visualize a way to monitor your regular spending and build savings. For example, you can create expense categories for various items like mortgage/rent, groceries, car payment, and use the income to fill their digital envelopes, apply scheduled transactions automatically, move cash as needed, adjust budgets on the fly and track your progress.

AceMoney, $39.99

AceMoney is being a called a top alternative to Microsoft Money and Quicken. Earlier this year, the Tom’s Guide ranked AceMoney No. 1 in personal finance software. Why did it get such kudos? "Easy installation, interface and robust tools will suit your need. You can set and achieve financial goals, while monitoring your spending habits with the program’s various reports." Its spending, investment and transaction reports, that provide an overview of your finances, along with detailed breakdowns of various subcategories that let you view specific information like individual transactions from particular payees or payment due dates, were also highlighted in the rankings. The software also exports to different file types which is helpful come tax time when you want to integrate that information.

YNAB (You Need a Budget), $60

Wherever there’s an internet connection, YNAB works to get you off the financial rollercoaster. It too, was a favorite of Tom’s Guide. Not only is your budget updated but YNAB is designed to help you set aside money for infrequent expenses, like quarterly or annual bills. For monthly bills, you can create a scheduled transaction that is done automatically.

Go to school. A unique offering is YNAB University, which boasts a 10-day course designed to help you get control of your finances by maintaining a budget. Community forums also provide support. One downside notes Tom’s Guide if you’re looking for tax integration features, that’s not one of the product’s strengths.

Level Money

This free personal finance app assists you in tracking your money by keeping tabs on your daily spending and saving. The app automatically updates your spendable cash as you make purchases each day, providing a simple, accurate balance. Level also offers an Insights feature that allows you to monitor past spending and balances, project your future spending and balances and track spending categories.

The Bottom Line

Technology gives you the tools to have the knowledge you need to manage your finances. Knowledge is power, but only if you put it into action.

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
No matter what technology is out there, without discipline, it is useless.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Quicken is quite a granddaddy -- it's so old & slow I can't stand to use it. I still use Microsoft Money, which also isn't ideal but IMO not as bad. Microsoft decided to stop selling the product so now it's a free download. On its own it lacks the ability to download new stock quotes but there are other free apps that can add this (I suspect few people on this website besides me invest in stocks and have a need for this).

There's 2 versions available. Here's one:
More details:
anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Quicken Essentials for Mac is also very, very good.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
There was never an excuse for not managing your money.
dpandslemmen   |     |   Comment #5
You are all making the assumption that everyone has a computer and/or smart phone, and that everyone has internet access.  That is a false assumption.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
I doubt those folks are reading this website. It also assumes electricity and assets to track but those are equally pointless to mention.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
I have a computer, internet and an I phone and find it easier and more comforting to use  13 column 40 line ledgers to manage my budget and investments. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
It's not rocket science!  No, a computer isn't necessary, but it makes it a lot faster than using a 13 column 40 line ledgers.  I get along with just using Microsoft's Excel program.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
I'm managing my finances like the government does it, I borrow from my master card to pay the visa card, then borrow from my discover card to pay the master card and then borrow again from visa to pay my discover card and the cycle repeats itself. I lose 3% every time I do that, but I have succeeded to do this for a year now. Because of that, my FICO score is soaring and I'm getting new preapproved offers for 100's of other credit cards and I'm tempted to open new accounts because now they all offer me 1 year interest free on all balance transfers and no balance transfer fees and credit limits in 20's of thousands of dollars and I do not have any income at all.
Who says we can not manage our financing?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
I simplify the process. I buy stuff and send the bills to my neighbors. Life is good!
mustsavemore   |     |   Comment #14
I do better than that!  I just borrow a ton of money that I might not be able to pay back.  No card or juggling transactions to worry about
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
I use paper and pencil ledger and never failed me.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
I'm not looking for a detailed "ledger" budgeting app so Level Money works for me. It's a simple, easy and free to use app for my iPhone (I think they have android too). I always know how much I have to spend on any given day which is great. I like their tool for looking at how much i spend over time.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
I have disciplined myself to same money no matter how little or how much I earned way back when I was a kid earning money doing chores.  Today, I still live below my means.  It is not necessary for me to know my day to day or even month to month spending or net worth.  Once a year at "tax time" is when all my financial details are important to me.  
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
The government has all of the best software on earth, yet our current debt is:
18,005,549,328,561.45 and growing by the minute.
It tells you no software on earth can hide or wipe a debt and therefore is useless to even try your financing using any software, actually you do not any software if you run deficits in any budget.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
The government doesn't have the best software.  Do you remember healthcare.gov?  It was a total failure last year.  They spent  $1.7 billion on developing the website through August 2014.