Personal home budgeting programs are generally included as part of an overall money management software application. Many home finance software applications are designed to help you track how much money you have in your checking and savings accounts, and show you where your money is being spent from one month to the next. Some software helps with budgeting by showing how much money you have spent in specific categories, while other software shows you how much money is left to spend.
Quicken is a software application that comes in a variety of configurations. Mac and PC versions are available, as are online and offline options. Some Quicken versions are designed for small business management, while others are designed to help manage your personal home budget. Quicken allows you to track multiple types of financial accounts, create custom spending categories and set up spending limits for each. As transactions are entered, the software displays progress bars so you can see how closely you're sticking to the budget.
Microsoft Money Plus was a widely used program that was discontinued in mid-2009. A "sunset" version is available to download from the Microsoft website, so older versions of the home and small business MS Money files can still be used. MS Money is primarily a financial management application that includes budgeting tools, goal setting and tracking as features. Like Quicken, this software helps you see the areas you have spent money on the most in the past.
You Need A Budget
You Need A Budget, or YNAB, is a software program that is designed to mimic the old-fashioned envelope budgeting system. Instead of showing you how much money you spent on things after the money is gone, YNAB attempts to show you how much money you have left available to spend. Like envelope budgeting, YNAB has you allocate a specific amount of funds to categories you define. As you enter spending transactions for your financial accounts, the software updates your spending categories. When you review the budget, you are able to see at a glance how much money is left in each spending category.
Spreadsheet templates can be used with popular office spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel and Open Office Calc. Spreadsheet templates are popular offline budgeting tools because they are flexible and customizable. Using a template, you can configure the spreadsheet with your own home budget categories and design it to act like an envelope budgeting system or a spending tracker system.
Kathy Burns-Millyard has been a professional writer since 1997. Originally specializing in business, technology, environment and health topics, Burns now focuses on home, garden and hobby interest articles. Her garden work has appeared on GardenGuides.com and other publications. She enjoys practicing Permaculture in her home garden near Tucson, Ariz.