Chances are that you are reading this article because you prefer Mac or PC desktop financial software. Before getting into the desktop options, consider that there's a great selection of free online personal finance software available, and almost all have mobile apps that are useful for checking account balances, budget balances and more on your Android or iOS phone or tablet.
If this doesn't interest you, there are great desktop choices listed below.
Buddi runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and has been translated into multiple languages. For safety, Buddi can encrypt financial data with a password, and it's designed to be easy to use even if you have no financial background.
Features include budgeting, tracking accounts, personal finance reports, but you will have to enter transactions manually (no transaction downloads). Free plugins can be downloaded to add more features, and the online user manual is easy to read and use.
- Compatible Operating Systems: Any operating system running Sun Java Virtual Machine, including Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 and higher, and most flavors of Linux.
AceMoney Lite supports investment tracking and two financial accounts (checking, credit card, etc.). You could get around the two account stipulation by using one account with categories for multiple accounts with subcategories for income and expense budgeting, but if that sounds like a hassle, there are other good alternatives on this list.
There's an active online user community for help or suggestions if needed, and the software is being improved all the time by an active development team. The full version of AceMoney runs $40 and supports unlimited accounts.
- Compatible Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac
After discontinuing Microsoft Money Plus, Microsoft made Money Sunset Deluxe available for free. Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe replaces earlier versions of the software, but it is crippled with no Internet supported features like automatic transaction updates and Microsoft offers no support for this version.
However, for people who don't need Internet-supported features or who don't mind importing transactions from their online bank, Money Plus Sunset is worth considering.
- Compatible Operating Systems: Windows
GnuCash is available for Mac, Windows and other operating systems. Features include tracking bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses and small business accounting features. GnuCash is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports, and since it's actively developed, this free financial software is improving all the time.
- Compatible Operating Systems: Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD.
PLCash stores data in plain text format, which allows you to use a spreadsheet or word processing software to read and analyze your financial data. PLCash also offers useful personal finance reports, support for multiple account types and basic investment tracking. Data can be imported from Quicken, Microsoft Money or any other software that supports QIF data exports.
PLCash does not encrypt data.
- Compatible Operating Systems: Any operating system with Java Runtime installed.
Financial Fate is for longer-term personal financial planning and has been designed to require no formal financial planning training to use. Financial Fate can tell you if your money management practices will lead to being financially solvent for life, or if you need to make some changes to avoid money problems later.
If you don't need fully featured personal financial software and you're really more concerned about keeping a budget, there are some great free budget spreadsheet templates you can use with Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc or the spreadsheet in Google Docs. Just download and open them in your spreadsheet software.
Top Free Personal Finance Software Choices
The best free software for managing money and budgets
The best of free personal finance software is listed below, whether you want to manage money online or on your computer desktop. You may want to check out our picks for free personal tax preparation software.