Jan 19, 2011

The hunt for a free personal finance software

I've relied on my good old spreadsheet to do my finances for years. But a new iPhone and 30 app downloads later had me thinking that there's a software for anything out there that can simplify your life.

My needs are simple, I thought. I have an app on the iPhone that helps me keep track of expenses and budgeting. All I need now is something that tracks my net worth and savings.
I need something that can enter assets and liabilities, and support multiple currencies, fetching the rates automatically. I did not need the software to automatically pull data from my bank accounts, which seems to be the feature in-vogue among personal finance softwares online. If it did, fine, but I needed to be able to add an account manually or I would have some gaps for sure.

Simpler said than done, I find out. 'Simple and 'supports multiple currencies'' is a contradiction in itself, says hubby.

Oh, and I also want it to be pretty.

So a day later, i've tried :
  • Mint : A much hyped online free personal finance software I was eager to try out. But I could not even register because I do not live in US or Canada.
  • ANZ Money Manager/ (similar to Yodlee as it uses Yodlee's online management tool) : Promising, as it allowed me to sync my accounts from ANZ and HSBC Australia. It was kinda nifty seeing my balances all in one place, without a need to log in and out multiple sites. You could group accounts together and share access with others. It did not have banks from Malaysia, but it also allowed for the creation of accounts manually, so this made up for it. But here's where it fails for me - although it does support a few currencies, the Ringgit is not one of them.
  • BudgetPulse : Googling "personal finance software" and "multiple currencies" gave me this software. Upon registering and logging in, I find that it does support multiple currencies, just not at the same time. Now what use is that? Scratched that.
  • Thrive: Nifty-looking features, touts that it's able to give you a score on how well you are doing. BUT can't seem to add accounts manually. Into the proverbial bin it went.
  • Moneytrackin : This can handle multiple currencies. However, IE keeps warning me it isn't a secure site, and I don't like the navigation and look as the ads are all over the place.
Finally, I find one that can not only update my cash assets and handle multiple currencies, it can also update stock prices. Microsoft Money, once unaffordable, is now free! After its death at Quicken's hands, you can now download the Sunset version for free. (http://www.microsoft.com/money/sunset.mspx) No support, and all that, but I'll take my chances I won't need it.

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