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10 Software Tools for New Year Financial Resolutions

Budget, Reduce Debt, Lower Bills and Manage Money


It's that time of year when people make New Year resolutions to put together a budget, get out of debt, or just manage money better. Budget software and personal finance software and apps help you achieve these financial goals in less time. Just plug in spending monthly spending goals, and all the math is done for you, and you can see account balances, spending trends and whether you're going over budget on groceries, clothes or other items.

Personal finance software and apps will help you manage accounts and includes a number of reports so you can analyzed your entire financial picture. Debt reduction software gives you tools to take a look at different ways to chip away at your bills so you can choose the method that works best for you. Free tax software, online bill pay services and other software can save a lot of money and time, and I have all the best options listed here.

1. Budget Software

The budgeting feature screen in YNAB 4.
You Need A Budget 4 / Courtesy of You Need a Budget.
10 Budget Software and Online Apps includes selections for Windows, Mac and Online budgeting tools. While you can also track account balances with this software, their strongest features make it easier to set up a budget. Some provide a way to do envelope budgeting (without real envelopes, of course). Reports will show you when you're close to going overspending in any expense categories, and some use what-if scenarios so you can see how different spending and saving options affect your finances into the future.

2. Free Budget Spreadsheets

Find free budget spreadsheets on its your money website.
Cash Flow Budget SpreadsheetIt's Your Money www.mdmproofing.com
I tested quite a few free budget spreadsheet downloads and rounded up four of the best, which are listed in The Best Spreadsheet Templates for Budgeting. These spreadsheets are pre-formattted budget templates that can be downloaded and used with Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc or Google Docs, and are set up with spending categories and months. Formulas have already been entered to do all the math for you.

3. Free Personal Finance Software

The Home Page in Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe will be familiar to Money Plus users.
Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe Home Page
If you're trying to spend more frugally or stick to a budget, it doesn't always make sense to pay a lot for personal finance software that helps you reach those goals. There are some decent choices available for free personal finance software that runs on Mac, Windows and Linux computers, including the very popular free Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe.

4. Paid Desktop Software

Personal finance software and online bill pay manages money.
Manage Bills with Personal Finance SoftwareGetty Images / Comstock
If you don't see any free personal finance software that would suit your money management needs, considering paying a few dollars for the non-free software. If you're going to be using the software frequently, it's worth paying for an easier to use interface, automatic transaction downloads and guaranteed support if you need help. Desktop software is divided up by the type of operating system your computer runs:

5. Go Mobile with iPhone or Android Apps

Pocket Money iPhone app supports several languages.
PocketMoney Spending Graph / Catamount Software
There are many great apps that can be used to manage money, track financial accounts, enter transactions when you buy something, or check your budget on your mobile device. Some financial apps work with desktop or online personal finance software to synchronize your data so any work done on the mobile device carries over the desktop or web automatically.

Check out my list of Android Personal finance apps or iPhone apps to find low cost or free apps for managing money.

6. Free Online Personal Finance Apps

Track your bills on Adaptu's spending calendar.
Adaptu Spending Calendar
A lot of online apps for managing money have popped up over the last few years with features for budgeting, saving money, and getting out of debt. Here are my picks for the best free online personal finance software apps:

7. Software Helps You Eliminate Debt

Debt Quencher for Mac debt reduction planning software.
Debt Quencher / No Thirst Software LLC
This software offers tools to help you pare down debt from credit cards, loans or other bills. Enter each of your debts with interest and see different ways to go about paying off bills, whether you want to get rid of the highest interest expense or start with the account that has the lowest balance to kick start your motivation toward becoming debt free. You'll find the best of this type of software listed in 5 Debt Reduction Software Options.

8. Free Tax Software

TaxACT Free Federal Edition income tax preparation software.
TaxACT Online Deluxe / 2nd Story Software, Inc.
You can start working on your return with any online tax software and you don't pay unless you file the return. This is advantageous because if you decide you don't want to do your taxes yourself or you just don't like how the software works, you can delete your account and you're not out any money. There are also a few free online tax software that require no payment, period. Before you get started on your taxes, take a look at these seven good options for free tax software that let you complete and file your federal income taxes at no cost. Most states are offering free state tax preparation software, and if you're in the U.S. Military services, there's free tax software designed just for military members.

9. Pay Bills On Time

Paying Bills with Billeo / Billeo, Inc.
Paying fees and interest for late payments is a waste of money, and those fees have really gone up recently. Online bill pay services can remind you when bills are due or you can schedule bills to be paid on time automatically, from your checking or credit card account. Here are some good options:

10. Save Money While Shopping Online

Shoptimate broswer add-on compares prices.
Shoptimate Browser Add-on / Shoptimate.com
You can save a lot of money while shopping online when you use a browser add-on or extension to automatically compare prices, get coupon codes and get price drop alerts. Plugging one of these add-ons into a browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari is easy because you just select them from your browser's site (each add-on listed below includes a download link for each browser) to install them.

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