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Which budgeting tool is best for you? Here are our reader's most popular picks.
Last Saturday I asked a question in the weekly newsletter that goes to more than 18,000 beautiful people (join here–it’s free and worth every penny). The question: What software or tool do you use to track your spending?

The number and variety of responses was just amazing. Some of the results, as you’ll see, were not surprising. But there were a number of readers who use budgeting tools that I had never heard of. I’m guessing some will be new to you, too.

Here are the results:

Popular Budgeting Software32.8%–Mint
2.9%—Personal Capital
1.5%—Ready For Zero
1.5%—Level Money
1.5%—USAA Website

It’s not surprising to see Mint, Quicken and YNAB at the top. These are the three most talked about budgeting tools. I’ve used all three, and while YNAB is my personal favorite, each of these tools does a great job at helping you track your spending and budget.

The comments from readers that responded to the question are interesting.

Michael: “I’ve used Quicken deluxe for some 25 years now.” Now that’s consistency and dedication. I didn’t know Quicken had been around that long.

Dan: “I’m a big fan of Quicken. I run a Mac like you but have a Windows emulator (parallels) to run the Windows version of Quicken Rental Property Manager. It does everything I need.” I have to agree that the PC version of Quicken is better than the Mac version.

Steve: “You know my answer. YNAB has been THE biggest financial difference in my life. But it’s not about tracking your spending. It’s about planning your spending ahead of time. A big part of that planning is figuring out how much you can save. Tracking your spending is just a by-product.”

Patrick: “I use Mint for cash tracking & Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Quizzle for credit tracking.”

Chris: “I have been using the same spreadsheet that i found on line in Microsoft templates web page for 13 years.”

Ralph: “I use excel spread sheet. I don’t specifically track my spending but I do track my spending rate. On a monthly basis, I review my bank statements and credit card report and note what each purchase was and how much and capture the differences each month. I account for one time purchases like new windows for the house and other money allocations and exclude them from my cost of living expense. Also in excel, I made a list of all my required expenses like insurance, utility, tags, taxes, etc.”

Jen: “I use Mint primarily, but I am exploring Level Money. With Level, I set my income, tag bills, and set a saving percentage. The app then provides a spendable balance. I’ve used it for 3 weeks and I think it can be a simple way to stick with a budget. The only issue is that your bank may not be supported, but they are adding new banks.”

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1118
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments

Barbara Stapleton says:

I use an Excel spreadsheet and save to print in PDF form so I can use it for bill paying time, alongside my laptop.
It totals and sub-totals.
I keep separate monthly and debt categories.
I start with income and Tithes, then color-blocks of spending:
Household, electronics/related (printer inks, software, security, etc); biz oppy’s/related (recurring and 1 time payments), petty cash (itemized) online and in-store shopping (itemized), gifts and entertainment (Netflix, MeetUp group events, etc.).
I ALWAYS know where my money comes from and where it goes. I can see where I need to cut back to increase my savings account (for future investing).
I found MINT.com to be inaccurate (very slow to update balances is a crucial issue).
I used QuickBooks in business and loved it, but it’s not for personal use.

dojo says:

Will give YNAB a try, you convinced me. I am using now AceMoney, a small nifty tool and also my excel spreadsheets.

Rob Berger says:

Let us know what you think of YNAB. I’ve never heard of AceMoney, but will check it out.

Ramakilla says:

I’d suggest using the 34 day trial, checking out the support pages with live classroom and prerecorded classes. You have a shot at winning free copy in the live classes. I also suggest being part of the forums. Great place to ask questions, read success stories, and personal journals. It’s a community!

You can also get $6 off the purchase price on the forums. There is the YNAB blog and podcasts which help you understand Jesse and the team. Great guest speakers who are well known in the personal finance blogosphere.

The method and software are great. The community is great.

Delores says:

I use GnuCash and really like it! Though, I have studied bookkeeping and prefer something that has that sort of idea/layout to it. A couple of challenges for me: figuring out split transactions (I know it is possible, I just can’t figure it out), and setting up the budget and how to use it. For instance: how to set up saving for new tires, rolling over a small deposit each month into that category. I think it is possible, I just need to take the time to figure it out. But for me, those are minor and I really like the overall program. Plus, my bank online has an option to set up ‘funds’ there (e.g. new tires, Christmas) and I can allocate my savings each month to the many categories. So that sort of makes up for what the GnuCash lacks for me in that area of budgeting. This is the first ‘system’ I have found over the years that works for me — and I have tried so many!