Budgeting is a discipline that’s not often met with excitement. Many assume that budgeting is something reserved for companies or, say, freelance workers. However, personal budget software is just as important as corporate one — it’s a fundamental understanding of where money is coming and going.
You may consider it to be boring, tiring, time-consuming, or difficult, but managing your finances well can help you achieve goals and stave off the stress of a rainy day. Thankfully, there are tools and apps on Mac which can help you get on top of budgeting, no matter how experienced you are.
Why Should I Use Budget Tracking Software?
If you haven’t done a budget before, you should start now. You never know when you might need a particular sum of money to solve an issue, meet a goal, or take advantage of a sudden opportunity.
Budget programs help you reduce the stress and uncertainty that comes with not knowing where you stand financially. If you don’t have a home budget software, you might be tracking towards a situation where you run out of money, without even knowing it. If you do have a budget, then you’ll have a documented plan of action to improve your situation.
Importantly, you don’t need any qualifications to do a budget, nor do you need to be good with numbers. Take advantage of the best budget software for Mac to help you take control of your finances without the hassle. Budgeting tools come in many shapes and sizes, so selecting the right one for you depends on personal preference and previous experience with managing money.
Handy tips for budgeting tools
If you’re ready to start your budget, it’s best to consider a strategic approach to ensure maximum utility. Too often, budgets sit collecting dust after being created, and sometimes the act of creating a budget could feel like enough to satisfy financial concerns — it’s not. Here are some tips for making the most out of your budget.
First of all, definitely use an app to help you manage a budget. App developers invest a lot of time and money into figuring out how their software can make your life easier and better, so rather than trying to understand all the nuances for yourself, let a dedicated app do it for you. There’s even some free budget software around, so you have very few excuses not to try!
If you run a business (or freelance on a side), a little bit of work each week means end of year taxes are a breeze. It’s not about doing a marathon of work in a few days, but making a habit to consistently do a little bit here and there. Try aiming for 10 minutes every few days. The best tax preparation software will also have reminders and notifications to help you achieve this goal.
It might sound contradictory, but budgeting isn’t always about getting the numbers 100% accurate. When it comes to tax preparation software — sure. But budgeting is mostly about understanding where your money is being spent and then using that information to make more informed decisions going forward. Therefore, make sure you categorize your transactions so that it’s easier to spot those minutiae differences and trends. The best finance apps should do this for you automatically.
In summary, you want to ensure you take advantage of the online budgeting tools available to you, aim to update your records frequently, and focus on categorization over accuracy.
Features of good personal budget software
The best personal budget software for Mac is easier to pin down when you know exactly what you’re looking for. Not all apps are the same — they vary by function and pricing. Generally speaking, there are a few key features you want to see in your budget software for Mac:
It should be simple and easy to add new records or transactions
Importing bank and credit card statements should be possible
Automatically synchronizing statements will take the edge off your manual inputting
Useful dashboards or visuals will help you understand your situation at a glance
You should be able to categorize your transactions into groups
Out of those five key points, the ability to import is often the most essential. Importing saves you the hassle of adding each transaction into the money management software line-by-line, which adds up to a lot of time. It’s hard enough already to schedule frequent updates to your budget, so if you can remove the largest friction point of manual entry, then you’re in a good place.
The best budget software for Mac comparison
When it comes to programs to help budget money, there are countless options. It’s easy to get lost diving deep into each budget software review, but here are some of the best available, ranging from beautifully basic to powerfully advanced.
You’ve probably heard of Quicken, given that the name has been around since the early 80s. Even then, it was known as one of the best tax software companies around. That says something about the strong product, which carries all of the basic functions you’ll need to manage your budget well.
Right away though, you might notice that the interface has become somewhat dated in comparison to the newer contenders out there. But one of Quicken’s praised features is the ability to download bank statements and have the records automatically categorized, which can drastically reduce the time it takes to input your information, so you can spend more time making sense of it. Sadly, the Mac version is somewhat limited when it comes to advanced features, unless you splash out for the Home and Business edition.
MoneyDance is very similar to Quicken in terms of its basic features, including the ability to create a budget with notifications for bills and invoices. It also allows you to make your own charts and graphs to monitor spending habits over time, which can be seen on the homepage for a quick glance of your activity. Out-of-the-box integrations with online banking services also make it easy to send payments.
Unlike Quicken, Moneydance has some more advanced features including an investment monitor, which tracks your investments and their fluctuations — a useful addition, although best for the intermediate to advanced user. The app also has a developer API system in place to allow extended functions, mostly good for power users. Importantly, security is not an issue, as Moneydance utilizes end-to-end encryption for your data to give you that extra peace of mind.
You Need A Budget, also known as YNAB, is budget tracking software that runs on both Windows and Mac via web — saving automatically to the cloud, which is a bonus for multi-platform users. It also features native apps for iOS and Android, so you can literally tackle your budget from anywhere.
The app itself follows a simple design language, which is perfect for beginners, but if you find yourself needing help you can sign up for a personal instructor. YNAB doesn’t let you slack at all, and if you start to stray from your budget, the app will raise a red flag through it’s built-in Accountability Partner.
Although YNAB doesn’t support the ability to download and automatically categorize records from bank statements, it could be argued that entering them manually helps the user pay more attention to where their spending is going. Still, it’s a more time-consuming process that might be problematic for users processing hundreds or more records each month.
MoneyWiz stays true to its name — a comprehensive budget software and investment tracker that’s packed full with over 400 useful features. View your financial situation quickly by browsing accounts, groups, or searching for individual records. Speaking of records, you can enter them manually or have them automatically sync with leading banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, and financial services for an accurate real-time understanding of your accounts.
With all of this data in hand, MoneyWiz can prepare and export over 50 reports to help you gain deeper insights into your finances. Your data could be accessed from its cloud-based app or straight from the native software for Mac. All in all, MoneyWiz is extremely powerful: accessible for beginners and interesting for the most advanced users.
Receipts is yet another money management software for Mac, and is specifically well-known for its clever handling of invoicing. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, Receipts automatically reads and translates important information about your bills, such as amount, date, currency, and more (even if the text is in another language).
Besides, Receipts can issue payments for invoices directly using third-party providers, such as iFinance and BankX. The OCR technology alone makes it a strong contender against other more simple online budgeting tools. Not least, Mac users will be glad to see how this application was designed to look and feel like a macOS product. Using a familiar user interface could make life a little easier after all.
Between the five options above, you have a strong starting point for your budgeting tools depending on your experience. Remember that importing is one of the key features to look for in budget programs. Still, in order to find the best fit you might need to try a couple of different options.
Thankfully, both MoneyWiz and Receipts have a free 7-day trial that you can take advantage of by heading over to Setapp, an app subscription service for Mac that gives you access to over 200 macOS apps, including all the necessary budget tools. Getting MoneyWiz and Receipts at once? You won’t be disappointed.