Free and open source personal finance software

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This is a review of several free, open source and mostly cross-platform personal finance (accounting-type) programs. The purpose of this article is not to list all personal finance programs with an open source license. The idea is to review mature software that is likely to be useful to a large number of readers. A comparison of accounting software, both proprietary and free or open source software can be found here.

GnuCash

GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.[1]

Buddi

Buddi is a personal finance and budgeting program, aimed at those who have little or no financial background.

Platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac Basic finance: Yes
Ease of use: Very easy QIF import: No
Target audience: Beginners QIF export: No
Multiple currencies: No Investments: No
Reports: Basic Small business: No

Buddi may be a good choice for people who simply wish to track their income and expenses. It is very simple and very easy to use. There are only three tabs: My Accounts, My Budget and My Reports. In My Accounts you put your assets (bank accounts, cash) and liabilities (credit card, student loans, and mortgage). In My Budget you put income and expenses. In My Reports you see various reports like “show me my income and expenses for last month”.

It doesn't have any advanced features, but for people who are just starting to track their personal finances it might be a good fit. It's major limitation is that it can't export to Quicken Interchange Format (QIF). So when you outgrow this package, you'll have a hard time moving your data to a different application. If you think you might be in this situation, look at HomeBank.

Missing features:

  • Does not support QIF import.
  • Does not support stocks.
  • Does not support multiple currencies (all accounts have the same currency).
  • Does not have any reports besides budget.

Homebank

Homebank is a very small and simple finance package. Suitable for keeping track of your expenses or making a budget. Like most personal finance software, it organizes things into accounts, payees and categories. Features include: QIF import/export, Open Financial Exchange (OFX) and comma-separated values (CSV) import, scheduled transactions, simple annual budget and car cost.

If your needs are simple or if you are just starting to track your finances, HomeBank is for you. A very important feature that it has is QIF export. This will allow you to migrate to another application later when your needs change. As you gain experience managing your finances you will gradually outgrow HomeBank and it is important to know that you can migrate.

Missing features:

  • Does not support stocks.
  • Does not support multiple currencies (all accounts have the same currency).
  • Does not have any reports besides budget.

iFreeBudget

The main feature that iFreeBudget provides compared to HomeBank is support for scheduled transactions, some support for investments and a somewhat wider range of reports. In exchange for that you give up QIF import and export as well as some ease of use. However, it does offer OFX import.

Special features: iFreeBudget can download your transactions on-line, directly from your bank. Another feature is that your account data is encrypted, so you have to enter a password to access it.

It also lacks QIF export. If you decide to move to a different package you will have a hard time migrating.

Support for stocks and investments is very basic, but it may be appropriate for some users. iFreeBudget does not actually track money flowing between your bank and your stocks. It simply records the fact that you have certain stocks and gives you the current market value.

The transaction wizard is certainly “easy”, but it’s a lot of clicks just to enter your groceries. You can go to File > New > Transaction. The problem here was that iFreeBudget kept saying “Invalid account” but not which account was invalid or why.

If you are considering iFreeBudget, you should also look at Money Manager EX. It has a similar feature set and is easier to use.

Missing features:

  • Does not support QIF import and export.
  • Does not support multiple currencies.
  • Support for stocks and investments is weak.
  • Support for reports is a little weak.

Other Software

Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe, although not open-source, is no longer supported by Microsoft and can be downloaded at Money Plus Sunset Deluxe. A review can be found here.

See also

References

  1. "Welcome to GnuCash.org". The GnuCash Project. https://www.gnucash.org/. Retrieved January 26, 2017.

Further reading

External links