Budgeting software

Shopping for budget software on a budget

by Tom Swarbrick

Finding the right budgeting software depends on knowing the demands of the intended application. Home ownership, small business enterprises, and personal financial management share the need for software that will fulfill those demands at a reasonable price. Only by understanding your specific financial requirements as a homeowner, small business proprietor, or financially responsible individual will you be able to make an intelligent choice among the multitude of budgeting software packages.

The key to saving money when buying software is to avoid those packages that promise many fancy features intended mostly for financial professionals. Features cost money. Buy only what you need. Budget financial software will often meet your requirements without breaking your budget. The primary function of any budgeting software package is to achieve and maintain a balanced budget. Good software must:

  • Provide ready access to financial transactions, important data, and financial services (online checking, direct-pay, etc.) critical to satisfying the users' expectations
  • Reliably and accurately record every significant financial transaction.
  • Assist the user in achieving important financial goals.

The right financial software package should supplant the need for any other basic accounting services. An effective software group will pay the bills virtually automatically, a fundamental feature universally essential to anyone who does not want to spend a great deal of time stuffing checks into envelopes and posting them on time.

Online checking is the best tool to prevent delinquencies that can mar good credit when coupled with the automatic bill paying features available with most budgeting software. Consider it essential.

Budgeting software makes tax time easy. Maintaining accurate, concise records of every financial transaction is the simplest method for reducing your tax burden, and some packages can assist you in proper tax preparation.

Before you begin shopping for financial software, make a list of your precise expectations, requirements, and goals. Pay particular attention to what is absolutely fundamental to keep your financial peace of mind, and be aware of what financial resources would best assure you of achieving your definition of success. Keep your list short and focused. Once you are convinced that your list addresses every essential item affecting your finances, give it the same treatment you would a grocery list: put it to paper and take it with you when you shop.

Personal financial budgeting software relies on extreme flexibility to closely match the current and future demands of those actively involved in improving their economic profile and so are given to have a great many features. Saving money on the purchase of these packages means knowing what is currently critical to your personal financial activities, and having some understanding of how you intend to grow over time.

The proprietor of a small business is keenly aware of the financial requisites that will keep the enterprise in good financial health. The right small business budgeting software will assure that monthly expense are met and provide for the long-term stability of the business, all without demanding the constant attention of the proprietor.

Owning a home will be the most important financial commitment most people ever make. In addition to meeting the routine expenses of the household, software must accommodate the particular financing package that helped the homeowner to purchase the property in the first place. Most recent foreclosures result from "creative" mortgage terms carrying huge balloon payments or "flexible" interest rates that leave homeowners facing financial obligations well beyond their means. A good budgeting package can prevent such financial catastrophes.

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