Where would you like to start?

Personal Budget Software: Online vs. Traditional

Traditional budget software involves downloading or installing software on your laptop or computer. This differs from using online budget software like Mint.com, which runs in a browser, and can be accessed from anywhere. Let's look at the pros and cons of each.

Traditional Budget Software:

  • You pay for the software up front, before you download or install it.
  • You input each transaction as it occurs -- either manually, or imported from your financial institution.
  • There are thousands of financial institutions linked to traditional budget software, so you have access to most banks.
  • All financial information is stored on your computer.
  • You can run reports regarding your spending history, and create a budget based upon that data.
  • You typically must use the computer on which you installed the software.

Online budget software can be accessed via your mobile device.

Online Budget Software:

  • Signup is usually free.
  • There is no need to download software to your computer; it runs in a standard web browser.
  • The same access to thousands of financial institutions is generally available, so you can download transactions from most banks.
  • All financial information you input into your account is stored in the cloud.
  • You're able to create a budget, work with financial planning worksheets, calculate spending patterns, and determine when funds should be rolled into another account.
  • You have access to your account no matter where you are, and no matter what computer or device you're using.

Storing your data securely in the cloud means you can access it anywhere, anytime.

The Bottom Line:

Traditional budget software is typically more expensive, requiring an initial purchase plus regular updates. Those who are working with tighter budgets will usually benefit from working with free online personal budget software. Not only will you be able to perform all your budgeting and financial planning without having to pay another bill, you can do so from any computer.

In addition, you can use any computer or device to access your account, and you can even enter transactions via your smartphone or tablet. This is helpful for keeping track of your spending, even while on the go.

Mint.com is a great online budgeting solution, with a full suite of tools that you can use to create your budget and achieve your financial goals. Click here to try it for free.

Photo credits: William Hook, mansikka