piggy bank with glasses and book isolated white backgroundWe’d all like to live in the world of that PowerBall commercial, where money falls from the sky onto a grinning, spinning winner who will never have to budget again. Who wouldn’t want that? Ironically, about 70% of lottery winners bankrupt themselves within five years, because they give a lot of money to expectant family and friends, and don’t adjust to their new lifestyle before the money runs out. Obviously, budgeting and solvency go hand in hand, no matter how much money you have, or what kind of windfall comes your way. If you or your loved one aren’t one of Nature’s accountants, then you might benefit from some of the great budgeting software available today. Using software doesn’t sound fun or easy? What if it’s free? Caregivers, loved ones and home care aides can help seniors live a happy, independent and appropriate lifestyle with the right budgeting tools.

There are many ways to manage your finances with the help of software, websites or online services. Managing receipts, investments, taxes, and even small business invoices are all possible with personal finance tools. But we’re focusing on budgeting, because seniors are often living on fixed incomes that don’t adapt well to surprises. We want you to know that there are easy-to-use, free or nearly free, multiple-platform programs and sites that will give you the ability to budget with the best. Here is a list of the programs we think you should take a look at:

  • Personal Capital

    1. Free
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Bills due
    4. Offers investment advice
    5. Does not have authority or ability to move your money
  • You Need A Budget (YNAB)

    1. $5 per month or $50 per year
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Bills due
    4. Helps set goals and then save for them
    5. Does not have authority or ability to move your money
    6. Offers live classes with live teachers to help you learn how to use it
  • Quicken

    1. Three not-free versions
      1. Starter Edition ($39.99)
      2. Deluxe ($74.99), and
      3. Premier ($104.99)
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Bills due
      4. Investments
    4. Helps set goals and then save for them
    5. Has the ability to move your money between linked accounts
  • Mint

    1. Free
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Investments
    4. Shows you offers from competitors to ‘help’ you save money
    5. Mint Bills, a separate app, will track bills coming due
  • Buxfer

    1. Free
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Investments
    4. Helps set goals and then save for them
    5. Send alerts when pre-set limits on unlimited budget tags are exceeded
  • Moneydance

    1. Lifetime price $49.99
    2. Mac, iPhone, Windows, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Investments
    4. Good reports
    5. Has the ability to move your money between linked accounts
  • BudgetPulse

    1. Free
    2. Multiple platform, i.e. Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
    3. Tracks:
      1. Spending
      2. Account Balances
      3. Investments
    4. Helps set goals and then save for them
    5. Isn’t linked to online accounts; imports data from PDF statements

There are many ways to view your finances, including the time-worn head in the sand approach. But anyone can benefit from tracking expenses, bills and goals, so that finances are a tool instead of a time bomb. Caregivers, loved ones, and home care aides can all benefit when money isn’t a mystery, a menace or a mess.

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