As an accountant, numbers are my life. However, when I attempted to find a way to prepare and maintain a budget, EASY was my first requirement. Personal finance software allows you to prepare a budget with just a few clicks of your mouse.
There are two free online personal finance solutions available.
Intuit offers Mint.com. Mint.com allows you to set up your account once, linking your bank account, credit card accounts, home loan and investment accounts. Mint will then automatically sync with your accounts so you will always have access to your most current information.
Another possibility is Bundle.com, whose business partners include Citi, MSN Money and Morningstar. Like Mint, Bundle allows you to link your accounts and will track your spending habits so you have a clear picture of your budget.
I also use online banking through my bank. Most online banking platforms allow you to export your transactions (checks, ATM transactions and deposits) into a data file that can be imported to most commercially available budget software. However with both Mint.com and Bundle.com, these online tools will automatically sync with your accounts so you have NO DATA ENTRY!
Both Mint and Bundle offer wonderful features to tie all your personal records together, making you more organized and efficient. To find out if either online solution is right for you, visit their website at Mint.com or Bundle.com.