How to Choose Personal Financial Software

Personal finance software helps you easily compile information for your taxes and manage your money. However the large number of different choices and their equally confusing feature list can make your head spin faster than that DVD in your stereo! Here are some tips for selecting a package for your family.

How to Choose Personal Financial Software

Personal finance software helps you easily compile information for your taxes and manage your money. These applications make it easier to analyze your financial situation and find ways to improve it. They also prevent costly mistakes by automating your personal finances. However, it is crucial to choose reliable software that suits your needs.

Here are a few tips to help you select software:

  • People must select personal finance applications more carefully than word processors, calendar programs or computer games. There can be serious consequences if you use a flawed financial program.
  • Read reviews of various personal finance applications. Some computer and money magazines publish them. Remember to research the history and reputation of a software company before using its products.
  • There are two major types of personal finance software. You can purchase it on a CD-ROM and keep the financial data on your computer. Alternately, you may run online applications that use remote storage.
  • Some military members favor online software because they can view their data on any computer. However, you may prefer desktop programs if you don’t always have access to a fast Internet connection.
  • You can download this kind of software for free instead of purchasing it. Free financial applications usually provide less documentation and technical support. Some of them also contain advertisements.
  • To save money, don’t buy financial applications that perform more functions than you need. The most comprehensive software packages usually have words like “suite” or “deluxe” in their names.
  • An alternative is to use a spreadsheet program. Some computers come with this type of software. You can find spreadsheet templates that will help you perform a wide range of personal finance tasks.
  • Beware of small companies that charge unrealistically low prices for applications from major brands. The financial software could be counterfeit or pirated. It may function improperly or contain viruses.
  • You can buy personal finance programs from office supply stores, computer retailers and software websites. It is often helpful to try an application before you buy it. You might be able to download a free “demo” or use it in the store. At a minimum, look at some screenshots and learn how the program works.

Once you have selected your software package, you now have to start using it! Don’t be intimidated by all the functions and features. Well designed software usually means you don’t even have to read the manual. So, take your time, enjoy the ride and you can now start feeling better about yourself. You are on road to getting a handle on your personal finances!

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