Financial discipline is essential if you want to achieve long-term stability and grow your assets. You can start saving money by using free financial planning software as I did and live the life of your dreams.
You may believe people who work 9-5 high-paying jobs from their target careers have made it in life. They can afford their own monthly expenses, housing, amenities, and even a vacation once a year. What else can one possibly need?
That’s where most people go wrong. If you spend all the money you earn every month, you will barely have any savings left for your personal financial growth, retirement plans, further education, and luxury items.
Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. All you have to do is maintain some financial discipline in your life by planning. I was a newbie to this concept as well. Therefore, I used free financial planning software to help me out.
Are you excited to know the details? Here’s everything you need to know about how free financial planning software made me a better saver.
Table of Contents
What Is Financial Planning?
Let’s start with the basics.
Financial planning lets you track your income and outgoing expenses. Not only does it help you meet your current requirements with efficiency, but it also lets you grow your assets and investments in the future.
Besides that, financial planning also includes reaching your long-term financial goals. If you envision yourself at a certain place financially, financial planning is one of the best ways that’ll lead you towards your ultimate goal.
Why Do You Need to Plan Your Finances?
A common misconception is that only the wealthy need to manage and get advice for planning their finances. If you think the same, you’re not alone.
Research shows that only 30% of all US households operate using a well-curated financial plan.
The truth is, even if you’re earning minimum wage, you need to plan where you spend your money to improve your financial condition in the future.
If you don’t do that and continue with an eat-what-you-earn attitude, you will soon lose your financial stability, regardless of how much you make.
Furthermore, there are many reasons why you should start planning your finances today.
- Financial planning helps you understand your financial situation. This includes how much money you need, where you overspend, and how much you have to invest.
- Similarly, it helps you set long-term goals for yourself and your family. For example, you can put away some savings for your children’s schooling or the healthcare needs of your elderly parents.
- If you have future goals, financial planning will let you foresee if they are realistic with your current income. This way, you can plan to increase your income with some side hustles or set achievable future goals.
- If you find yourself struggling with expenses towards the end of the month, there might be a problem with your spending habits. Financial planning helps you identify and manage these mistakes, so you put your income to optimal use.
- A well-curated financial plan will also let you know about any financial risks and threats you can face in the future. You can work accordingly to minimize these risks.
- It helps you make proper investing decisions to grow your assets and income in the long run.
- It helps you live your dream life.
Where to Get Started?
It’s up to you! You can get a pen and paper and start your plan right away. However, if you want to manage your finances professionally and become a better saver, you can go for free financial planning software.
Whether you’re running a business start-up or just want to manage your monthly salary, you can choose free financial planning software for individuals and enterprises.
Before I move on, here’s a detailed overview of what financial planning and budgeting software actually are and how they work.
What is Financial Planning Software?
Mainly, free financial planning software makes your budgeting tasks less tedious. If you’re considering planning your finances, you don’t have to sit with a calculator and list out every penny you spend.
While some people choose this old-school method to keep track of their money, why go through the hassle when you can get the facilities more easily? All you have to do is choose a personal financial planning software for free, download it, and get started.
You can link your bank accounts along with your credit and debit cards to keep track of every dollar you spend. Furthermore, these free financial planning apps can help you regulate your monthly payments and save for college or retirement.
Some of this advanced software have investment portfolio management systems. You can use them once you start diversifying your investment approach.
How Does Free Financial Planning Software Work
Mainly, all free financial planning software works by tracking and categorizing your expenses. However, you can choose from multiple options depending on your needs.
Most of this software can only be used on your desktop by logging in through the browser. Besides that, some free financial planning software lets you download operating software on your computer, so you can use it offline as well.
However, some platforms also offer smartphone apps for their users. If you prefer to check your expenses, upcoming payments, and investment details on-the-go, you should check whether your chosen free financial planning software has an app.
As far as the price is concerned, most DIY financial planning software are free to use, while some require a premium to join.
Platforms like Personal Capital let you use its services for free and only pay for investment fees. On the other hand, software like Mint lets you conduct budgeting and financial management tasks for free.
Some options have a free trial period, and you’ll have to pay for the services once the free term is over.
Moreover, free financial planning software also varies according to the services they offer. While some platforms are dedicated to budgeting tasks like managing accounts and tracking expenses, others help optimize your savings and investment.
If you’re going for free options, you probably won’t get advanced investment and tax management services. However, some free options help you track and maintain your investment portfolio, even if you don’t invest your money through the program.
In short, each financial management software is different, so you’ll have to conduct thorough research to select the one that fits your needs.
How to Choose the Best Financial Planning Software?
You should know which tool is ideal for you. Remember, the software will handle your money, so you want to make sure it’s in the right hands.
Here are a few factors I considered when selecting the ideal best financial planning software.
Each financial management software has restrictions regarding the types of accounts it lets on board. Before you start the sign-up process, check whether your target software allows the type of account you have.
Similarly, some may also have rules concerning the minimum balance and monthly cash flow in your account.
This is one of the most important aspects to consider. Crucial budgeting data and income reports are of no use if you can’t understand them.
Personally, I cannot bear to go through mounds of unorganized data, so I chose my free financial management app accordingly. If you face the same problem, try looking for platforms that organize your data in catchy and readable graphs.
If you’re a common man trying to manage your personal finances, a functional free financial planning software is one of the best options. However, if you’re starting your own business and need some professional advice, you should go for paid options with advanced facilities.
Unfortunately, most free financial management software use Robo-advisors to organize your finances. That’s okay if you just want to track your monthly cash flow.
But, if you’re thinking of investing your earnings and building a portfolio, you should go for platforms that offer human representatives for support.
Best Free Financial Planning Software Options
Even if you know what you want, finding an ideal financial planning software is not easy.
Don’t worry! I’ve already gone through the trouble, so you don’t have to.
If you’re looking for free financial planning software, here are some great options to try.
Personal Capital is one of the most popular free financial management apps with a wide array of services for every individual. Founded back in 2013, the platform lets you manage all your accounts, including bank, mortgage, and credit accounts as well.
The best part is, it is completely free. You don’t have to pay a dime to use its professional budgeting and income management services.
Along with a detailed financial report, the platform gives you regular alerts about your pending payments and spending mistakes. With this app, you can stay on top of your finances. Most importantly, you can use it to start investing your money as well.
However, to start investing, you will need at least $100,000 in your account. After that, the platform will charge around 0.89% of your investment revenue annually.
WealthSimple is another well-known financial management software available for members in the US, Canada, and Europe. Founded in 2014, the platform is an ideal option for established individuals looking to invest funds.
Initially, there is no minimum account balance limit to join the platform. However, if you wish to upgrade to its premium version for advanced investing, you will need a set amount in your account to get started.
WealthSimple offers services regarding socially responsible investment options, portfolio management, and tax-loss harvesting. Besides that, the platform has a handy mobile app and provides free email updates to keep you posted about your investments’ progress.
If you just want a simple financial management software to conduct your budgeting and income tracking tasks, CountAbout is the right pick. The software only works through your web browser, so you don’t need to download anything.
While you’ll have to pay to get started on the platform by choosing between the basic and premium plan, you can take a free trial for 15 days.
The software syncs all your accounts in one place! You can track your transactions, view your financial situation at a glance, and regulate payment schedules.
Did Free Financial Planning Software Make Me a Better Saver?
Now that I’ve walked you through the process I went through to attain financial discipline in my life, it’s time to answer the most important question. Was the hassle worth it?
Did I actually become a pro at saving money by using free financial planning software? To be honest, it did.
I’ve listed down how I have become better at managing my finances to give you a clear representation.
I am Managing Money Efficiently
Mainly, budgeting and saving concepts were complete rocket science to me and went over my head. That’s why I usually ended up overspending and had nothing left by the end of the month.
Free financial planning software helped me simplify this task by automating it. I didn’t have to do the budgeting myself, the software did it for me, and that’s where financial discipline came in.
The software gave me cool insights about the unnecessary stuff I bought and how many times I used the credit card during the month. Similarly, it highlighted my financial goals and the tasks I needed to take up to achieve them.
Eventually, this information made me more responsible about how I managed my finances, and I started saving more.
I Know How to Categorize My Expenses
Before I started using financial planning apps, I used to blow away my entire paycheck as soon as it arrived and struggled with expenses at the end of the month. The worst part is, I wasn’t spending on luxuries. Everything seemed important to me.
My financial planning software helped me categorize my expenses into urgent, important, and non-important categories. This way, I saw where I was going wrong and cut off all expenses except necessities.
The result was unbelievable! I found new ways to become frugal with my money and ended up saving a considerable amount every month.
I Grew My Income Steadily
To me, the most important part about saving money was learning how to put that money to productive use. Once I accumulated a handsome amount in my savings account, I could’ve easily spent it all on a luxury weekend getaway and went back to zero.
However, what prevented me from doing that was learning financial responsibility from my software. I learned how to use the money I save to create some stable assets for myself.
These assets help me grow my net worth and achieve my long-term goals. Similarly, once I created defined, realistic goals, I discovered ways to increase my income and meet my savings targets.
I not only became a better saver by saving more money. In fact, I learned how to put my savings to optimal use for my own long-term benefit.
That concludes my overview of how free financial planning software made me a better saver. I started by explaining why financial planning is important, followed by how free financial management apps make the task easier.
Remember, the trick to becoming a good saver is to choose the ideal software depending on your personal needs and long-term goals. Take some time to list down your preferences and conduct research accordingly to select the best financial planning software.
After that, just let the software do the work, save your money, and live your dream life.
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