Hey, we know budgeting is no picnic. It can be (and has been) described as difficult, laborious, painful, tough, tiresome, galling, onerous, and perhaps a gargantuan pain in the neck! That is why there are creators of software, apps, and plans always trying to create something that will make it easier and more understandable. Significant profit potential awaits the creator of the software/app that reviewers tout as the best!

We thought it would be interesting, in preparation for this post, to click through the Internet to vie a sampling of articles and posts devoted to budgeting and reviews of programs available. Just over one year ago, Christopher Murray penned, “Which Budget System is Best For You?” A few weeks later, LaPonsie and Peterson authored “10 Simple and Free Budgeting Tools.” If someone can find a great tool that is free, so much the better. In December 2019 NerdWallet posted “The 7 Best Budget Apps for 2020.” In March 2020 Investopedia offered this post, “Best Budgeting Software for 2020,” and in May the balance published the “Top 8 Personal Budget Software Apps.”

The information in these posts is solid, and some of the software apps will appear in multiple evaluations. As the same names appear in multiple blogs and articles, our searching may be logically narrowed. Still the end of the search is not simply taking someone else’s advice.

The absolute best budgeting software on the market is…wait for it…the one you will actually use! We know this sounds like shouting the obvious, but there is nothing worse than purchasing a budget software that is unused! These purchases rank right up at the top with exercise equipment that is never used. How many elipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills across America are serving their obvious secondary purpose of providing a place to hang clothes outside the closet?

Finding the software that you will actually use is a subjective experience. It would not be productive to ask a fisherman which setup to buy, or a cyclist which bicycle you should buy. The only way to know what fishing rod, golf clubs, bicycle, or shotgun to buy would be to discover what fits your needs. When I consider a new bicycle, I am fortunately able to visit a bike shop and ride them a bit to determine if it fits my needs. When I want to buy a car, the dealer will allow a bit of a test drive. Carvana and Vroom have increased their test drive offers to 7 days.

Do not rush to buy the number one software on your favorite list. Ask yourself some questions. Are you a computer software driven person, or would the envelope system work better? Make sure everyone in your family is on the same page about financial planning before committing to the process. Evaluate your personality; ask yourself how detailed you are about other areas of your life before jumping into the deep end of the pool on spreadsheets. Is your hope to merely track spending or are you wanting to have one plan for budgeting and track your savings and net worth? These questions will help prevent having another unused program taking up memory space on your hard drive.

Here is to thinking clearly, acting decisively, living financially free, and pursuing our passions…in every stage of life.