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9
You Need a Budget

The no-frills alternative to Quicken, You Need a Budget (YNAB) lacks the scope of tools available in Intuit's famous budgeting software. YNAB doesn't track investments or offer as many options as Quicken; instead, it focuses on delivering a simple, robust financial application that's all about budgeting. More specifically, YNAB works on a zero-based budgeting system: You begin with one-month's income, then allocate all of that money into budget categories until every cent is accounted for [source: Fiscal Geek].

With YNAB, you can categorize and track transactions, divide spending brackets into sub-categories and view spending on a month-to-month basis. While Quicken can automatically import transaction data from a huge host of banks, expenditures must be manually entered into YNAB. That makes money management a more proactive effort, but YNAB is $10 cheaper than Quicken at $59.99. YNAB offers a week-long free trial on its Web site for those interested in trying the software before buying it.

Quicken and YNAB both excel at managing a wealth of transactions, which means they aren't for everyone. If all of your spending is tied up in one bank account, a piece of software dedicated to money management might be overkill. Why not handle transactions at the source, instead?

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