In my search for a simple and free program to keep my finances on track, I found this tiny program, Metalogic Finance Explorer, that seems easy enough for me to learn and even recommend to others.
Finance Explorer is an easy-to-use portable application that can help you manage your financial information. It’s not only portable, but also very small in file size, taking up about 1MB of space. You can download the program from PortableApps here. The installation is pretty straightforward so just follow the instructions.
The first thing you notice when you launch the program is that it sports a user interface reminiscent of Windows Explorer, which means it’s minimalistic and familiar-looking.
You can get started by setting up your accounts and adding your bank account information. Finance Explorer doesn’t actually connect to your online bank account. You just need to add your bank account information, and start entering your starting balance.
If your bank allows you to download your transaction history in Quicken or Microsoft Money file formats, then it’s your lucky day. Finance Explorer is compatible with those two programs so you can easily import your transactions files (which will also add your bank account information), avoid entering erroneous data when typing it all manually and save a lot of time.
Setting Up A Budget
To make the most out of your finances, you’ll want to start recording your expenses and general transactions, classifying them into groups or categories so you can total your transactions and get an overview of your finances.
The tutorial from the developer’s site provides thorough examples of how you can use the program to keep a budget for each category and see how you’ll end up balancing your income and expenses.
Tracking Your Investments & Stocks
You can easily make use of this program to track investments such as retirement accounts, tuition savings, and stocks. Create an account under Investment, e.g. Retirement account, and add details like description and amount. Press Enter and you’ll see your newly created account under Investment.
Now click on the account you just created and enter a symbol in the appropriate column, as well as other details in the quantity and purchase price. Press Enter once you’re done.
To get updates on your quotes, go to Tools > Update Quotes. The information will then be retrieved and reflected on your grid.
I haven’t used Quicken or Microsoft Money so I don’t know if those programs use PINs to allow access, but I feel like it’d be nice if Finance Explorer enabled users to password-protect their information on launch. Other than that, Finance Explorer is a handy program to keep track of all your finances on your computer. If you’re concerned about online services having access to your financial information, give this program a go.
What do you use to keep track of your finances? Let us know of your preferred programs or services in the comments!