Elegant and helpful Adobe AIR based financial planner
Any software that's based on Adobe AIR is a big hit with me because I think the platform lends itself to creating elegant interfaces.
That's especially true with You Need A Budget (YNAB) which is one of the slickest and most user friendly budget managers I've used. Installation is a little lengthy even if you have Adobe AIR installed although if you don't, YNAB offers to do it for you. You'll also need to enter your system password to install it.
When opened for the first time, YNAB asks if you'd like to associate your downloaded bank statements with it or allow another application - such as Moneydance - to take care of that. When you enter the main screen, YNAB acts as a kind of financial adviser, suggesting ways in which you should be managing your money. You can of course, just ignore all this and open an account.
However, You Need A Budget is named as such because its all about budgeting - something it does very well indeed and if you're having financial problems, you're advised to listen to what it says. YNAB uses what it calls the 4 rules of cash flow - Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, Give Every Dollar A Job, Save For A Rainy Day and Roll With The Punches. Each section gives you advise and tips on how to organize your accounts effectively.
YNAB allows you to spread spending across different categories so if you need more money for essentials one month rather than entertainment you can do so and it will even things out for you. You can also carry-over overspending (or underspending of course) from month to month.
The main drawback of YNAB is that it doesn't integrate with online banking and the Adobe AIR interface, while looking great, can sometimes be slow and unresponsive. Some users report that this problem worsens over time as your accounts grow although the developers are working hard to solve it.
YNAB employs an effective 4 rule budgeting approach with an elegant interface to create one of the most helpful budgeting applications out there.