Overly simple budget tool

Skip this too simple spreadsheet budgeting tool.

If you don't have Microsoft Excel, you can skip Family Home Budget 2008, which is merely a workbook formatted to handle financial information and calculations. It offers a very generous 90-day trial period, but the trial restrictions render that extra time useless.

The spreadsheets in the workbook are well-organized, but the design is nothing to write home about. Everything is divided into columns and rows, with different budgets being represented in the tabs at the bottom of the screen. Users can manage their monthly budgets, long-term budgets, credit cards, and other information in this program. Presumably, users can manually input the data, and the spreadsheet will do all the necessary calculations to keep the numbers accurate. We say "presumably" because this trial version came to us as read-only, meaning we could not input data into the spreadsheet. While we found no information on the subject, we assume that this problem is eliminated once the software is purchased.

We find it hard to recommend a budgeting tool that is basically a file created in another program. We suggest you save your money and look for a program that stands alone and is willing to let you test its money management capabilities before buying.

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