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Manage your budget with Personal Budget VP

Keep track of income and expenses with this bare-bones budget tool.

There are plenty of tools available for managing your budget, from the old-fashioned envelope method to Web sites that automatically import and categorize your bank transactions. Personal Budget VP falls somewhere in the middle between these two options; it lets you keep track of your budget electronically, but it requires lots of manual data entry.

Personal Budget VP's interface isn't particularly impressive, but it's easy enough to navigate. You first specify the currency you want to use and then identify income sources. Setting up the actual budget is simply a process of creating a new expense plan and then entering all of the desired expenses. Recording your monthly expenditures is a time-consuming process that involves manually entering each expense, but we liked the fact that the program shows how much budgeted money is left in each category. Personal Budget VP also has tools for managing savings accounts ("depositories"), loans you've made to others ("lends"), and debts. Although the program does have a tutorial video available online, there's no Help file, which would have been useful. Overall, we think that Personal Budget VP works well enough for what it is, but we're not sure why anyone would choose it over a program that can at least import bank transactions from OFX or QIF files. Personal Budget VP works, but as personal finance tools go, it's pretty light on features, and there are many other free programs available that do more.

Personal Budget VP installs politely but leaves a Start menu icon behind upon removal.

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