Review: Manage your personal finances with fast, free, and easy HomeBank | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Manage your personal finances with fast, free, and easy HomeBank

Track your spending and more with help from this personal accounting freeware.

HomeBank promises "free, easy personal accounting for everyone." It not only manages your accounts but also helps you analyze your finances. Customizable filters and colorful graphs help HomeBank deliver on the "easy," and more than 50 interface languages cover "everyone," as long as they're using Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8. We tried HomeBank in 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.

HomeBank's download is suitable for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and its installer automatically detected our 64-bit system and installed the correct version. HomeBank's user interface is well designed and even attractive in a businesslike way, with well-rendered features and a layout and theme that will blend in well with many productivity suites (you can change the look, too!). A Welcome splash screen offered choices such as the HomeBank Manual, Configure Preferences, and Create a New File. We opened the browser-based Manual, which has an indexed Lexicon of terms. That's something we don't often see in any software, let alone accounting freeware. You can import files from Quicken, Money, and other apps, and HomeBank's import assistant dialog will hold your hand while you do it. We opened the Manage Accounts tool and created an account, manually, too. HomeBank's account wizard even lets you enter a number range for your paper checks (or "cheques").

HomeBank's layout breaks down your finances into three intuitive parts: Your Accounts, Where Your Money Goes, and Scheduled Transactions. A color-coded pie chart shows at a glance "where your money goes," which is the first step in getting control of your finances. You'll need some data and some transaction records to take advantage of HomeBank's analysis features and other extras. But HomeBank makes it easy to track your online purchases, monthly bills, and other expenses, so you can start saving right away. For example, the Vehicle Cost Report considers fuel cost and consumption, not just car payments and insurance. It adds up! But that's the point: With help from HomeBank, your finances can add up and balance out, too.

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