In these austere times, every last penny, cent or fen counts. As households struggle to make ends meet, knowing where your money’s going is an essential part of staying in control of your finances. To that end, your computer is an invaluable tool, and you’ll find plenty of financial tools vying for your attention.

The problem is, many of these tools cost money, which seems counter-productive during this tough period. Thankfully, there are some free solutions out there, and one of the best things about HomeBank is that it gets the blend between functionality and user-friendliness to perfection. The average household doesn’t need a complicated set of planning and budgeting tools, you just want to see where your money’s going.

HomeBank delivers this in spades. It supports an unlimited number of accounts, allowing you to track current accounts, savings, liabilities and assets. Data entry is relatively straightforward, and the program supports templates and scheduled payments for frequently recurring transactions such as standing orders and cash withdrawals. Transfers between accounts are simple too, so however your income and expenditure stack up, HomeBank can stay on top of it.

There are also a number of reporting and budgeting tools too, including various charting and graphing options – nothing too fancy, but easy to grasp and packed with enough capabilities to allow you to track your accounts whichever way you choose. If the program has one weakness it’s a lack of a decent reconciliation feature – reconciling your account allows you to match up your HomeBank file with cleared transactions in your actual accounts, but it’s very basic and not that helpful.

On the whole, however, HomeBank is a very capable personal finance manager for the struggling household. You’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save just by knowing how much you’ve spent – and in these hard times, that’s priceless.

The Windows version of HomeBank is a native build, and includes an option for installing the Portable Edition if required. Mac users will need to install MacPorts, while Linux users will find instructions for downloading HomeBank through their distribution at the download link above.

Version 5.1.7  changes: (full changelog)

 * new   : added an icon for closed accounts
 * new   : rewritten partially the charts and removed the treeview for legend
 * new   : chart line have now a vertical line on active item
 * new   : chart now display the 0 scale text
 * new   : rewritten the dateentry widget to use a popover
 * new   : reports enable to copy to clipboard in addition to export as CSV
 * change: chart bar/line now span automatically
 * change: chart donut hole do not trigger overlay anymore
 * change: preferences, txn column list removed, as there is a now a context menu
 * change: top spending is now display top 10 items
 * change: fixer.io is now used to get currencies exchange rate (replace yahoo)
 * change: changes and new entries into the help menu
 * wish  : #1741339 transaction quicksearch into amounts
 * wish  : #1709374 enable to export detail list from reports
 * wish  : #1697241 allow custom currencies for cryptocurrency and discontinued
 * wish  : #1674018 usability and UX improvements for the reports dialog's toolbars
 * wish  : #1661986 separate view of out of budget categories in budget report
 * wish  : #1656589 add highlighting on legend text for report graph
 * wish  : #300380 beta: add pdf export for transaction (in testing menu)
 * bugfix: chart x-scale labels were sometime overriding each others
 * bugfix: balance report: overdrawn was not displayed if the threshold was 0
 * bugfix: balance report: the amount scale was faulty offset to left at first draw
 * bugfix: budget report: chart bar was not showing over state
 * bugfix: report: fixed a bad empty detail list problem
 * bugfix: fixed some minor memory leak
 * bugfix: #1734449 date range in Trend Time Report
 * bugfix: #1734210 date/calendar popup registers keyboard bindings (Gnome asks)
 * bugfix: #1730527 currencies update fail due to yahoo discontinued service
 * bugfix: #1721980 group internal xfer when sort by payee
 * bugfix: #1720377 title bar close do not backup a new file
 * bugfix: #1688744 euro minor converts Euro to Euro wrong

Verdict

If you’re looking for a simple, unfussy tool to help you gain control over your personal finances, HomeBank is a great choice.