Staying out of the red isn't just about spending less than you earn, though that's a good principle to start from.

To keep on the right side of an overdraft you need a grasp of what you've spent recently, a plan for what you intend to spend in the near future and a watchful eye to make sure that errors and fraud aren't siphoning off cash.

That's exactly the sort of job that your Mac can help with and there's a wide range of software available to do this. We've chosen a selection of six, each of which brings a slightly different emphasis to the financial task.

Our prime focus is on personal finances – managing your own or your family's income and outgoings. Proper business accounts require an entirely different approach that's outside the remit here. However, there is one exception.

These days, more people than ever are working on a freelance basis or run small sole-trader businesses. If the operation is small enough, then personal finance software may be sufficient to help with this, and we'll point out any appropriate applications.

Since we're dealing with money, or perhaps a lack of it, good value software is important. The apps on test here include two that are free, while even the most expensive is a reasonable $50 (about £33 at the time of going to press).

Managing finances on a Mac requires some discipline, but it definitely beats doing sums on the back of an envelope.

The apps

FinanceToGo $50 (£33)
LyricApps iCompta £Free
Modeless Software Liquid Ledger $49.99 (£33)
Jumsoft Money $39 (£26)
NoThirst Software MoneyWell £34.14
Stash £Free