As a result of the recession many consumers who previously viewed their personal finances through rose colored glasses are realizing they need help to better manage their money. The basic principles of responsible money management have not changed over the years. If you do not have a money management system in place, don’t worry. It is a safe bet you are not alone. In fact, you are in luck because there has never been a better time to buckle down and get control of your finances. If numbers are not your thing, you don’t have to turn to an accountant or financial advisor to help manage your money. All you have to do is go online.
The following online money management tools are gaining in popularity. They offer consumers an outlet to create a budget, track expenses, follow investments and much more.
- Mint– One of the most popular online personal finance services, Mint has over 1 million users. They provide a free service that allows users to follow bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments in one place. Once you set up your account, Mint will download, categorize, and graph all of your finances everyday. Having this information in one location makes it easier to see the “big picture” when it comes to your finances. The information provided by Mint can help users see where they are spending, how they could save more money, and offers that are available that could help you reduce your debt.
- ClearCheckbook– You probably know that banks are making money off of overdraft fees, right? Did you know they are making billions? That must mean there are a lot of people who could take advantage of a tool that helps you keep track of money you spend. Basically, ClearCheckbook is like a virtual checkbook with a lot of added features. You can create groups and accounts to help track your spending, search transactions, set up reminders, and import/export records.
- SmartyPig– We all know the importance of saving money. Knowing and doing are two different things, which is why experts agree savings should be automated. SmartyPig takes automation to a new level. Users tell SmartyPig how much money they want to save for a specific goal and the date they want to reach their goal. SmartPig then suggests a payment that will be automatically deposited into your online savings account from your current checking account each month to help you reach your goal. In addition to you saving money, SmartyPig is also a social network which allows others (parents, family members, friends) to contribute toward your goal as well.
Your options are not limited to the three websites listed here. In fact, there are dozens of online management tools that can help you get control of your money and reach your financial goals. It is important to fully research any company or program before entering personal information. Take the time to review privacy and security policies to ensure your information is safe. Now that you know what kinds of tools are available, get started today and begin your journey to financial freedom.
Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DepositAccounts.com, where you can compare rates of checking accounts from dozens of banks in one place. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of personal finance and savings accounts.