Help to Management your money better?
Sometimes it seems like some people we know can squeeze a dollar so much better than we can and we wonder how they do it. The answer is found in having good strong money management skills which thankfully can be learned and enhanced through the use of an online money management tool. Anyone that gets to the end of each month and wonders where all the money went, or worse they run out of money before they run out of month, should consider one of the money management tools listed below. Although they are listed in the order of popularity based on Alexa traffic ratings, the key is using the one that works best for someone’s particular situation.
Global Alexa Rating: 3,181
Mint is the most commonly used money management tool currently in existence in part because of its ease of use. They currently have more than 10 million users that are all protected with 128-bit SSL encryption. The system allows you to see all your accounts in one place including balances and transactions. It pulls the information automatically from all your accounts and automatically categorizes all the information. Because they get their revenues from companies that provide credit cards, home loans and insurance (you’ll get recommendations along the way that are personalized to your spending habits) there is never any cost to the consumer. Watch the overview video on the website to learn more. Use the site to do easy budgeting, provide timely alerts including bill reminders, track investments, find savings potential and even access your information anywhere, anytime using a mobile app.
Global Alexa Rating: 31,662
YNAB uses Cloud Sync so users can keep up with their budget anywhere whether at home on a desktop or laptop, or with an iPhone or Android device. Being able to record purchases right when they are made means never getting behind staring at an inbox of receipts that one never seems to have time to process. The cost for this software is currently $60 for YNAB 4 and $47 for YNAB Works Home Budgeting Guide or get both for $97 saving $10. Users can begin with YNAB4 through a 34 day full-featured demo download or purchase right away. There is a version for PC (XP, Vista, 7 and 8) and Max OS X (Snow Leopard 10.6 through Mountain Lion 10.8) as well as iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire.
Global Alexa Rating: 53,279
Yodlee for consumers is similar to Mint in the way it works – it connects all your accounts into one application. It does allow for a bit more manual tweaking than Mint does making it more popular with people that like that extra level of control. It is not as graphic oriented as Mint which many users prefer. The website has a number of videos to show how MoneyCenter works – an intro, dashboard, link an account, expense analysis, manage categories, spending by categories, monthly budget, save for a goal, manage alerts, net worth, portfolio manager and finapp store. Also on the website is the Yodlee MoneyCenter Blog and Knowledge Center. Users can access MoneyCenter online or through an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android app. MoneyCenter is used by more than 40 million consumers.
Global Alexa Rating: 76,426
Just as Mint and MoneyCenter this program also automatically downloads and categorizes expenses from a user’s accounts so that all accounts can be viewed in one place. An added feature can be useful for melded living arrangements such as roommates or extended family – it can be used to track shared expenses and then clearly show who owes what to make it all even. Another feature that is different is that users can login with Google, Facebook or Yahoo and can even join with either Google or Facebook. Sign up for free or try the live demo. They employ a 256-bit high-grade encryption to protect data and use Verisign and Symantec to protect from hackers.
Global Alexa Rating: 97,465
ClearCheckbook is a tool that replaces keeping a checkbook register by hand allowing users to balance their checkbook online, track their spending, manage their money and more. The basic plan is free to use but there is a premium membership available as well that can be purchased in 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or 12 month intervals. A full list of the premium features is listed on the website. The benefit of this program is that the checkbook is in the cloud and can be accessed from multiple devices making it easy to log checks, ATM transactions and more as they happen. This syncing ability makes it great for families that all use one bank account. This software is not nearly as sophisticated as some of the others on this list but may be perfect for someone that just wants to get a handle on their checkbook.
Global Alexa Rating: 97,710
Way before the Internet or even computers came into existence the way many families managed their finances was through the use of an envelope system. They brought home their pay and divided it up into separate envelopes each labeled with an expense item – groceries, entertainment, utilities, etc. When an envelope became empty then nothing more was spent on that item. Mvelopes takes that simple method and builds it into a useful online home budgeting system. Since families these days usually leave their money in the bank and spend it using checks and debit cards it is easy to accidentally spend more than an expense item’s “envelope” so this method recreates that by showing the user exactly what is available even though the funds are all together in one bank account not in separate envelopes. The website includes screen shots and a quick tour video.
Global Alexa Rating: 106,555
Ready For Zero is not just about watching where your money goes but is designed to aid users in paying off debt faster and building wealth sooner by virtue of a free personalized plan. Users track all their finances in a single place so they can see exactly where they stand. The base plan is free and includes reminders and mobile access. There is an option to upgrade to Plus which includes additional features such as the ability to monitor one’s VantageScore 3 credit score and set up automatic payments. The Plus plan costs just $7 per month or $75 for a year. They have helped thousands of people pay down millions on their own and there are plenty of success stories on their website.
Global Alexa Rating: 143,374
MoneyStrands began in 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco. Although it has been an automatic account aggregation capable program previously they currently are not providing this feature as they are making changes. This means users must do account aggregation manually in the meantime. Although this is a chink in their armor that might make you look elsewhere, consider looking at the setup to see if it might still be a viable option. They have a nice looking upcoming bills calendar that users might find useful. They also support 44 world currencies which is great for those that hold non-US bank accounts. They also have a Spanish language option.
Global Alexa Rating: 223,456
This program has a few extra features that might make this the perfect choice for some users. For one thing the tool works in every country so no matter where you live you can use it by personalizing your profile with your preferred currency and time zone. Another unique feature is the ability to set a personal savings goal in which you share your goal with family and friends and ask them if they would be able to make a gift donation to help. Think of it like a gift registry – use it for those important things like college, a wedding or a new addition to the family. This program does not require you to sync with bank accounts if you would rather not do that yet still use a number of great features useful for budgeting and managing personal finances. The website is set up with a number of FAQ’s designed to help you manage the various features. It is completely free to use Budgetpulse.
Global Alexa Rating: 354,307
Founded in 2003 as just a budgeting tool they have added many features since then. This program allows you to manually enter your transactions or batch download them from your bank. Users can track recurring bills as well as daily expenditures. Receipts can also be scanned which is helpful for those items that are needed to complete that dreaded tax return each year. Besides being able to organize finances there is also the ability to organize other aspects of one’s life – keep track of shopping lists, tasks, recipes, contacts, schedules and much more. There is also a business management section for those that operate a small business that includes producing income statements, balance sheets and more. The custom calendar does more than note income and expenses – use it to note anything you want a reminder of and set it to send a reminder to your mobile phone or email.
It is clear to see that money management can be as streamlined or as manually handled as one desires by simply choosing the tool with the capabilities needed. Choose one that does much of the work automatically or for those that are uncomfortable with syncing with financial institutions there are options that leave all entries up to the user instead. The important thing is to use something – anything – to get a handle on finances so that everyone can look at you and wonder how you squeeze out those nice vacations!