January 2014

Best Online Money Management Tools

New online money management tools are always being released, but that doesn’t mean that they’re better than their predecessors. The following list of online tools is the tried and true favorites of financial experts and everyday users alike. This information can help you determine which online money management helpers you should try out first.
In the era of free online budgeting tools, Mint is the apparent standout. Not only can it seamlessly sync with all of your accounts, even if you have multiple credit cards and bank accounts at different financial institutions, it can help you budget and set long-term financial goals. All of these capabilities come free of charge.
“If you're looking for a way to watch your spending and set goals, Mint.com is a great place to start,” said Wesley Fenlon from HowStuffWorks.com. “It's a free way to begin controlling your finances, and an excellent precursor to using a more complex pay-for utility like Quicken or You Need a Budget.”
Best of all, Mint is easy to use and visually intuitive. Once it imports your recent transactions, you can set a budget for a variety of categories.
“Mint even starts you off with a recommended amount based on your spending history,” states Stacy Rapacon from Kiplinger’s. “Your budget bars fill up with each transaction you make; as they approach the limits, they go from green to yellow to red.”
If you try out Mint and find that you need more accounting power to help you reach your financial goals, there are other great choices, such as Yodlee.
“For the management of multiple bank accounts and online bill paying, Yodlee.com may be the more powerful choice, while Mint.com may offer a more streamlined experience,” said Fenlon.
Fortunately, just like Mint, Yodlee is free. This means that you can try them both out and see which serves your needs best. The only way to truly find the perfect online money management tool is to try it out, which is why it is always a good idea to start with a free option so you aren’t locked in.
BankRate calculators
You need more than a budget and expense tracking to fully take control of your finances, which is where the calculators offered by BankRate.com come into play. One of the calculators offers you the ability to calculate exactly how much you owe on your credit cards, including interest, so you can more accurately plan your budget. Other calculators help take the guesswork out of understanding your car loan, mortgage and retirement fund.
To see all of the calculators, head to the website www.bankrate.com/calculators.aspx.
Your own financial institution’s online offerings
You may be surprised to find that the perfect online money management tool is offered by your brick-and-mortar financial institution. Third party banking software is able to sync with data from many institutions, “but if you use only one [financial institution], why not capitalize on the online services it offers specifically for its customers?” asks Fenlon.
When you use the tools offered by your own financial institution, you have a touchstone to help you get through any tricky situations. Knowing that there’s a branch you can go into and people you can speak with in person if you’re having trouble with your online tools can give you the confidence you need to set big financial goals and lock down your budget.
If you would like to discuss ways to manage your money online, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.