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With the economy teetering, wise money management is more important than ever. Some people though (like me) are just not financially minded. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools on the internet that can help.

These five free services are some of the best I’ve found.

Mint

Mint is one of the most popular money management tools on the web, and for good reason. Mint automatically syncs all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments, and then gives you detailed charts and reports on where your money is going.

It also allows you to set budgets for yourself, alerting you via email or mobile when you go over your limits.

Karl did a review of Mint here Save Money and Track Your Finances with Mint Save Money and Track Your Finances with Mint Read More .

online money manager

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Rudder

Rudder is similar to Mint in that it syncs your accounts and keeps your balances updated in a central location. It’s different though, because it not only tells you how much money you have, but it also forecasts how much you can actually spend.

It does this by calculating what you will spend on bills and other regular expenses, and then giving you what’s left over. Rudder also gives you more control over your user experience with a draggable widget interface.

money management software

ClearCheckbook

While expense tracking tools like Mint and Rudder are useful for seeing where your money is going, you also should keep track of your money as you spend it. After all, checks sometimes take a couple of business days to clear, as do some credit card transactions. Even up to the minute bank balances can be deceiving if you haven’t factored that in.

ClearCheckbook helps you balance your virtual or real checkbook by keeping track of your account balances as you spend your money. This keeps you from doing something dumb, like overdrawing your account.

clearcheckbook

SmartyPig

Americans are not known for saving their money, but saving is an important part of wise financial management. SmartyPig makes saving fun and easy – even social. The concept is simple: motivate yourself by setting a savings goal; then, set a deadline for reaching it.

SmartyPig will do the rest, automatically withdrawing payments from your checking account every month. If you have generous friends or a rich uncle, you can share your savings goal. Friends and family can then contribute to help you reach it. Oh, and don’t worry: SmartyPig works with a real, FDIC insured bank, so your money will be safe.

CreditKarma

CreditKarma

Have you ever wondered what your credit score looks like, but you aren’t sure how to find out? Try CreditKarma. CreditKarma is a free site that lets you check your credit score easily, and as often as you want.

It tracks the changes to your score graphically, so you can see if your credit is getting better or worse. CreditKarma, like Mint, makes money by offering you deals from credit card companies and other institutions.

So what online apps do you use to track and control your money? One of these four or a totally different one? Let us know in the comments!

  1. bill boe
    January 22, 2009 at 12:21 am

    what about manageME.
    I have also bookmarked its latest upcoming version manageme7.com/

  2. Donny Kurnia
    November 5, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Buxfer (buxfer.com/) is another good site to manage your money. I have switched from clearcheckbook to Buxfer because it's superb feature.

  3. Alex
    November 4, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I tend to do more business oriented expense tracking and for that I like xpenser.com a lot. Allows me to submit expenses with email, SMS, iphone, twitter, IM, and a couple of other interfaces I'm forgetting.

  4. Adam
    November 2, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Hi,

    great article and nice software. Is there anything similiar that I could use outside US? Particular in Czech Republic. Europe can be enought :)

    Thanks for whole site.

    Adam

  5. Leisureguy
    November 2, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Although not an on-line app, the (free, downloadable) Excel Workbook lulu.com/content/1581272 Within Your Means is a good (and interactive) way to determine what your monthly budget will be, given your current take-home and your current obligations (including "implicit spending," explained in the document). Once you've determined a realistic budget, you can use the on-line tools to track your spending.

  6. Jim
    November 1, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I think this is a good article, giving a good run down on everything. I agree with Michael... It would be interesting to understand how they deal with personal information and how they are regulated...

    But... cool tools!

  7. Michael
    November 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    and ... Mint requires a US postcode/zipcode so I was prevented from signing up anyway ... as I don't live in the US.

  8. Michael
    November 1, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I'm so tempted to try these online money sites - however listening to recent comments by Leo Laporte about his reluctance to provide so much personal information to a financial website - regardless of what their privacy statement says - rings true with me. The example he was talking about was Mint. Am I being too paranoid?

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