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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!