Managing money in today's world is much different than the days when cookie jars and shoe-boxes served as savings accounts. Just as the options for saving, investing and spending have increased over time, so have the methods which we use to manage and track our finances. Although several tried and true methods are still in use today, many consumers are turning to money management software to help keep their accounts organized.
How to Choose Money Management Software
Each option available today provides the user with a variety of ways to streamline their personal finances. Bank accounts can be linked to retirement accounts with options to import data from any number of sources. Where one online management tool focuses on tracking spending and finding ways to save money, another might allow you to view your stock portfolio. Each person must compare several money management tools to better understand which features best match your personal preferences.
Before you begin taking advantage of all technology has to offer, you may want to sit down and outline your own short, mid and long term financial goals. Examine your current financial situation to determine what steps you must take next to move forward toward your goals. When you compare the tools available, look for features which match your personal strategies. Fortunately with so many from which to choose, finding the perfect match is fairly easy.
While there are many benefits to new methods of money management, experts suggest keeping your old methods during the transition. This will ensure important data is not lost in the process as well as provide a backup until you are comfortable using the new method. There is no right or wrong way to manage your money if the end result is financial stability and independence.
Money Management Software Options
There are numerous websites providing tools for personal finance management. Some of your options allow you to work directly from the website without installing or downloading any additional software, while others allow you to download and install a program directly to your computer. Deciding which option is right for your family will depend largely on your own personal preferences as well as individual goals. The following websites are popular options; each providing features and tools specific to a certain style of money management.
With over 4 million users, Mint.com is the largest and one of the more popular online money management tools available. Mint.com users pay no fees to use this secure site which gathers all of your financial information in one place. In addition to the online version, Mint.com also offers mobile apps so users can access their information on the go from smartphones. A virtual one-stop-shop where users can track spending, view checking and savings account balances, as well as, investment brokerage accounts.
Quicken is one of the first personal finance management tools available. Although the free online edition has been merged with Mint.com, Quicken offers users several premium (paid) editions from which to choose. These editions can be downloaded and installed to your computer, allow you to choose the best version to meet your needs. From balancing your checkbook to managing a home business or rental property, Quicken allows users to customize their money management tools to help each person reach their individual financial goals.
No need to download or install any software with this free option: BudgetPulse.com not only provides a comprehensive budgeting tool to help manage household expenses, but also provides an interactive forum where information can be shared and questions can be asked and answered by other users and the BudgetPulse team. Easy to use, this online money management tool can help individuals and families set up a budget, manage spending and track the progression of savings goals.
Before using any online tools to manage your finances, you must first learn how to safely navigate the Internet. Security measures must be used to ensure your personal information remains private. Failure to learn and practice secure methods of managing your money online can result in identity theft and credit card fraud. This is the also the case if you decide to use mobile banking or apps to track and manage your finances.
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance Blog, which covers a wide range of personal finance and investing topics, with features that include reviews, comparison guides, and Q&A sections.