Now is the time for all good cheapskates to come to the aid of their budgets. An online budget plan could make it less of a battle, but choose your weapon wisely to fit your individual needs. Here are three suggestions:
Mint.com. An oldie but goodie, this award-winning free service has kept up with technology and offers mobile apps so users can track their money on the go. Mint.com connects to your financial institutions, including investment companies and credit card companies, to give you up-to-date information. The company claims bank-level encryption and is a read-only system. Connection to your accounts allows downloading of statements and transactions, but no actual movement of funds. It’s easy to navigate and understand – and even the mobile phone apps are free.
BudgetSimple.com. I have used this planner in the past. It is an easy, straightforward system: You name your categories, plug the numbers into the appropriate places and pay attention to the totals that are automatically calculated. You have the option of upgrading to BudgetSimplePlus (which includes the iPhone app) for about $30 per year, or try out the app for 30 days free after signing.
BudgetPulse.com. The site offers a tutorial that you can view before signing up for the free service to determine whether the plan is right for you. The plan allows you to change currency type, add accounts, set target budgets, track spending and analyze data in chart form. BudgetPulse.com, like Mint.com, is a read-only service that allows you to track and organize your finances. You cannot move money to and from accounts – and neither can anyone else.
Remember, you are the master of your finances. Budgeting tools simply make it easier for you to track your spending and saving over the course of a day, month or year. Take charge of your money — and make it work for you!