Online Money Management Tools
As a techie and former software developer I love software and in particular money management software, including personal budgeting software. I’ve expressed my extreme fondness for You Need a Budget in the past as my favorite personal budgeting software package. I thought I’d take some time in this article to highlight my favorite online money management tools. Contrary to what many say, I find using both online money software and personal budgeting software to be very complimentary. I use You Need a Budget to manage my budget and daily expenses, but I also use Mint.com as well.
If you’ve been searching for which online money management tools to use, look no further. Here are my top picks for online money management tools:
Mvelopes describes themselves as budgeting made simple. I tried Mvelopes a long time back, and found it to be a decent online package. Mvelopes uses the traditional envelope method of budgeting and tracking your money. Mvelopes allows you to track all of your spending in one place and additionally downloads all of your transactions to a single place. Unlike some online packages, it provides integrated online bill pay as well. One of the slick features is it’s ability to track net-worth by including IRAs, 401(k), stocks, mutual funds, and even mortgage and auto loans.
Mvelopes is a paid package (about $13.00 per month), but offers a 30-day free (no obligation) trial.
The leader in desktop personal finance software has finally gone online and with a bang. Quicken online is targeted an the non-personal finance savoy person. It’s focused on tracking your income and expenses and helping you live within your means. It’s even smart enough to not only tell you your bank balance, but your accounts “real” balance. Quicken online doesn’t yet match up the features available from it’s older desktop sibling, in particular with tracking investments. But if you’re looking for a high quality and free solution for tracking your finances outside of investing, Quicken online looks to be the ticket.
I personally haven’t used Quicken online just yet, but it’s on my list. When I do, I’ll write up a full review.
NeoBudget is an online budget system that uses the envelope method to help you track your spending habits and stick to a budget. Neobudget provides a snapshot view that allows you to see all of your envelopes at one time, allows you to import transactions from your bank, set goals, and even provides a debt repayment worksheet.
Neobudget is a very straight forward and powerful tool for managing your finances using the envelope method. I found it very easy to set-up and use. The interface is very well done and intuitive.
NeoBudget offers a 7-day free trial and then costs only $2.50 per month. This is very reasonable price for the funtionality you receive.
I originally became familiar with PearBudget from Paid Twice who writes at I’ve Paid Twice for this Already. She was using their free spreadsheet to manage and track her budget. Since then, PearBudget has gone online. PearBudget describes themselves as “Really simple budgeting”, and that it is.
When you first login, it walks you through an easy to follow “wizard” that takes you step by step through getting set-up and started. PearBudget allows you to define your own budget categories, keeps track of your regular spending, uses the classic envelope style of budgeting, and understandable. If you want a down to earth and focused online solution for budgeting your finances, PearBudget just might be what you’ve been looking for.
PearBudget offers a 30-day free trial. After that, the cost is $3.00 per month.
I have to say that Wesebe is one of the most interesting of the bunch. Wesebe not only serves as an online money management tool, but provides social networking aspects as well. Wesebe lets you manage your money and seek the advice and input from Wesebe’s thousands of other users. Have a question about saving, debt, or budgeting? First you would head here to Gather Little by Little :-), then you can login over as Wesebe to seek out input and ask questions of the Wesebe community.
Wesebe is very similar to the other products here, but with a couple of unique features. Based on your purchases, Wesebe will provide savings and spending tips. Wesebe will additionally allow you to set and track your financial goals, which is a nice feature.
The best feature? It’s free, so head over and give it a try.
Last, but certainly not least is my personal favorite: Mint.com. Mint was really the very first online money management tool I used. The choice was really pretty easy, it’s free and had a really slick look and feel to it. I used it a great deal at first, then stopped as at the time you couldn’t define your own budget categories. Well, that’s been fixed. Not only does Mint.com have a great default list, you can now define your own categories as well.
What I really like about Mint beyond it’s shiny interface is the quick set-up and automated transaction retrieval (i.e. no data entry!). I said Mint is shiny, and what I mean by that is that the interface is really nice and easy to use. Mint also very visual, which I prefer. When using Mint, you don’t just get a screen full of numbers, but instead meaningful graphs that make it easy to see how your money is doing. Mint also sends you email alerts for low account balances, and when you’ve exceeded your budget.
Do I sound a bit partial? Yes, probably so. While all of these packages are great, each with it’s own set of shining features, I just find Mint to be exactly what I need. On, did I mention it’s free??
Some of the online money management tools I’ve mentioned above require you to enter your secure IDs and passwords from your banks and financial institutions. This is a huge showstopper for some people. Each of the companies that use this information maintain strict security and use the latest levels of encryption to protect your data. I’ve always leaned on the trust side of things, but I did want to make it clear that some of them will ask you for your information. Please make the choice you are comfortable with.
Readers? How about you? What’s are your favorite online money management tools? Did I miss one you like? Add a comment and share it with us…don’t forget to tell us why. Did I list one you don’t like? Would love to hear your thoughts on that as well.
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