It seems that each decade brings new and innovative ways to manage your money. In the 1990s, you could use simple PC-based software to track basic income and expenses. These later evolved into reporting and analyzing powerhouses. In the 2000s, connectivity with the internet made PC-based software easy to synchronize with bank and investment websites and provided access to detailed account information right at home.
With the arrival of the 2010s, the next phase is to manage the information that already resides out on the internet, through web-based software that will provide data security, keep the records protected against loss, and allow the user access their information from virtually anywhere. Here’s a list of ten of the best web-based solutions for managing your money.
Emphasis: Balancing your checkbook
Description: ClearCheckbook provides analysis tools for evaluating and tracking your expenditures. Your bank data is imported and you can then analyze expenses by category and closely monitor your balance to avoid overdrafts. Uncleared and cleared balances are provided with alerts that can be set to any dollar amount.
Emphasis: Online shopping assistant
Description: Billeo is an easy-to-use toolbar application that tracks and records all online passwords, fill out forms, and stores the receipts by date, company, or category for easy retrieval. You can also use Billeo to manage your bill payments, or even to track online offers to maximize the savings realized online.
Emphasis: Virtual portfolio tracking
Price: $18.95/month (or free)
Description: MorningStar offers a bunch of excellent premium content to paid subscribers. They also have a great portfolio tracker tool for the investor who sits at a computer all day. Quick glances at your portfolio will alert you to buying and selling opportunities.
Note from Nickel: Google Finance also offers a nice portfolio tracker, and it’s also free. I’m also not a fan of tracking my portfolio on a minute-by-minute basis, but… To each their own. Personally, I use the Vanguard portfolio tracker for a “big picture” view of our investments.
Emphasis: Tracking shared expenses
Description: Buxfer is great for people who share expenses with roommates. Instead of guessing at fair portions of bills and tracking things in your head, the software does the math and tracks who has paid for each of their expenses.
Emphasis: Online financial management
Description: HelloWallet is a unique service in that, for every five users who sign up, an account is offered to a person who cannot afford this service. The site offers all the money management functionality necessary to manage and budget and monitor financial investments.
Emphasis: Virtual envelope budgeting
Price: $129.60/year (equivalent to $10.80/month)
Description: Mvelopes is a virtual envelope-budgeting tool. When the bills must be paid, the dollar amount in each envelope is applied to the bill electronically. In other, budgeting and bill payment are combined into one handy tool. You can also track discretionary spending in a dedicated envelope.
Emphasis: Achieve financial goals
Description: Thrive provides detailed information to bring spending in line with goals. You set your own goals and the software tracks your actual expenditures against the goals in each category and sends alerts for any anomalies. Thrive can also provides guidance for things like raising your credit score.
Emphasis: Manage cash flow and avoid surprises
Description: Moneystrands allows you to create a budget from the ground up, and then it monitors your performance. Alerts are provided automatically when the bank balance drops below a certain level. When bills must be paid, the user is alerted to the tasks that must be completed. They also have an iPhone app.
Emphasis: Customizable financial dashboard
Description: GreenSherpa allows your to pull together all of your personal financial accounts in one place. With an easy-to-view dashboard that analyzes all the information from various sources, you can see a snapshot of your overall financial picture with just a glance.
Emphasis: Complete financial management
Description: Mint can track virtually any financial activity. You can create a budget, track monthly expenses, evaluate investment performance, etc. This is by far the most well-known of all the web-based software packages. It’s so good, in fact, that Intuit bought it as a replacement for their own “Quicken Online.”
Do you track your finances online?
Even with the horror stories of website breaches and identity theft, my view is that the benefits of online personal financial management software far outweigh the risks. These services all work hard to protect your information, and some even allow anonymous signups. If you’re not already managing your money online, my advice is to test out a few of these sites and see if they meet your needs.