For many, budgeting is something you do when you want to know how much fun you can (or cannot) afford. Second only to “lose weight”, “stay organized” and “spend less/save more” are the most popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans (according to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology).
Here are our favorite online tools to help you organize your finances and save more:
Have you ever been a victim of a bogus or grey charges on your credit or debit card account? BillGuard is a “set it and forget it” service that monitors your purchases (for free) and notifies you only if a charge is flagged as fraudulent or possibly erroneous. BillGuard.com currently boasts that they’ve saved over a total of $1 million in grey charges for their customers.
One of the best places to receive an overall financial education. LearnVest gives you access to a personal financial planner to better manage your assets and achieve your dreams and goals. Use their extensive Knowledge Center that caters to the beginner to intermediate planner. Sign up for their Bootcamp email programs and get ready for a heap of knowledge. Programs focus on everything from planning for a baby to saving for retirement.
Enjoy games? Then you’ll love Payoff.com. These guys have turned setting financial goals (such as saving for a trip or paying off a credit card) into a game, and actually made the process of reaching them fun. Earn badges and “sur-prizes” along the way. As you start your journey toward bettering your finances, Payoff will offer handpicked tools and blog posts to help you succeed.
This service focuses on getting you out of debt. Enter your credit card account or loans, and learn how much time it will take to pay off and help you determine your monthly payment goals. Reduce what you owe and get advice along the way. Ready for Zero will also send you timely reminders to make payments.
Probably one of the best known free personal finance tracking tools, Mint allows you to track and monitor everything from bank to credit card accounts, car to school loans. Create goals and set up budgets for every area of your spending, from paying utilities to entertainment. The Mint blog also functions as a knowledge center for those of us just getting started on tracking our finances.
BreadVault offers a savings tool for the whole family, teaching your children that there’s no such thing as a “money tree.” Learn about investing, giving to charity, tracking finances and saving as a family. Other features include shopping and bookmarking items you’d like to purchase (and seeing how they stack up against current goals), as well as a mobile app barcode scanner that saves purchase information to your BreadVault account.
Ever wanted a digital online piggy bank? SmartyPig is an FDIC-insured savings account. In four years they’ve helped people reach over $3 billion in savings goals. SmartyPig account holders can use Twitter and Facebook to have friends and family members contribute to their goal, whether it’s a purchase or a down payment on a house.
If you want a “no bull” approach to personal finance and entrepreneurship, then Ramit Sethi is your guy. The New York Times Bestselling author provides you with an arsenal of information, from guidance on how to negotiate your bills or salary to how to start your own business. Download the free content on his site, check out his book, or visit the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog and receive newsletters to improve in your life and career.
Have any other personal finance sites that you’d like to share? Please tell me about them in the comments section.