Most every personal finance expert will tell you that using a budget is a key component of making your money accomplish the most for you. Many people get overwhelmed at the thought of putting in the work it takes to create and manage a budget, but in today’s day and age, budgeting has become so easy that there’s no excuse for not doing it.
You no longer need to keep a ledger or create your own fancy spreadsheet in order to have a budget. With online budgeting tools like the ones listed here, using a budget to maximize your dollars is easier than ever.
4 online budgeting tools to keep your money on track
Here’s a look at four of the most popular online budgeting systems.
1. Personal Capital
Personal Capital offers free personal finance software to help you manage your entire financial picture in one place. Personal Capital helps you to set and track financial goals, create a budget, track your net worth and more. For a fee (0.89% for assets up to $1 million, even less for higher asset amounts) Personal Capital will also provide financial advisor services for your retirement and non-retirement investments.
The Personal Capital software system allows you to have an all-at-once glance at your income and spending ‘ by category ‘ so that you can make adjustments in spending that line up with your financial goals. High-level encryption helps keep your personal information safe.
Mint is a web-based personal finance program that’s free to sign up for and use. Mint keeps track of your bank account transactions, credit card balances, investment balances and all other financial information in one streamlined place.
Like Personal Capital, Mint keeps track of your spending by category to help you see where your money is going each month. The system also alerts you of any fees you’re charged by financial institutions and of any suspected fraudulent activity. Its multi-factor authentication sign-in and multi-layered hardware and software encryption helps maximize security of your information.
Read more: One easy way to eliminate wasteful spending
Like other budgeting tools, Tiller pulls your financial information from your banks and other financial institutions and organizes it into one easy-to-use space. The information is updated every day so that you’ve always got current financial numbers at your fingertips. Tiller has a cool multiple sheets feature that allows you to create up to five different financial pictures for different purposes.
For instance, you can create a sheet with all of your financial information that you can share with your spouse, and then create another financial sheet to share with your kids that has different information, such as the financial details of their personal savings or checking accounts. Tiller costs $5 a month, however you can try it for free for the first thirty days, and students get their first year free. You can cancel your Tiller membership at any time.
4. You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget is a $50/year online budgeting tool (the first 34 days are free) that helps you “gain total control of your money.” Their four-rule system is easy to use and helps you get a handle on your money and reach your financial goals. Rule number one for the You Need a Budget system is “Give Every Dollar a Job”.This is also called using a zero sum budget. The goal is to plan where you want your money to go before you spend it so you can avoid the wasteful spending that plagues so many budgets.
Rule two is “Embrace Your True Expenses”. This part of the system helps you to organize current and upcoming expenses that need to be paid, such as car insurance, so that you’re not left scraping up cash at the last minute for those non-regular bills.
Rule three on the You Need a Budget system is “Roll with the Punches”. This part of the system helps you to adjust your budget when needed due to a mistake or overspending in one area. Rule four of the system is called “Age Your Money.” The goal of this step is to help you formulate a spending plan that will eventually lead you to being one month ahead in your finances. In other words, you’ll be paying this month’s bills with last month’s paycheck. This different approach to budgeting is just what some people need to conquer their money mishaps.
Bottom line: Each of these four systems works a little differently, but they all have one thing in common: they help you manage your money in a way that has the capability to improve your financial situation.