Each new year, your excellent intentions are put to the test. You desperately want to escape from the ever-mounting pressure of your debt — and you resolve to do so. Unfortunately, the ability to stick to your resolutions eludes you.
With your resolution to save and budget better, you create a convoluted spreadsheet, including every dime you earn or spend. It’s as scary as it is complicated.
This spreadsheet means you must record every penny that passes through your hands. You have to keep every receipt. This system would make even the world’s best financial experts cringe.
But you stick to it. For about a week.
By the end of the second week, you’ve only tracked a third of your receipts, ruining the accuracy of your bottom line. You can’t remember which pair of pants you left them in, and you’ve lost two whole days worth of spending.
Now, you throw away all your best intentions, because you’re frustrated at yourself, your situation, and your hopelessly broken system.
If you had only considered the online financial tools available to help you, you could have avoided these horrible feelings and the downward spiral of financial blahs.
There are many wonderful online tools at your disposal, but I’m going to highlight three that will change the way you budget and save, as well as help you realize your intention to get out of debt.
Three Essential Online Financial Tools
Many users have complained that Mint must be connected to their bank account to do its thing, which raises concerns about security. Yet, with Mint’s 128-bit encryption system (the same system that banks use), no-transfer policy for money, No Hacker verification system, and email alert policy for large purchases, you can rest assured that your information is safe.
Once you feel comfortable using Mint, you’ll be able to harness its many powers:
- Automatic budget tracking. (No more searching for and recording receipts!)
- Automatic spending categorization. With this feature, you’ll be able to clearly see (in beautiful graphs, nonetheless) where your money is going.
- Financial goal-setting. Set a specific budget with clear goals and track your progress as the year goes along.
The mobile app syncs with the desktop program, making Mint a complete money tracking and planning tool. Establishing and executing your goals will be a breeze, and you’ll never again have to worry about recording your receipts.
Manilla is a powerhouse organization system. When you sign up for the service, you can add all of your different bills and statements, and it will keep up with your paperwork… for free. There’s no cost to you, because the billing agents must pay to use Manilla (a cost they’re gladly willing to cover, since it’s lower than mailing costs).
Manilla is more than a filing system; it’s a command center.
With a single login, you can access all of your important accounts, such as credit cards, banks, and utilities. No more passwords to keep track of. No more login names to remember. Manilla is the only one you need.
With Manilla as your filing and bill alert system, you’ll never forget to pay a bill again and will thereby eliminate late fees AND boost your credit score.
Credit Sesame provides a detailed look at your loans and debt. They monitor how you’re doing financially and suggest ways you can save on fixed expenses, like your mortgage. This program also checks banks and markets every day and uses your credit score to notify you of deals and promotions that will save you money.
As an added bonus, they’ll give you a free copy of your credit report when you sign up (which you should take a close look at each year).
With these three must-use tools, you’ll never have to create another budget spreadsheet or register another receipt again. Best of all, you won’t feel like a failure because you won’t be throwing your plan out the window. Use these tools wisely, and you’ll end the new year the way you planned: steady on the path towards achieving your financial goals!
What’s your favorite online financial tool?
Is your student loan putting a burden on your finances? Did you know chances are good that you are paying too much? Check out Credible and take a look at the current student loan rates. You can probably refinance through them here and get a better rate, lowering your money payment and improving your cash flow. It's quick and easy to give it a shot. You may be surprised by the results. Click here to get started.