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Dollars and Cyber-Sense: Tools to Help You Track Your Personal Finances Online

Do you look at your bank account and just get overwhelmed? The internet has changed countless things about the way people live, and it can provide you with conveniences you never knew you needed. One important skill that you can improve online is money management. Gone are the days of balancing your checkbook or calling an 800 number to get your balance – these days, virtually all the information about your personal finances is available with a couple of  clicks. And getting help with these finances can be just as easy. Whether you are looking to track your spending, learn to budget, or improve your credit rating, there are plenty of secure and easy tools online to help you get smarter about your cash.

Online Financial Software

1. Mint

Available both online and in mobile app form, Mint is a hugely popular money-managing tool that can help you create a budget tailored to your personal needs. Mint organizes your expenses, allows you to set financial goals, and sends you alerts reminding you to pay your bills. In today’s age, where every dollar counts, many people rely on Mint to do the hard work of figuring out where their money is really going.

2. SmartyPig

personal finances onlineAre you trying to save up for something big? SmartyPig is an online piggy bank that helps you create financial goals and a plan to reach them. Once you identify what you’re saving for – a down payment on a house, a vacation, or a large purchase – you can promote on social media to get your friends to donate to the cause. It’s also a fun tool if you’re trying to teach your kids the importance of saving money, and you can do it together.

3. Pocketsmith

The unique approach that Pocketsmith takes to budgeting is based around its user-friendly calendar. That way, it’s all about planning, whether for the day, the month, or the years leading to your retirement. It categorizes your transactions and attempts to make money management a part of your daily life. You can also use it in conjunction with Mint by importing your Mint data directly to your Pocketsmith calendar.

4. Credit Sesame

Geared towards understanding credit and debt, Credit Sesame can provide you with a free credit report and personalized advice on how to improve your score. Their high-tech analytics engine can help you find alternative loans that will save you money, as well as make recommendations on where to go for the best mortgage and auto loans and which credit card offers you should accept. Credit Sesame also partners with Mint – it’s in charge of the home loans feature.

5. Grocery Gadgets

Grocery Gadgets has both an online app and a web portal designed to help you save money when you shop for groceries by taking inventory of what you have in your kitchen and helping you create a virtual grocery list. You can also browse for coupons available at your local store, and you can send all the information from your home computer to your phone so it’s easy to access the items you need. You also have the option to upload recipes to the portal from various places and add the ingredients to your list automatically.

6. Credit Union Software

These days, consumers are choosing credit unions over big banks by the millions for lower fees, better service, and more honest practices. Many credit unions also offer personal finance software or the ability to sync directly with Mint or other programs. Handling your money management through the institution where you have your accounts affords customers a lot of security and convenience, so if you’re banking with a credit union, you might want to explore what they have to offer online.

Depending on the internet for access to your personal finance information can be tricky if you lose connection, so you want to make sure you look into satellite internet services and a dependable mobile phone before you rely on any software or app to get you through your daily spending necessities. But for many people, the internet offers tools to help you manage your money a lot easier than your parents did. Getting a savings account, budgeting, and mastering your credit – all these things are becoming even more essential in today’s economic environment. Money management is one of the most valuable skills to acquire in life, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra help along the way.

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Amy Nielson is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.