Making, tracking, and sticking to a budget can be hard. There are many software programs that will make the process easier, but they often cost money, and most of them can only be accessed from the computer they happen to be installed on. Fortunately, there is another option – web-based budgeting tools that you can access from any computer with an Internet connection. So whether you’re at work, at home, at a hotel, or at a friend’s house, you can see, adjust, and update your budget information. And to make it even better, you can use many of these programs and services for free.
If you’re looking for free online budgeting tools, check out the websites listed below to see if any of them will work for you.
Mint, designed by the same people who made Quicken, can be a great help to individuals or families looking to track their spending and saving. The site is friendly and professional, and according to the company, it takes less than five minutes to get started. Once you set up the program with your information, it will keep up to date records and track your portfolio for you.
In order to have your financial information updated automatically, you’ll have to give your login credentials (username and password) for any banks or other institutions. This is an important aspect of how the software works – make sure you are okay with giving out your information before getting started. The site offers plenty of security and protection for your data, but even so there is always a risk associated with giving out your username and password for any account.
In addition to its budget software, Mint.com has a lot of information available for anyone who wants to learn more about budgeting, investing, saving, or credit cards.
SmartyPig is an online savings tool that can help you budget your money by automatically setting aside a certain amount each month for savings. A lot of people find it hard to sock money away into a savings account on a regular basis, but with SmartyPig you can set up an account with automatic contributions, and get paid interest at a pretty decent interest rate. (The current rate is 2.01%.)
SmartyPig is designed for people with a specific goal in mind, such as a new car, big screen TV, or home renovation. However, you can use it for general saving as well, and you can even have other people contribute to your account online, if you have a birthday or other gift-giving occasion coming up.
In order to set up an account, you have to specify a goal, which must be between $250 and $250,000. You also need to set up automatic monthly contributions of at least $10, but these can be stopped and you can close your account without meeting your goal.
BudgetSimple is an online budget tracker. Unlike Mint, BudgetSimple does not automatically update your income and expense transactions – but the trade-off is that you don’t have to give up any usernames or passwords. In addition to the budget-tracking software, the BudgetSimple.com site also has a new user forum where people can trade tips and tricks or ask questions.
For iPhone users, there is a BudgetSimple iPhone app you can download so that you can input your transactions when you’re away from your computer. The app will sync up with the BudgetSimple website and update your account data.