Comparison of Online Budgeting Software Tools

How are you handling your 2012 resolution to manage your money more effectively? Is your budget still a factor? Is your savings increasing while your debt is decreasing? While some people still prefer the good old fashion way to manage their money, which included hand written ledgers and paper statements, many of us are moving towards a paperless approach, keeping everything accessible online or via the cloud. Online banking is one way to help, but how about how to see your net income, achieve savings goals, and have budgets for specific categories? These money management programs have been tried and proven to help you keep your money where you need it:

Mvelopes

If you're looking for a way to budget like you usually do but want to have an electronic paper trail, you should consider checking out Mvelopes. This program gives every dollar a purpose, whether it's for your household bills or for your personal spending cash. Mvelopes focuses on not just money management, but spending management, something many people have an issue with. The software supports more than 14,000 banking institutions, from big names like Citi Bank to local credit unions. You can even see your net worth calculated for you. Mvelopes is an affordable program, offering a free trial, and several payment plans from quarterly, annually, or every two years, with a best value at $7.90 per month.

Pear Budget

If you're not interested in all of the fuss that goes with typical money management programs, Pear Budget is known for "really simple budgeting". It's great for people who are new to budgeting, and can be easier than other popular programs like Quicken and Microsoft Money. Enjoy a quick set up that's secure and straightforward. You have the option to customize categories so that they fit your needs, and don't have to worry about backing up your data, since it's done automatically for you. For a no hassle system like Pear Budget, you can try out the program for free for 30 days, and only $4.95 monthly thereafter.

You Need a Budget

You've been saying this to yourself all along, haven't you? But you may not know where to begin. You Need a Budget (YNAB) helps you build your own budget and stick to it, prompting that you can learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save money faster. No need for an Internet connection, since the software is computer based, and the reviews on Amazon speak for itself. For those who don't understand how to navigate the program right away, there are helpful and free introductory classes available online. For those who are visual learners, YNAB gives you pie charts, line graphs, color codes and categories to explain to you where your money is truly going. The software that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux costs $59.95 after a 7 day full free trial is available.

Mint

You may not have heard of the previous programs, but I'm sure you're much more familiar with this one. Mint is a free way to manage your money, with nods from ABC News, Money Magazine, and the New York Times. A version is available for Canadian users as well. Mint keeps all of your information safe with bank level security features, allowing you to sync your financial accounts into one place. That means you can get a glance of the current balance of your bank accounts, credit cards, and your overall net worth. With a web based platform and apps for your smartphone, you can always be aware of where you stand financially. Set up alerts for low balances, bill payments, and if you're going over budget. Start goals to take a trip or save for college. Mint gives you personalized recommendations, shows you where you can save money, and tells you where you spent your money in plain English instead of abbreviated notes like your bank statements. And did we mention that it's free?

And Remember...

It's never too late to start being wiser with your money. We could all use a little help, and these programs are secure and simple. Don't go another day without knowing where your money is going or allowing your finances to get out of control. Sign up for one of these money management programs today!