10 Best Free Online Budget Tools

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Need help saving, paying down debt, or just keeping tabs on your money? Don’t go it alone: There’s free help at your fingertips.

You know you need to create a spending plan. You know you need to prepare for the future. But you don’t know how.

Thankfully, good budgeting software can help you take charge of your finances – and free online budget tools are easily available. You can get help for nearly any budgetary need you have. Here are some of the best free online budget tools that can help you chart a course to financial freedom…

1. Mint.com

This is the online budget tool that started a revolution. Link your financial accounts – savings, checking, credit cards – to Mint, and your information is automatically updated as account balances change. In many cases, categories are automatically assigned to your spending. You can also track your progress toward retirement goals, as well as create a debt pay-down plan. Visual tools, including graphs and reports, clearly illustrate your situation – and help you chart a course.

2. BudgetPulse

If you’re wary of allowing an app access to your accounts, you might consider BudgetPulse. You don’t give away your account usernames and passwords, but you can still track your spending and set goals. The ability to visualize your money is available with charts and graphs. On top of that, you can create financial goals to share with your friends and family. The social aspect can keep you accountable, as well as provide an opportunity for your loved ones to contribute to your objectives via PayPal or Amazon payments.

3. Gnu Cash

Not only does Gnu Cash work on your Mac or PC, it’s also compatible with Linux. This free accounting software is based on true accounting practices, and it allows you to track investments, savings, checking, and other accounts. It’s a great way to get a comprehensive financial picture, as well help you keep track of your current progress. You can enter scheduled transactions, as well as make a number of financial transactions.

4. Buxfer

Monitor your spending and keep track of your upcoming bills with the help of Buxfer. It’s aimed at 20-somethings interested in getting their finances under control and starting out right. You can project your earnings and savings interest into the future and use that information to plan your finances. You can set short-term and long-term goals and manage group expenses. You can split up different bills, figure out who owes what, and even make payments online – taking care of IOUs with ease.

5. moneyStrands

The threads of your financial life weave together with the help of moneyStrands. This software can import your financial information from your banks and credit issuers. Create a 12-month spending plan and then use this software to keep you on track. Schedule upcoming bills and view projections of what your money should look like going forward. You can also use moneyStrands in different languages, and it comes with the ability for you to manage your finances in multiple currencies — something that’s handy for the frequent traveler, or if some of your income comes from foreign sources.

6. Moneytrackin’

Once you know where your money is going, it’s easier to spot money leaks and change behaviors. Moneytrackin’ helps you see where it all goes. It also provides help with tracking and dividing shared expenses, and creating shared budgets. Moneytrackin’ also includes helpful tools for small business accounting. If you have a home business, this software can help you keep track of relevant income and expenses. It’s a great tool that can help you manage various aspects of your finances.

7. My Spending Plan

You can put together a budget to help you better live within your means. Quickly create a plan that helps you with long-term goals, as well as with short-term goals, including special events and more. This software makes use of the envelope system to help you plan your budget. My Spending Plan also sends you emails and alerts, and it reminds you of bills that need to be paid. You can personalize your settings to see your own big picture, and it includes coupons and promotions that can help you save money and live within your means.

8. Personal Capital

For those who want to add investing to various aspects of the budget, Personal Capital is a financial dashboard allows you to see everything that’s going on in your financial life. You can track your investment portfolio and even receive objective investment advice. If you want help actually managing your investments, you can get personalized ideas – as long as you are willing to pay a 1 percent fee. However, the regular service is free, and you can manage your finances and investments  with the help of this budgeting tool.

9. BudgetSimple

If you’re looking for something straightforward and simple, BudgetSimple is it. The main point of this budgeting tool is to help you get out of debt. You track your expenses, manage your bills, and learn how to live within your means. There are no frills with BudgetSimple, but it’s one of the easiest ways to create a budget. Plus, you can view your progress with the help of charts and other visuals.

10. SavvyMoney

For those looking for a proactive approach to pay down debt and accelerate savings, SavvyMoney can help. The idea is that you start out by understanding your current situation. After assembling a picture of your current situation, you create a debt repayment plan based around what works best for you. SavvyMoney can help you stay on track, as well as keep up with your progress. You can even receive tips on accelerating your paydown.

Jeff Rose is an Illinois Certified Financial Planner who authors the blogs Good Financial Cents and Soldier of Finance

Stacy Johnson

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