Master your money with cutting-edge personal finance technology.
In honor of the newest member of the Quick and Dirty Tips team, Tech Talker, I wanted to share some of my favorite personal finance web tools.
Technology can make managing your money less time consuming and a lot more fun. Just the thought of living without these tools turns my stomach into knots!
Here are my 5 favorites, plus the scoop on a few more top-rated applications that can help you and your family become masters at managing your money:
Tool #1: Online Bill Pay
When someone asks me the number one way to make paying bills easy, my immediate response is online bill pay. I love it because it allows you to make payments to any company or person without having to write checks, buy stamps, or address envelopes ever again. That saves a huge amount of time and money when compared to paying bills the old-fashioned way. If your bank or credit union has online banking, they probably also offer free bill pay.
Each week I log on to my bank’s bill pay center to send payments to companies or individuals. You can get e-bills, which are electronic versions of paper bills, delivered directly to your bill pay center. I enter the amount and date I want to pay to each biller, then the bill pay service takes care of the rest.
If the company I need to pay is set up to receive funds electronically, my money gets wired to them. If not, the bill pay service cuts and mails a paper check in plenty of time for it to arrive by the due date I want—and yes, that’s free too. Read more in How to Save Money Using Online Bill Pay.
Tool #2: Quicken Financial Software
My second favorite money management tool is desktop software from Intuit. I started out with their personal finance program for individuals, which is Quicken. Later, I upgraded to QuickBooks, their small business program, and I use it for my personal and business accounts. When you need a robust solution for your finances that’s saved on your computer, desktop software is the way to go.
Intuit products are connected to almost every U.S. institution that offers online transactions, like banks, credit cards, and brokerage accounts. Each week I import all my account transactions into QuickBooks, categorize them, and verify debit and credit card charges against my receipts. What used to take me hours now takes minutes!