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The software aggregates your online data, so you can see up-to-date balances for all your bank, credit card, and investment accounts in one place. Quicken and QuickBooks also make it simple to create and track a personalized budget and to build customized reports that come in really handy at tax time.
Quicken is loaded with features that make its entry-level price of $50 a bargain, in my opinion. QuickBooks costs over $200, but it comes with advanced accounting features that let you easily manage business functions like invoicing, payroll, and inventory.
Tool #3: Mint.com
If you’d rather manage your money in the cloud, without being dependent on desktop software, Mint.com is a great option. It’s also owned by Intuit and is a free web-based financial service that allows you to track your bank, credit card, and investment accounts in one place. You can create and monitor a budget, get account alerts, and set up savings goals. Mint also has a great free mobile app for your iPhone or Android.
Tool #4: ClearCheckbook.com
If you like managing money online or using a mobile app, but you need more advanced features than what’s offered by Mint.com, check out ClearCheckbook.com. It allows you to manage every aspect of your finances from a customizable account dashboard. You can add transactions, balance your checkbook, view reports, manage your budget, track your bills, and more.
The basic version of ClearCheckbook.com is free, but the features you get from the premium version—like account running balances, importing transactions, creating custom reports, and having multiple users per account—is what really makes the service worthwhile. The premium version of ClearCheckbook.com costs just $4 a month or $42 a year. Definitely a worthy investment.
Tool #5: FamilyMint.com
If you have kids between 6 and 16 years old, FamilyMint.com is an awesome online tool for teaching them about money. It lets kids manage and budget their own finances while parents act as the bank. In case you’re wondering, it’s not affiliated with Mint.com in any way.
Let’s say grandma gives Johnny $20 for his birthday. Johnny can log in to FamilyMint.com and enter that amount as a deposit to his FamilyMint checking account. He gives his dad the $20 to stash away for him or to deposit in a real bank account.
Johnny can also create goals in FamilyMint, like buying a bike that cost $100, and transfer all or a portion of his $20 gift toward paying for that goal. It’s a great training ground for kids because they learn by doing—and parents can approve or deny their budgeting decisions. FamilyMint.com is totally safe because it isn’t connected to a real bank account; it’s simply an online tracking system that encourages hands-on financial literacy for kids.
The free version of FamilyMint.com has lots of functionality, but you can upgrade to a premium version for just $5 a month or $25 dollars a year, which is almost a 60% discount when you prepay. The premium service gives you mobile access, automatic allowance payments, a savings plan that splits deposits into multiple accounts, and matching funds where parents set up extra deposits for kids when they reach certain financial goals.
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