10 Personal Finance Tools That'll Put You in Control of Your Money

Mobile finance toolsBy Kimberly Palmer

A few years ago, Trevor Flannigan decided to start managing his budget using the online tool Mint.com. The 20-something suspected he could be spending less money each month, but he needed help organizing his various credit, debit, and other bank accounts. So he entered his nine accounts into the website and started tracking how much he spent.

The website now warns him when he approaches the limit of his monthly budget in different categories, such as eating out. "When I see I already spent x amount of dollars, I say, 'It looks like I'm having soup for the last week of the month,'" says Flannigan.

Flannigan is among the thousands of consumers who have incorporated online personal financial management tools into their lives. While they have been around for years, only recently have they started to really take off, with about 1 in 4 consumers using some kind of tool. "With the downturn causing more financial headaches for people, they've become a lot more disciplined, so they are turning to tools," says Ron Shevlin, senior analyst at the research and advisory firm Aite.

A survey by Aite suggests that personal finance tools actually change people's behavior, too. In a survey of people who use such tools, 3 in 4 said they now have better control of their finances. Two in 5 said they are saving more money, and 1 in 5 said they are paying less in late fees.

Dozens of tools now exist, so how can you pick the best one for you? Here's an overview of 10 popular options:

Do you have other favorite online tools or sites? Please share your suggestions below.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer

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Paul Andrew

Great article. I am a big fan of mint myself due to the ease of use and flexibility. This review shows some of the benefits. http://thefrugalgrad.blogspot.com/2014/08/best-personal-finance-tool.html

August 27 2014 at 3:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I will like to get your readers' attention to Finacast (www.finacast.com). Unlike most of the tools in your list that focus on reporting and tracking, Finacast focuses on simulations and forecasting to help people make better financial decisions for common questions like - can we afford college for kids, when can we buy a new car, what happens if we lose our income etc. The idea is to give people a decision support system that leads them towards more prosperous lives.

Full disclosure - I am a part of Finacast team.

September 26 2012 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm one of those people who completely changed attitude towards money after having started using a personal finance management tool. I must admit that my financial situation has indeed improved and I've managed to save money in areas that I didn't notice I had been overspending before. I guess this has pretty much to do with the online software I have been using for a while now called InEx Finance (https://www.inexfinance.com/). Nothing fancy or overly complicated, the site is easy to use and intuitive.

June 21 2012 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply