This is the eighth day in our 31-Day Money Challenge. Over 31 days we’ll publish 31 podcasts, each designed to help you move closer to financial freedom. Yesterday we looked at the 20 ways to save without sacrifice. In today’s podcast, we talk about 10 money management tools that I’ve found to be very helpful.
Sponsors: The 31-Day Money Podcast is sponsored by Betterment and Personal Capital. Betterment and Personal Capital are two tools you can use to make investing easier, less expensive, and more effective.
10 Money Management Tools
In today's podcast we cover the following 10 tools:
- YNAB: By far and away my favorite budgeting software. It’s easy to use, offers a beautiful design, and comes with excellent online classes and a user form. You can check out YNAB for free for 34 days.
- Mint: For those that want a free budget tool and/or one you can link your accounts, Mint is a great choice. It’s not perfect, but it does a good job of tracking your spending.
- Personal Capital: While Personal Capital is known for its investing tools, it also has an excellent cash flow tool. One of my favorite aspects of the tools is that it shows you the dividend income you’ve earned from all of your investments.
- Credit Cards: This is the tool we use the most to manage our money. Rather than keep receipts or write down our purchases, we charge everything to a credit card. Credit cards are secure, we earn rewards, and we can upload all of our purchases into YNAB. If you don’t use credit cards, a debit or prepaid card will accomplish the same thing.
- Online Bank Account: With both a checking and savings account at Capital One 360, an online bank has helped us in several ways. First, we park our emergency fund in an online account for the interest and to keep it out of our main checking account. Our children both have accounts and can set up direct deposit or deposit checks with a smartphone. It’s made money management a lot easier.
- 401(k)/IRA: This may seem like an odd money management tool, but it’s key, particularly for those still trying to max out their retirement accounts each year. As you lower your monthly expenses, even by a little, increase your contributions to your retirement account. If you are contributing money pre-tax, you can even set aside a bit more than your actual savings.
- Excel Spreadsheet: We use a spreadsheet to track our net worth, investments, asset allocation, and even real estate investments.
- Smartphone: As I mentioned above, we use our iPhone to deposit checks and transfer funds between accounts. You can also use it to check your Betterment account or to see all of your investments with Personal Capital. Smartphones are also great for finding coupons and deals.
- Automatic Bill Pay: This just makes life easier and avoids missed payments. We set up automatic payment of bills to credit cards where we can, and the rest get paid directly from our checking account.
- Manilla: The last tool discussed in this Podcast is one that helps you keep track of all of your bills. You can link everything from your cell phone bill to credit cards to even health insurance claims. Manilla keeps track of everything, and lets you know when your bills are coming due. Update: Manilla closed its doors on July 1, 2014. You can find alternatives to Manilla here.