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Personal Finance Tools: The Five Must-Haves

This is a guest post from Lisa @ Frugal Living

Personal finance tools can help you take care of your present and future financial needs.  But which tools do you need?  Here are five of the best tools to consider when setting up a personal finance plan, with alternatives to help you choose the plan that is most convenient.

  1. Microsoft Excel

Don’t want to mess with your average budgeting program?  Worried about a program going out of style, and the hassle of learning an interface and switching devices?  For those that prefer simplicity, there is Microsoft Excel.
While it can take a little bit longer to use Excel than a paid or online option, the customization and control that you receive is great if you’re looking for simplicity.  Also, you can’t beat the format and universal nature of the program.  You can track every aspect of your finances on Excel, without a doubt.

  1. Budgeting Program of Choice

If you want to keep track of your finances and aren’t a spreadsheet guru, you should definitely consider using a budgeting program.  Adaptu, Mint and Quicken are solid choices for financial management.

Mint is the most popular example of this category within personal finances.  Smartphone users might be familiar with Pageonce, which is another name to remember.

These programs and services work to automate all of your financial accounts.  Then you will be able to see the transactions that are being made.  This is more of an easy way to see your finances, and then you can easily fill in your budget from the automated elements of the program/service.  It is worth a look; you can’t beat the ease that is offered.

Take a look at the free and paid programs, according to your needs.  There are plenty of freeware programs that are great for personal finance plans.  See what’s out there; you’ll surely find something that works for you.

  1. Smartphone Users Rejoice

If you have a smartphone, you could choose to keep all of the personal finance tools you need on your mobile device.  It’s simple and easy to keep track when you can check in as time allows, throughout the day.

Pageonce is a good start for mobile users.  PayPal is another accurate and easy way to track payments – especially if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer. There are literally hundreds of phone apps available from your bank and credit cards, investment accounts, etc.  When you start depositing money from your mobile device, investing while on the train, and taking advantage of these tools – you will realize how your smartphone can be a great tool in your personal finances, taking care of some or all of such needs.

  1. Pen and Paper

Indeed, you can use pen and paper if you wish.  Bookkeeping on paper may be a lost art to the tech community, but ideally you should use whatever method works for you. The envelope method can be a good choice for people who like to pay by cash: simply withdraw the amount of cash needed to pay your bills or household expenses, and divide it into the envelopes. Pay the bills… and when the money is gone – it’s gone!

If the high-tech programs and options bewilder you, and you’d rather write everything out – by all means!  Whatever it takes to keep track of your budget and finances, and provide yourself direction – it will work.  For any method, you just need to stick with it and allow it to guide your financial decisions.  As long as it is sound and functional, it will work.

What program or tactic do you use to track your finances? Share your tips here!

Article publié pour la première fois le 19/10/2011