560 - 8 Best Budgeting and Personal Finance Tools
Today's episode is brought to you. By deep dive education. The average person holds more than eleven different jobs over the course of their career. Ready to change your worst to software engineer. With deep dive educations coating boot camps. You can get the training. You need to become a software engineer. It's an amazing job that will always be in demand and you can do it from anywhere and eighty percent of deep dive graduates work at top technology firms. Right after graduation go to deep dive. Education Dot Com right now for a two week free trial of their curriculum deep dive. Education Dot Com. Hey everyone thanks for joining me this week. My name is Laura Adams and I've been writing and hosting money girls since two thousand eight. I'm a personal finance author speaker and consumer advocate and my mission is to give you the knowledge resources and motivation to manage money the best way possible and create a richer life. I really hope you're doing okay. And you're cautiously starting to enjoy more activities outside of your home depending of course on the coronavirus guidelines where you live. I'm in Florida and was able to get my hair done last week which felt like such a luxury even while wearing a mask my salon is taking lots of precautions so that felt good and I really wanted to support them so this week. I am pulling a show out of the archives for you about some of my favorite personal finance tools for managing money budgeting and investing check out these amazing programs and APPS and see how they can help you. And I'll be back next week with a brand new show right. Today's show is about using personal finance tools. Taking control of your personal finances is pretty simple in theory. But if you find that you're struggling maybe it's with budgeting saving or investing. Each just may need to try a new tool that could be the ticket to making better decisions at improving your financial financial success. So in this podcast. I'm going to review eight of the best personal finance tools that I know of to help you make sense of your money. Stay organized into achieve your financial goals as always. You don't need to John. Anything down while you're listening because the notes for this and every show plus the full archive podcasts. Our in the money girl section at quick and dirty tips dot com. This is episode number five hundred. Sixty eight best budgeting and personal finance tools to help get some recommendations for the tools. I wanted to bring you in this show. I asked the members of my private facebook group about their favorite tools so this has definitely influenced by their responses and I'll call out some of their recommendations as we go so the very first tool on the list is quicken. You've heard me talk about quicken before. It's one of my favorite tools. Quicken has been around a long long time and it's pretty much the gold standard in personal finance software. They have a suite of products that connect to multiple types of account. So it's going to connect to your bank accounts credit cards lenders and vestments. Whatever you've got to aggregate all your transactions and Jim Monica s from the facebook group says I purchase quicken. And it's helped me tremendously and by the way you can also join the group. If you WANNA send me a text I will send you an invitation to the group. The text is dollars. Do L. L. A. R. S. Just send that to the number three three four four four like many companies quicken has moved to a subscription model where you pay an annual fee and then you get automatic updates for new features and services the starter version gives you a lot including automatic categorization limited budget tracking and a bill dashboard. And you can get that for thirty five dollars per year or you can go a little further. And upgrade to the deluxe version for fifty dollars or the premier version is seventy five dollars those. Give you the starter. Features plus customizable budgeting loan tracking investment tracking analysis. Bill pay an online backup. You can use quicken on your pc or Mac but pc users can also get a home and business version for one hundred dollars a year. This helps you manage a small business. Or maybe freelance work by separating your personal and business expenses you can also email custom invoices with payments links and track your business tax deductions which is really helpful. You can enter transactions manually into quick and if you don't want to connect to your financial accounts online and there are quicken mobile APPs of course to sync up with your desktop version. Although you can't see all your data from the mobile APP but it is certainly helpful for an overview quicken has far more features than I'll ever use but it's my favorite way to manage money. Every week I import my new transactions. And I make sure that they're categorized correctly especially those related to taxes so that I can easily create reports at tax time the second tool I wanNA talk about is meant Meghan h from the dominate. Your dollars group says I use men and after seeing it categorized transactions. I couldn't believe how much I was spending at coffee shops a month. It really helped me budget and be more mindful of all the little everyday purchases I was making. Men is one of the original web based personal finance management programs. It's free to sign up and to connect your financial accounts and these include your bank accounts credit cards loans and investments through an easy to use dashboard and then once mint abrogates your transactions. You can easily categorize them create a budget and even set up automatic bill payments you can set alerts for unusual charges create goals and even get a free credit score. The MITT MOBILE APP has a lot of functionality allowing you to check your account balances and your monthly budgets but I will say the downside to most free financial. Apps is that you're gonNA see a lot of ads and sometimes that's not necessarily a bad thing but just be aware that's certainly how they're going to monetize. Plus users sometimes complain about not being able to connect meant with all their financial institutions. However I have not used a personal finance tool yet. That doesn't experience some connectivity glitch. From time to time the third tool is excel or google sheets if you know how to use spreadsheets you may find that excel or Google sheets is all. You need to stay on top of your money along time. Money girl listener and facebook group member named Charles. I says that excel is definitely his to product. Carla are says she's been using the same spreadsheet for years. Carly's telling me one way I use excel is to update my financial statement which lists my major assets and liabilities to calculate my net worth. I also have an Amortization spreadsheet to track loan payments on real estate investments that I own excel as part of the Microsoft suite of products which cost about one hundred fifty dollars or you can get it by subscribing to office three sixty five for about seventy dollars per year on the other hand. Google sheets is a free cloud based service with online sharing features with excel or sheets. You can enter simple formulas to add up rose or add up columns you can create charts and graphs to get customized picture of your finances and you can even export your data into a variety of popular formats such as PDF DAVID. C and Tommy s from the facebook group. Recommend checking out a service called Tiller that aggregate your financial transactions into Google sheets. Tillers pretty cool. It offers several free templates such as an expense tracker a business spreadsheet and a build your own spreadsheet tiller gives you thirty days for free and then charges fifty nine dollars a year and it looks like they're rolling out a Beta product for excel users as well so if you enjoy spreadsheets using them with teller is probably the most customizable financial tool that you're gonNA find. The fourth tool is a budget or a Y. N. A. B. If you're looking for a specialized tool to manage a budget why an AB is a really popular product with a very loyal following and it got a lot of thumbs up in the facebook group. It imports your financial transactions. And helps you create a budget based on your goals? But it's also got a lot of flexibility for unexpected expenses. You can use why. Nabc to generate charts and graphs to see your progress where you might need to come back. They offer loads of tutorials and education on budgeting best practices plus a great mobile APP why. Ab B. Again. It stands for you need a budget. They offer a thirty four day free trial and then they charge eighty four dollars per year. Now if you're a student who can proof of your school enrollment you get a very generous year long free trial so it's a great way to kind of get on board with budgeting when you're young before we go on. I WanNa tell you about a quick and fund way that you can help. Keep the money girl podcast going these days. Many of us are doing a lot more online shopping than we used to. But did you know that when you shop on Amazon you can also support the show. And the entire quick and dirty tips network. All you need to do is go to quick and dirty tips dot com slash Amazon. You'll find a link that can take you right to Amazon with a little tracking code. Attach that tells Amazon. Came from me when you shop and make a purchase using that link a percentage of your total will make it back to money girl headquarters without costing you more and that money helps me and everyone at the network continue to bring you more great episodes. I know you want to hear the best part of shopping on Amazon is that you can find anything. Get a brand new era reader. Stay entertained and informed or a new stand mixer to help you experiment more in the kitchen or vitamins and supplements to stay healthy. Just go to quick and dirty tips dot com slash Amazon to start your next shopping trip. That's quick and dirty. Tips DOT COM Slash Amazon. Thanks for supporting the show. All right. We're on tool number five. Which is personal capital? If you need a financial dashboard that manages every aspect of your finances. Four free give personal capital a try it aggregates all your financial accounts to track cashflow investments and even helps you plan for retirement Theresa F from the facebook group says she's a fan of personal capital and meant personal capital. Specializes in analyzing your investments by breaking out data such as asset allocation and fees. This gives you a really nice overview. Especially if you've got multiple brokerage accounts or multiple retirement accounts you can even add goals such as saving for a child's education and entertain assets such as the value of your real estate. If you enter all your assets and liabilities personal capital is a great way to monitor your net worth on a day to day basis. This is a free tool that does not push ads for revenue but they offer investment accounts and wealth management advice personal capital charges one all inclusive annual fee. That's based on a percentage of your assets under management. Nee charge point eight nine percent for balances over one hundred thousand and a range of point. Four nine percent up two point seven nine percent if you have over a million dollars. The six tool is acorns. If you don't have a lot of money to start investing try the original micro investing APP. Acorns. What you link it to a debit or credit card acorns automatically sweeps and invest the difference between your purchase cost and the nearest whole dollar amount that you set for example if you spend twenty dollars and fifty cents. The APP could round up to twenty one dollars so it would deduct fifty cents from your bank account and then invest it or you could set acorns to round the next five dollar increment and invest four dollars and fifty cents. So this is a really tech savvy way to invest your quotes spare change in a computer managed portfolio of exchange traded funds. Acorns also offers tax advantaged retirement accounts such as an IRA SEP IRA. And that's called ACORNS. Later using only investing APP will cost you a dollar a month but if you add retirement account to the mix you'll pay two dollars a month and that's for up to a million dollar balance and they also have no fee. Fdic insured checking account called ACORNS. Spend you can use all three of these services for a total cost of three dollars per month but get this. It's free for college. Students who have a valid dot. Edu Email address. Acorns is a really great way to ease into investing when you're just starting out or maybe struggling to save but the main downside is that paying flat fees instead of a percentage can add up to a relatively high cost when you have a small account balance. The seventh tool is better. Meant if you want a large online investing platform with low fees. I'm a huge fan of betterment there. A Robo advisor that uses a diversified portfolio of exchange traded funds that are based on your desired level of risk. And you're investing goals you get access to their team of license financial expert for advice and support betterment offers both regular investing accounts and retirement accounts they automatically manage your investments. So they do things like re-balancing reinvesting dividends and handling recurring deposits. The experience that you get with Betterman on your desktop or even their mobile device is really streamline and it's very easy to navigate and best of all the annual cost to use Betterman is relatively low. It's just point two five percent of your balance which makes it affordable even when you're just starting out and if you've got a higher balance above one hundred thousand dollars the fee increases two point four percent but you also get unlimited access to their certified financial planners for more personalized advice. I've enjoyed using betterment for probably a decade now and I'm always impressed with their customer service. Their communication and affordable fees. The only downside is that they offer a limited menu of investing options. But that works for me. Because I'M A hands off investor who prefers using global diversified funds. If you're somebody that really wants to pick individual stocks Betterman is not going to work for you but there are plenty of other options out there and the last tool number eight is online bill. Pay Tony M says. I really don't use any method except for online bill payment. I'm fortunate enough to be able to Max out my 401k. Ira An HSA and David be from. The facebook group also praises bill pay saying I was in a bad car accident in the hospital for a month but bills got paid automatically. It was one thing my wife didn't have to take care of so I agree using your bank accounts online bill. Pay Is probably one of the most overlooked free personal finance tools out there. Having all your bills in one place makes this often-dreaded task of paying them much easier. In my opinion your payments are either sent electronically or by a paper check so you can pay any company or any individual who has a mailing address most banking institutions guarantee. That your payments will arrive on time and they'll also reimburse you any late fees if those payments don't arrive on time you can create one time or recurring payments for the entire balance. Do or send a partial payment so between your online bill pay and APPS like pay powler Ven Mo- There's really no need to carry paper checks anymore. I have my e bills sent to my USA. A bill pay center so that I'm notified due dates. I can set up payment dates far in advance. I have bills that are said to pay months in advance and can also choose specific accounts to deduct the payment from centralizing bills inside. Your checking account really allows you to see where your money is going and to make sure that you've got enough to cover future payments if you're somebody who hasn't tried any of these personal finance tools or apps yet because you're worried about security here's what you need to know. I do think security is an important issue. But ABS- typically have a read only access and they've got high level encryption and that means that they typically only see your financial transactions. They can't change them or move money around now. There are exceptions the online bill pay services do make requests to move your money. And that's one reason why I stick to my bank accounts. Bill pay instead of authorising other services to do it. There is always a risk to using financial websites or even buying something with a credit card. But I don't believe the risk is high enough that it should stop you from using personal finance tools or online services in fact the benefits of using these tools to manage your money. Save more and build. Wealth far outweigh the downsides before we go I want to thank a couple of listeners who are also students of my bestselling class get out of debt. Fast proven plan to stay debt free forever. Ashley. D. Says I've been listening to the money girl podcast for years now but this course was very helpful and getting myself organized with all of the appropriate resources debt is my biggest life stressor and I honestly feel more at ease. Thanks Laura well. Thank you Ashley. I'm so glad to have you in the class. D be says I appreciate the resource materials and templates. The explanations were clear and very easy to understand. I feel empowered to take control of my finances. Dj that is so awesome. Thanks again for being a part of the course. If you're stressed about debt or know that it's keeping you from reaching your financial goals be sure to check out this super affordable course. You'll join ranks of hundreds of students around the globe. Who are now on solid ground and confident about where their finances are headed because they enrolled. I love online learning. Because you get lifetime access to the content and can learn your own pace you can get a discount or just learn more by texting me. Text the phrase debt course with no space to the number three three four four four in role in get out of debt fast to start your journey to becoming debt free today. I hope to see you in class. That's all for now. I'll talk to you next week and stay safe from those hurricanes out there. Courtesy of money girl your guide to a richer life. Money girl is produced by the audio wizard. Steve Ricky Berg with editorial support from Karen Hertzberg. If you've been enjoying the podcast take a moment to rate and review it. 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