Are you the type of person who lives hand-to-mouth or paycheck-to-paycheck? Many of us do! Since it’s easy for many of us to live within our means without thinking about it, it’s also easy to accidentally overspend. Luckily, there are resources available to help us manage our finances.
We can’t talk about handling our personal finances without talking about budgeting. It’s one of the most obvious, yet easily overlooked, aspects to managing money.
There are a lot of different ways you can budget, but perhaps the most famous (and common) is the so-called 50-30-20 budget rule. Taken from “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan,” by Elizabeth Warren, this rule is simple.
After working out your taxes, divide your remaining income into three parts: 50% on needs, such as paying utility bills; 30% on wants, or luxury items; and the remaining 20% on savings.
If this seems like too much work, money expert Alvin Hall suggests a “softer” way to budget. He says to look at your credit card/bank statements at the end of the year and “see what the three things are you did well and what are the three things you did poorly. You then choose one to improve, and one to continue doing.”
Alternatively, you can turn to the internet for help. There are multiple money-saving and money-managing sites available, so here’s our pick of the top four.
The key to any good website is user-friendliness, and Mint puts a strong focus on this. The service is largely automated, although there is an option to update information manually. All you need to do is provide Mint with your log-in details to the finance-related sites you use, and Mint works its magic, generating reports of your spending on easy-to-parse graphs and pie charts.
The biggest issue with using any money-related site is security. If you’re going to give your personal details to someone else, you need assurances they’ll be safe. Buxfer offers multiple ways to store your details; to synchronize your financial accounts, use the Firebux extension on Firefox or store log-in information locally via your browser.
ClearCheckbook, as with the other sites on this list, offers both free and premium membership. Both versions allow you to track any spending and daily expenses and create a personalized budget plan. The premium version allows further customization, including future balance projection.
Interestingly, Yodlee is used as the basis for many other sites (including Mint). The difference between this and those is mostly cosmetic, although Yodlee has a strong emphasis on analysis. Yodlee can import data from multiple financial sites to help you generate a budget or even automate bill payment.
Build Your Own
Yet another alternative to these is to build your own site. If you’re qualified, you could handle this yourself or hire a specialist company.
Going this route entails a lot more work, of course, but the result is something personalized and controlled entirely by you — no need to worry about the security of your log-in details if you’re in charge of them.
Many of the personal-finance sites already offer custom graphics and charts to help make sense of your spending. As noted on https://brainboxlabs.com/services/ux-ui-design: “Quality UX and UI design require a deep understanding of the end-user.” So, using a company that focuses on user experience (UX) and user-interface (UI) ensures a superior experience.
Whichever route you take – signing up for a personal finance site or building your own – two of the most important factors are security and clarity. If you can accurately correlate your personal financial information, from spending habits to average utility costs, then handling your future finances should be a piece of cake.