The Best Sites for Managing Your Money

Want the expertise of a financial adviser without the price tag? These virtual gurus will help you manage your money.
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MINT.COM

Mint will organize all of your accounts (checking, savings, investment and retirement) on one screen. It provides easy graphs, charts and spreadsheets to help you balance your budget and amp up your savings. No need to fear identify theft here: Mint’s got bank-level security, lets you register without providing a name and will notify you of any possibly fraudulent activity on accounts. The ultimate safeguard? No one can move money on the site-it’s solely an organizing tool.

SIMPLIFI.NET

SimpliFi bills itself as making financial planning "sort of like a video game, which is so much better than a spreadsheet." We agree: the user-friendly design, which is in the beta stages, is simple to read and light on text. The site was initially aimed at lower income earners, but we like it as a tool for the newly frugal who are looking to cut back on expenses. The site’s goals screen reminds us of an arcade game, with icons that help you work toward savings for charity (a helping hand), retirement (a setting sun) or a second home (a beach bungalow). The site also boasts an actual virtual adviser, Sophie, a brunette with Sarah Palin glasses, who will "never judge you."

FEEDTHEPIG.ORG

Feed The Pig is the finance whiz we’ve always wanted to befriend. The site has something for everyone, no matter your financial IQ, and helps you save with fun tools. Pick an avatar resembling your personality on the "Me, Save?" page to detail your spending habits and find ways to save. For example, we picked "Not-So-Frugal Foodie" and were asked to ID our own bad habits. After clicking the "shoe addiction" icon, Feed The Pig calculated that rather than spending $80 on a pair of shoes once a month, we could save the money and earn more than $5,000 in 5 years with a 3.14% interest rate! The site’s weekly newsletter and Twitter updates will also keep your money mind working. The biggest drawback is the "spokespig" that acts as the site’s host. He’s a little creepy, but a small price to pay for financial knowledge.

TIPJAR

TipJar from Google is divided into eight sections, covering food as well as travel, but the finance subsection is what caught our eye. Helpful hints farmed from money sites like doughroller.net and IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com are presented in a scroll-able list. The quick advice snippets may seem obvious at first, but spend some time on the site and you’ll find valuable ideas. Take this gem for example: "cancel unused club memberships. Are you paying dues at a club you never use? Like a gym membership or country club membership?" Umm….

BANKRATE.COM

BankRate is a useful tool for picking and choosing between mortgage and auto loan options, even providing compare and contrast info for different credit cards. Moving? Check out your banking options with the site’s bank and credit union ratings (mined with a 22-part test to investigate capital adequacy, liquidity and asset quality.) The site’s most worthy feature is its impressive list of 24 calculators. Be it mortgage, investment or college finance questions, we think you’ll be hard-pressed not to find an answer.

First Published Wed, 2009-08-19 14:46

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