According to Kiplinger, prices of consumer goods will rise significantly faster in 2015 at around 2 percent. While the higher rate will be largely determined by pump prices (that means a big slide in crude oil can muffle the costs of consumer goods), another factor that may send anyone's budget to disarray is also on an upward move: shelter costs.
Economic outlook like this calls for a good handling of your finances. For the common American, the first line of defense would be personal finance planning.
There are a number of free finance applications that can help you learn how to be more responsible with your income and expenses. Whether you're trying to balance your paychecks, make both ends meet for the family, or you're running a start-up, there are web-based applications that can help get your finances in order. Below are the top 5 web-based personal finance applications that can help you better prepare for some economic challenges this 2015:
1.) Mint.com - For Kiplinger and CNN Money, Mint.com is a runaway winner. From its quick-and-secure signup feature to its automatic organization, mint.com will help you manage your finances easily. After registering all of your bank and savings accounts, credit cards and investment accounts, it will allow you to track and monitor all of your transactions securely. The program will also let you draw up a household budget, and send a warning if you're not sticking to it, assess types and amount of expenses and set up savings goals. Mint.com uses the 128-bit SSL encryption making your personal data safe and secure. It is protected and validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe. Additionally, mint.com's read-only platform will make moving money in or out of any accounts impossible.
2.) Moneystream.com - Using Smart Technology, MoneyStream analyzes users' spending history and finds any repeating payments. As a user, MoneyStream will allow you to see your income and bills together giving you a realistic picture of your spending habits and financial health. By linking your own online banking accounts and your biller’s online accounts, MoneyStream will update your finance data and your bills' due dates. It is also protected by 256-bit level encryption.
3.) Doxo - A relatively new website, Doxo allows users to manage household payments, connect with utility and service providers, and make a backup of their finance-related family documents. Doxo acts like an online filing cabinet which files all your e-statements including electric, gas and cable providers and credit cards among others. And yes, medical statements are no exception for Doxo. If you have switched for e-statements a long time ago for an environmental-related cause, Doxo is worth signing up.
4.) Mint Bills - Formerly known as Check (it is still using the old check.me url), Mint Bills has the capacity to remind users of an upcoming bill, and thus, can save you a good amount in penalties. This web-base personal finance resource can keep your payment history intact and help you avoid a raise in interest rate of, say, a credit card. Mint Bills is also available in iOS and Android applications.
5.) BudgetSimple - BudgetSimple is an automated financial advisor aimed at making sure you have a budget that works for you. It will analyze your finances and then come up with a budget planner complete with suggestions where to save money, trim your spending, and increase your savings. As a user, you have the choice to enter financial information manually, or you may opt to connect it with your bank accounts. BudgetSimple is accessible online for free, but if you want to access it via your phone, you have to pay $5/month for premium account.
Finding the best free online personal finance program depends on your need. I use BudgetSimple for its simplicity and the degree of freedom it affords users (it will not require you to register all your bank accounts to be a member). It's a very straightforward tool. In the end, regardless of the financial application you use, your effort to plan and understand the movement of your finances will pay off and save you money in the long run.
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