6 Cool Ways To Track Your Expenses Online

by Broke Grad on August 5, 2008

Throw out your calculators and get out your laptops! We live in the Internet age now, so get with the times. If it seems like everything is tracked by computers these days, it’s because most of it is.

Old calculator
Photo by Twylo

We all know that the first step to managing your money is knowing where your money goes, but please, put away the pen and paper. The Internet to the rescue! Here are 6 cool ways to track your expenses online. Best of all, they’re all free!

Mint.com — A Free Online Quicken

Ever wish you could check all of your online accounts at once without having to visit each site individually? Mint lets you do this. Simply enter the login info for all of your accounts, and Mint keeps your finances up-to-date for you. It automatically checks your account balances and transactions each day and sends you email or text message alerts and reminders, such as a bill that’s due soon or a large transaction that recently cleared.

I reviewed Mint last November and called it the easiest way for college students to manage their money. Since my review, they have added the ability to track student loans, mortgages, car loans, and investment accounts, so it can handle all of my accounts now. Out of all the sites I have tried, Mint offers the cleanest and most intuitive user interface. If you’re worried about security, don’t worry. I already debunked the myths.

Buxfer – Quicken for College Students

Tired of trying to remember who owes who money? Got a headache from trying to figure out the simplest way to split expenses? That’s what Buxfer is for! Buxfer allows you to create groups, enter the amounts owed/borrowed, and it figures out optimized settlement plans and shuffles debts for you.

You can also setup your checking, savings, and credit card accounts to automatically sync, similar to Mint. However, at the time, Buxfer doesn’t support syncing student loan, mortgage, car loan, and investment accounts. Instead, you have to import statements downloaded from your financial institution’s site, which is not very convenient. I really hope this gets resolved in the future.

Geezeo — Social Personal Finance

Ever wish you could get a little support while tackling your finances? Well, now you can. Not only does Geezeo auto-magically track all of your accounts — checking, savings, credit cards, mortgage, automobile loan, student loan, brokerage — for you, it adds something really cool — a community.

Join financial groups to meet people with similar backgrounds and interests. With groups like “20 something, money nothing”, “Financially Frugal Families”, and “bookworms unite”, I’m pretty sure everybody can find a group to suit their tastes. You can also create and track goals, share them with the community, and meet other people who are working on achieving the same things. Finally, for the truly daring, you can reveal you deepest, darkest financial confessions.

Wesabe — Finance + Social Networking

If you couldn’t tell by the title, Wesabe and Geezeo share a lot of similarities. With Wesabe, you get the same automatic updates of your accounts and a community to support you. I haven’t participated in the communities on either of these sites yet, but they both appear to be very active and helpful.

One Wesabe feature worth mentioning is the “Tips” tab. When you click on this, it takes you to a page that compares businesses you frequent with similar businesses and suggests ways to get the most value for your money. For example, it may suggest trying Amazon.com instead of Borders. The cool part is that the comparison is made purely using the Wesabe community’s actual purchasing data, so the tips aren’t biased or sponsored.

Yodlee MoneyCenter — Boring, Yet Reliable

Looking for something that’s functional without all of the bells and whistles? Yodlee MoneyCenter is the place to go. This was the first site that supported automatically tracking all of my accounts — checking, savings, student loan, credit cards, and retirement — back when I first discovered these sites last year.

If you’re not looking for community features, dealing with shared expenses, or searching for money saving tips, then Yodlee is great. The interface is pretty dull and navigation gets confusing at times, but overall, it gets the job done. It allows you to tracks all of your finances and sends convenient bill reminders as due dates approach.

Google Spreadsheets — An Online Checkbook Ledger

As we’ve traveled through the Computer Age, spreadsheets have become a popular way for people to track their expenses. While spreadsheets usually take a while to setup, they’re nice because you can make them as simple or as complex as you’d like. Control freaks rejoice!

While Excel may have cut it in the past, we’re in the Internet Age now. Move your spreadsheet online and stay connected to your expenses wherever there’s an Internet connection. This husband setup a simple expense tracking form using Google Docs that his wife could update with her iPhone during their trip to Disney. Excel is so 2005.

Now that you know 6 easy ways to track your expenses online, you can use your knowledge to take part in the “Know Where Your Money Goes” Challenge hosted by Stephanie at Poorer Than You. Good things can happen when you know where your money goes.

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