3 Online Tools to Automatically Track Finances

Most of us recognize the importance of financial planning, but we also understand that tracking money can take commitment and a lot of time and work. Good budgeting and investment software and online financial planning apps can help you significantly take charge of your finances. There are a number of new online tools that completely automate your budgeting, investment tracking, and much more! Each tool works a little differently and has its own unique focus – picking the right one for your needs can save you a ton of time when it comes to managing your money. Bonus: each one from the list below is completely free to use!

Mint
Mint is one of the original personal finance aggregators, and offers a wide set of tools to help you manage your budget, income, expenses, and view every financial account in one handy dashboard.

Founded in 2006 by Aaron Patzer, Mint quickly grew to be one of the most popular online tools for personal finance management. It was acquired by Intuit, the company behind TurboTax and Quickbooks, in 2009.

If your biggest financial worry is your budget, Mint is the best option for you. Mint automatically tracks all spending from debit and credit cards, and automatically categorizes that spending by budget category.

You have the option to use suggested categories based on recent spending, customize your own categories from a list offered by Mint, or create your own category for even more finely tuned budgeting customized just for you.

Strengths:

  • Integration with a large range of banks, credit card issuers, and lenders to put all of your finances on one dashboard, also with a mobile app
  • Automatic spending categorization for budgeting
  • Goals feature to help you track and reach major financial milestones

Weaknesses:

  • Frequent technical problems like broken connections, duplicate accounts, and incorrect categorization
  • Poor customer support
  • Weak loan and investment tracking compared to some competitors

Personal Capital
If you are less worried about your budget and more concerned with your investments, Personal Capital is the perfect option for your investment management needs.

Personal Capital is both an online personal finance tool and an investment management company. The budgeting and investment tracking tools are all free. For users with large investable assets, Personal Capital offers a wealth management service for an additional fee.

Personal Capital’s most powerful tools help you manage your portfolio, asset allocation, and investment fees. The tool automatically downloads and analyzes your portfolio data from your current brokerage, then gives you advice on how to lower your fees and better match your portfolio to your risk tolerance and investment goals.

There are some income and expense tracking tools, but the budgeting feature is not nearly as powerful as Mint. However, if you are less concerned about your budget and primarily want to get your investments in order, Personal Capital is an excellent option.

Strengths:

  • Powerful analysis tools can save you hundreds of dollars per year or more on mutual fund and other investment fees
  • Get free help aligning your portfolio to your investment goals
  • View all accounts and transactions in one place with a useful dashboard and mobile app

Weaknesses:

  • Few budgeting tools to help you manage your spending
  • Website can be more difficult to navigate than some competitors
  • Transaction categorization not always accurate

Credit Karma
If you are working on improving your credit score while managing your spending at the same time, Credit Karma might be just what you’re looking for.

The core feature at Credit Karma is credit score tracking and credit history reporting. For free, really, you can login and view your estimated credit score from two of the three major reporting bureaus.

More recently, Credit Karma added tools to connect your accounts with your bank or credit card issuer and bring all of your transactions into one dashboard. Through that dashboard, you can view your income and spending and see your net cash flow over time.

Credit Karma also automatically categorizes transactions and shows you useful views organized by spending category.

Strengths:

  • Free credit report and free credit score included with account
  • Useful advice and tips on how to improve your credit score
  • Simple dashboard that connects your credit accounts with your spending

Weaknesses:

  • Less flexible transaction categorization for tracking by category
  • No investment tracking
  • Few budget tracking and view options than competitors

Which is Best for You?
Everyone has unique personal finances – that’s why it’s called “personal” finance. Thankfully, there are free online tools to track finances for everyone’s primary focus. Whether your focus is your budget, your investments, or your credit, you can rest easy knowing that you can track everything in one place and are taking the right steps to reach your financial goals.

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