Friday, July 16, 2010

manage personal finances

Five Best Personal Money Management Sites

Web-based financial management tools have grown in sophistication to the point where many people manage their entire financial lives with online tools. Here's a look at five of the most popular personal money management sites.

Photo a mashup of images by Leonardini and Wilton.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite personal money management site; now we're back to highlight the five most popular contenders.

Click on the screenshots below to take a closer look.

Buxfer (Basic: Free, Premium: From $2.79/month)

Many people are hesitant to use online banking services because of security concerns. Buxfer's compromise to provide ease of use while also assuring users and keeping things as controlled as they would like is to offer multiple methods for storing your credentials. You can manually synchronize your financial accounts with the site, you can store your passwords and login credentials locally using Google Gears, Firefox, or Safari, or you can use the Firebux Firefox extension—Firebux helps you automate the process of downloading financial data from your banking institutions and reviewing Buxfer data. If you'd like to skip the hassle of handling your own syncing, Buxfer offers automatic nightly syncing of your financial data, automatically logging into and pulling data from your various online money portals. Buxfer comes in three flavors: Basic (free), Plus ($2.79 per month), and Pro ($3.79 per month). All accounts include features like split bills, automatic tagging, and mobile access, but you'll pay a premium for unlimited budgets, bill reminders, and balance projections. You can try a live demo of Buxfer here.

Yodlee MoneyCenter (Free)

As many readers were quick to point out, Yodlee provides the guts to the user sites for hundreds of banking and financial services. Organizations like Mint, Thrive, and large banks like Chase use rebranded but Yodlee-powered interfaces. Yodlee users will often characterize Yodlee as similar to Mint, but without such a strong emphasis on flashy graphics. Instead it focuses more on analyzing your raw data—transaction descriptions, for example, are easier to search and more detailed. Yodlee can import data from thousands of institutions, help you generate a budget, automate your bill paying, and send out user-defined alerts. If you like the idea of a site like Mint but want more fine-grained control and the ability to manually tweak things when necessary, Yodlee is a solid alternative.

Mint (Free)

Mint has risen to prominence as a major player among web-based financial management tools by putting an extreme emphasis on user-friendliness and automation. The focus on automation is so strong, in fact, they only recently added the ability to add in any sort of manual transactions. By providing Mint with your various logins, you can track all your financial accounts in one place—checking, savings, credit cards, investments—and easily generate budgets and projections based off your data. Mint has won many people over, especially in the younger demographic, by being the first tool they've used to really get a good look at their money and where it's going.

ClearCheckbook (Basic: Free, Premium: $4/month)

ClearCheckbook is a web-based checking account ledger on steroids. You can track your spending, input your daily expenses from the web-interface or from your iPhone, Android, or Palm, and generate a budget with spending limits. Upgrading to a premium account gets you a custom report tool, custom transaction fields, future balance projection, and editing of the auto-suggest feature. Visit ClearCheckbook at the link above to check out the video tours of both the free and premium accounts—available at the bottom of the main page.

Mvelopes ($39.60/quarter)

Mvelopes is a robust web-based financial tool built on the old principle of budgeting with envelopes—each budget category gets an envelope with a set amount of money. Its focus on an old budgeting technique, however, doesn't mean you're stuck with dated tools. Mvelopes automatically pulls transaction data from hundreds of financial institutions, supports automatic bill payment, and helps you generate snapshots of your net worth as you adjust your budget and goals. Mvelopes is notable for being the only contender in the Hive without a free account option, a testament perhaps to how happy people are with the service that it made an appearance in the top five despite the lack of free-as-in-beer option.

Now that you've had a chance to look over the top five contenders for best personal money management sites, it's time to cast a vote for your favorite:

Have a favorite web-based tool that didn't get a nod or want to talk up your favorite a bit more? Let's hear it in the comments. Have an idea for the next Hive Five? Send us an email at with "Hive Five" in the subject line and we'll do our best to get your idea the attention it deserves.

Send an email to Jason Fitzpatrick, the author of this post, at

Web technology has revolutionized finance by making it easier than ever to monitor cash flow and track trends in your spending. has been a leader in this realm for personal finance: its technology helps you track multiple accounts, analyze spending trends, and manage financial goals.

There isn’t a clear counterpart to class='blippr-nobr'>Mintclass="blippr-nobr">Mint for businesses, though. That’s where inDinero, a Y-Combinator-funded startup, comes in.

inDinero, which launches today, is a web-based financial dashboard for small businesses. Like Mint, it aggregates financial data from bank accounts, investments, and other sources and places them in a simple, easy-to-navigate interface where you can quickly see your income, spending, recent activity, and your financial runway.

The app is divided into five parts: Dashboard, Income, Spending, Planning and Trends. Dashboard provides an overview of your business finances, Income provides detailed information about your income streams, Spending breaks down your different costs, Planning helps you set goals for your business, and Trends analyzes and graphs out spending and income trends in order to provide useful insights.

Businesses need this type of information in order to minimize costs while maximizing revenues. While solutions such as Mint also aggregate financial information and analyze it, they are not focused on small businesses. We look forward to seeing inDinero’s business toolset grow and evolve.

Image courtesy of iStockphotoclass="blippr-nobr">iStockphoto, jwohlfeil

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