4 Ridiculously Simple (Free) Budgeting Tools

jar of money
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Whether you're just starting your life together, or have been divvying things up for a while now, one thing is fairly certain: Few things are less fun than figuring out finances. Most days, it's hard to even look at your bank account, let alone figure out where you can save (is that even possible?) -- especially when you have bills racking up, student loans to pay off and that ever-present nagging in your head to contribute to your retirement.

Luckily, there are sites out there to help you track your spending, send automated payments and get the most from your money -- without making you want to stab your checkbook (or yourself). We promise.

  1. Mint.com

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    We know, we know -- this one should be a no-brainer. But for those of you who haven’t discovered this gem of a site, get ready to have your mind blown. Not only does Mint.com link all your accounts (we’re talking checking, savings, credit cards, insurance, student loans and even retirement), but it also lets you set up monthly budgets, establish financial goals (like finally paying off that credit card) and get bill reminders sent to your phone. It even finds ways to save you more money (like credit cards with lower APRs or an investment account that will give you a better interest rate). We’re not kidding when we say it’s made us finance enthusiasts.
  2. Manilla.com

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    For those of you who are more interested in keeping track of things you’ve purchased, like daily deal vouchers (it currently supports Groupon and LivingSocial), magazine subscriptions and loyalty reward programs (airline, hotel and auto), Manilla might be a better bet. Basically, it lets you easily link all your accounts (kind of like Mint.com), as well as your reward points, bill payments and so on, so you can see just how much you have going on -- and come up with your own priorities. As Manilla itself states: “It’s like having your own personal account manager.” And yep, it’s free.

  3. BudgetTracker.com or BudgetPulse.com

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    Some of you might not be comfortable linking your accounts to a budgeting website (although they are deemed secure). Consider these two (free) sites your go-tos. They let you manually enter accounts and balances, as well as transactions. Plus, they have comprehensive features, including budget lists and bill reminders.

  4. PayDivvy.com or BillMonk.com

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    While these are more worthwhile sites if you have roommates or need to split household expenses, they’re equally as great for easily splitting the bill between several people on things like vacations, group dinners and even group ticket purchases. It takes the pressure off keeping things equal (this one’s on me, next one’s on you doesn’t quite work if the two items are radically different in price) and also keeps things from getting awkward with reminders about how much someone owes you (it’s harder to ignore when it’s a clear breakdown).

    Tell us: How do you keep track of your finances?