Now is as good a time as ever to get your personal finances organized! A big reason why so many people get into financial trouble is that they simply don’t know where their money is going, or they lack simple budgeting skills and up spending more than they can afford. Then there’s the credit card conundrum. Personally, I have three different credit card accounts and keeping up with balances and payments can be a nightmare. How am I supposed to remember and make time to sign in to each one monthly, as well as keeping track of my bank accounts?
The major software programs for managing personal finances are either inconvenient, because they’re not available online, or they have a lot of ads and don’t promise enough privacy. This is what led me to a new online personal finance service called CountAbout. It’s ad-free and totally private. When you sign up for the free version of this software, you can immediately start to get control over your finances and see how your spending matches up with your income. You can look at your spending overall or zero in on trouble spots like restaurant meals or vacations. CountAbout also has great color-coded graphs that show you how you’re doing – if you’re in the green for the month (or year), then great! Order takeout again! If you’re in the yellow, slow down. If you’re in the red, try to stop spending money. I would suggest trying out the free version, and then perhaps signing up for the premium membership if you like what you see. The HUGE positive of premium membership is that it removes all the manual labor from managing your finances. CountAbout supports automatic downloads from over 18,000 financial institutions, so odds are they have you covered! I use a regional institution for all of my banking, not even one of the national chains, and they are supported as well. The best part is that it’s mobile-friendly and cloud-based. No annoying software updates or backups needed, and they securely store your financial data so you can access it from anywhere.
I’m not kidding when I say that good financial management is about organization. It’s not always the big spenders and the unemployed getting themselves into trouble. Sometimes it’s everyday folks like you who simply are disorganized, miss routine payments, lack a proper budget — or don’t have enough information about your own personal finances to motivate you to stick to it.