The best of the free online budgeting tools – The Globe and Mail

I have many clients and couples who are having troubles with budgetting.

These tools may help. They are good for couples who want to share the information and “be on the same page”.

Rory

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The best of the free online budgeting tools – The Globe and Mail.

 

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HOME CENTS

The best of the free online budgeting tools

Globe and Mail Update

 

Last June, Home Cents looked at the various free online tools available to manage your household budget and keep track of your saving, spending and investing habits. In the past year, many new websites for managing your personal finances have emerged, two well-known services have consolidated, and this week RBC became the first Canadian bank to launch a budgeting tool, so it’s time to take another look at the best of the applications out there.

The high-profile budget tool news of the year was the acquisition of award-winning startup Mint.com by industry leader Intuit, maker of the popularQuicken tool. Intuit’s basic software for home use – Quicken Cash Manager 2010 – is still available from Intuit for $44.99. Although it is a desktop application, you can use the Web Connect feature to download your bank and credit card transactions directly into Quicken. However, the free Quicken Online application that many Canadians enjoyed has now been replaced by the Mint.com product. The Intuit team promised that the best of both applications would be combined in Mint.com. Sadly, the ability to access Canadian banks and some Canadian credit cards did not make the migration from Quicken to the new tool.

For Canadians looking for free personal finance tools online, it is a challenge to find one that can integrate with our banks and credit cards.

One that does and does it well is Wesabe. The free service offers functionality similar to that found in Mint.com, but you can sync your banking data from most large Canadian banks. If you find your financial institution is not included, you can request that Wesabe add it and it will if the financial institution provides an “export” or “download your accounts” option in a friendly format. I was able to automatically upload my banking and credit card transactions and quickly start tracking my spending habits. The program defaulted to U.S. currency, but I was able to change it to Canadian in my personal settings.

RBC

moneyStrands is another contender for Canadians. The site launched at the start of 2009, but became more accessible to Canadians over the past few months. When you sign up for an account, you can plug in your contact information, including postal code, and move on to choosing your financial institution. The major Canadian banks are available and you can get details from your online bank and card accounts to give you an instant overview of your spending. Earlier this month, moneyStrands won a Webby award in the banking/bill paying category, giving it some street cred.

Although both Wesabe and moneyStrands are secure, you may not be comfortable linking your bank account directly to the site. If you want to use a free online tool but would prefer to manually input your information, you can try BudgetPulse. It lets you organize your cash flow, expenses and bank accounts in one place, and has easy-to-understand charts and graphs that let you see how you’re spending your money month to month. You can personalize your budget by selecting your preferred currency type and timezone.