Is there anything more thrilling than planning a budget and balancing your checkbook? Yes, a lot of things, actually. Who even carries around a checkbook anymore? The unfortunate truth is, however, that managing your banks accounts may be boring, but still imperative if you want to live a financially stress-free life. After all, wouldn’t you be a much happier person if you never paid another overdraft fee?
Don’t worry if you lack the skills necessary when it comes to keeping a positive balance in your accounts. The following are a few technological innovations that go beyond simple online banking and automated bill-pay to make personal finance easy for anyone.
BillShrink’s Statement Rewards
You find great incentive to review your bank statements when discounts, coupons and other rewards are included in it. Statement Rewards from BillShrink analyzes your spending habits to finds ways to save you money in areas where you drop the most cash.
When you review your online statement, Statement Rewards will recognize the places where you spend money frequently and insert contextual in-line rewards specific to that retailer. For example, if you stop by Starbucks a few times a week, expect to see a loyalty discount on your next latte in your statement.
Interest Rate Aggregating Websites
Depositing your savings in an account that earns .001% APY is basically throwing money away. Interest rates are low these days, but there are plenty of financial institutions out there offering high-yield accounts–all you have to do is find them.
Luckily, gone are the days when you would have to call up every bank in your city to find out what their savings account earns. Online aggregation sites compile interest rate data from thousands of banks and credit unions to find you the highest offers. You may not find a savings rate that outpaces inflation, but it’s still better than the equivalent to stuffing your cash under your mattress.
Everyone and their mother has heard the hype over Mint.com and its budgeting tools, but Yodlee is actually the back-end that runs Mint and is the first name in online money management. Yodlee MoneyCenter is the free web application that allows you to manage your finances online and it’s been around for over a decade. MoneyCenter links to bank accounts, credit cards, investment companies, real estate companies, rewards programs and more, letting you track just about every dollar you own all in one place.
There’s no completely hands-off, surefire way to keep your finances perfectly balanced–it’s always going to require some effort on your part. But the reason we all love technology so much is because it makes tasks like this a whole lot easier, so take advantage of what’s out there for you to simplify money management.