Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So this post isn't so much how to save money when making purchases, it's on how to save money by realizing just how much your wasting every month!

Every fiscally responsible person has some sort of budget set up for themselves. They usually balance their checkbooks weekly, save all their receipts and check their credit card balances throughout the day to make sure they aren't blowing their hard earned dollars away.

I am not one of these people. I buy things on a whim, spending as much as my credit card allows in a given month (but I do pay it all back). You see, I might be a college student, but I'm not broke by any means. I work part-time during the school year to pay for everyday bills and work about 60 hours during the summers and my winter break to pay for school and have extra spending money during the 8 months money is a bit tighter. The thing is, if I don't watch how I spend my money, then I will be broke and sad!

I am however, a techno-savvy consumer. I have all my accounts available for me online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only problem is, I have accounts with like 5 or 6 different places and it's quite the bother to keep track of them all, especially when it comes to making a payment on time. In comes to save me from getting lost in a whole lot of tiny transactions.

After signing up at, you can add almost all of you bank accounts, credit card accounts, and now even retirement savings accounts and portfolios! The only thing missing is loans, but when you're a student with $100,000 in loans, that'll definitely make you feel a little more depressed every time you check your spending.

Anyways, it's really easy to add your accounts. You simple go to the "My Accounts" section, click on the card that says "Click to add any of your accounts" and now the fun begins. You find the your bank or creditor in their database. You give them your sign in info (it's ok, they won't do anything like steal your money!). You do this with all your accounts. will then sign into your accounts and take all your information (current balance, bill due dates, transactions, etc) and bunch it all together for you.

You can now go through your transactions and rename them and categorize them. You can set up rules so that the names always match up. You can add labels to transactions to quickly find things (I mark all my shipping labels for goozex with a goozex label, then I know how much I spend on shipping there). You can quickly search for transaction names, labels, categories, etc and it will list whatever you are looking for quickly!

Now the fun part, creating a budget. If you click on the Overview tab, you will be shown TONS of information. You will see your account balances on the left. You will also see some reminders and alerts towards the top (bills due, overspending on your budget, etc). And below that is the budget graph. Here you can edit how much you want to spend in different categories every month. My advice, put something a little lower then your current spending and try to stay within your budget. It's like you have your mom telling you you're spending too much money and you slow down the spending!

Additionally, you can check out your spending in different categories in a fancy Pie chart in the Trends tab. This can be over the past month, 3 months, or all time. If you click on a slice of the pie, it'll detail your spending (OMG, I spent $70 at my favorite sub shop since I came home for the summer, this needs to stop!). Below the pie chart, you can check your spending compared to other people in your city.

Oh and now for the money saving portion of todays site! You know how a bunch of creditors are rewarding their customers by giving them cashback. Well in order to to stay up and running for you, they need to generate revenue by telling you about different credit card options that will better suit your monthly spending or by which banks will give you more money for the money you keep with them. In the end, you sign up with a new bank, earn a bunch of money extra in a month (I switched checking accounts and now make about $30 more a month) and makes money too. Everyone wins, including the banks because they now have a new customer!

How you might wonder what makes this place better then using a program like Microsoft Money or Quicken. The truth is, there isn't much of a difference. I just like the fact that I can access my entire "portfolio" from any computer and oh yeah, it's FREE! So check it out, even if its just to see if there are better banks offering more then what you currently have. Soon after, you'll fall in love with it and use it to make sure you're not spending too much on the good deals you find here!

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