Your personal finance program for the year 2012
1. Smarty Pig:
Smarty Pig is raved about by the New York Times and just about every major personal finance player in the industry. The online program and mobile application features a polished design and highly notable piggy bank logo. Smarty Pig is a free online savings account and typically meant for long term savings projects that might otherwise be difficult to manage. You register your secured account and set a goal, say for a vacation or down payment on a new car. Then Smarty Pig deducts a set percentage or amount from your bank account every month toward your goal. It is also a social app allowing others to know how far you are (in percentage or dollar amount depending on your choice) from reaching that goal. They can then elect to contribute to your savings. They also offer a Smarty Pig cash rewards card fro spending purposes while just an ordinary account will get you 0.70% in APY interest. Most people find it hard to save because they keep their savings funds a bit too close to their regular checking or spending money. What Smarty Pig does is essentially allow for one to use a prepaid debit card model for saving.
2. You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget uses the “envelope budgeting” modeling in which each expense is assigned its own budget. The desktop program for Windows and Mac follows a finance methodology in which every dollar you earn for the month is “given a job”. This means every dollar must be accounted for an expense for the month whether it is for a student loan payment or a movie night with the family. The idea is to enforce how limited ones funds really are and thus it is imperative that all money is spent wisely. It also carries over money not spent in one month to the other, allowing you to see the available cash you have in real time. Conversely, when you have overspent in one area, YNAB 3 will deduct it from your envelope for the following month. For example, overspending $100 in your $250 budget for leisure time will give you only $150 for the following month. You Need A Budget allows for superb budgeting and does a lot of automation that other programs won’t allow.
Another great online community for those needing a little more support in the saving and spending sector is Wesabe. This online community was founded in Berkley, California in 2005. The members share advice and info how they spend. By sharing in on all things purely financial via their online forum, you can learn from a real community of people in the race to save and spend better with you. It can be difficult deciphering through the sponsored posts on a blog or other who’s who forum and online magazines usually reiterate the obvious or less attainable. Wesabe is a community of eager and knowledgeable friends who offer alternatives to financing and saving for your home. The Wesabe platform is designed to integrate bank and credit card statements into a single interface as well.