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9 Financial Tools You Should Be Using

Tracking your money

Modern money management requires tracking a lot of moving parts: budgeting, bills and credit cards are just the beginning. To help you keep your spending under control, consider using one of these online or mobile tools. They might help simplify your financial life, too.

BillGuard

This app tracks your bills and alerts you if there are any suspicious charges, including duplicate charges or charges from companies that have been flagged by other users. You can dispute charges directly through the app, which also alerts you if you are at risk from a retailer's data breach.

Key Ring

If you often find yourself checking out at your favorite stores only to discover you left your loyalty card at home, then this app will help you out -- and also negate the need to carry your card around with you. The app stores your loyalty cards so you can simply use your smartphone to nab the discounts.

RetailMeNot

This popular coupon app stores all the discounts contained in Sunday circulars, retailer websites and other sources so you can carry them all around with you without bothering to clip paper coupons. Just like with the Key Ring app, you can simply show your smartphone at checkout to get the deals.

PriceGrabber

When you're out shopping, it's not always obvious if you're getting the lowest price possible on an item. With the PriceGrabber app, you can quickly scan the item and see if it's available for less elsewhere. You can also set up price alerts on items you have your eye on.

PriceBlink

This browser add-on helps online shoppers by alerting them if they're about to make a purchase that they could snag for less elsewhere online. It constantly monitors prices around the Web so it can direct you to the retailer with the best price.

Mint

This popular budgeting website and app tracks your money to help you stay on budget. It offers visual representations of your spending that are easy to understand and can send alerts if you're close to your spending limit in different categories. It's also free and secure.

You Need a Budget

Similar to Mint, YNAB offers budgeting tools to help you stay on track and encourages you to save and spend smartly with online classes and support that impart basic lessons in personal finance. It's not free (the current price tag is $60), but it promises ongoing expert support.

Credit Cards

Credit cards typically come with a lot of protections -- including against identity theft and retailer fraud -- warranties and insurance. The websites of many credit card providers also offer free tools and calculators that can show you where your money is going each month. Be sure you're taking advantage of the free tools that come with your card.

Bank websites

Similar to credit card providers, banks often offer in-depth spending analysis and budgeting tools, as well as retirement calculators and debt payment tools, to help you manage your money. Exploring the online interface of your bank might turn up some tools that you can use to your advantage.



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