At one point or another, learning how to manage your money better becomes a priority. Maybe you are getting ready to buy a house, or are just tired of living in perpetual debt. No matter the reason, when you’re asking how can I manage my money better there are plenty of resources out there to help.

Remember, even if you are well on your way to managing your money better, you will eventually hit a wall if you don’t create a budget. Read all about the most essential items to include when budgeting in “What to Include in a Budget – 10 Things You Can’t Live Without.”

The 7 Best Tools To Help You Manage Your Money Better

Remaining focused on your financial goals is the primary motivator you need to improve your financial situation. If you do not have any clear financial goals, be sure to make a list before getting started. Goals like getting out of debt, building towards retirement, or even just taking a vacation are all attainable.

Also, no matter what tools you use, start small and build your way towards better financial management gradually. Unless you are being threatened by bankruptcy, cutting too deeply, too quickly can actually set you back. With this in mind, here are seven ways to manage your money better.

  • AARP’s Credit Card Payoff Calculator. This useful tool shows you how long it will take to pay off your credit cards according to how much you are paying, and allows you to make adjustments to see how you can pay off those cards more quickly.
  • Mint.com’s Mobile App. This app is an all in one budgeting tool, but one of its most useful features is that it can send you a notification anytime you exceed your budgeted spending in any one area, keeping you on track.
  • AnnualCreditReport.com. Annual Credit Report is the only site that provides the free credit reports you are entitled to under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Others like FreeCreditReport.com will try to charge you. Use Annual Credit Report to pull your free report from one of the bureaus quarterly.
  • CreditSesame. Credit Sesame offers free credit monitoring, credit use analysis, and your free credit score from Experian updated monthly. This is a great low cost option for credit monitoring, as long as you keep up with it regularly. The added bonus of advice on credit usage and money saving tips make it all the more worthwhile.
  • MoneyRates.com. Have you ever wondered if you were really getting a competitive interest rate on your savings, CD, credit card, or even mortgage? MoneyRates.com helps you find the answer and compare deals from hundreds of US banks.
  • CNN Money’s Retirement Calculator. Planning for retirement is one of the most important series of decisions you will make. CNN Money’s Retirement Calculator is more comprehensive than most, and will help you determine what you need to do to get where you want to go.
  • Direct deposit to savings. Splitting your weekly or biweekly direct deposit between your checking account and your savings account is an automatic way to save that usually won’t cost you any additional fees. Just be sure to set a reasonable amount to go to your savings account, or you will be withdrawing from savings to make ends meet.

Final Thoughts

No matter how financially comfortable you feel with these money management tools at your disposal, be wise when taking on significant amounts of debt, such as when purchasing a home. Major decisions like taking on a mortgage are fraught with pitfalls. Learn more about choosing the right mortgage in “10 Mortgage Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”

If you are using or have used any of these seven tools that help you learn how to manage your money better, please share your opinions in the comments!

About LMcpherson

Laura is a personal finance blogger with Stumble Forward helping people avoid life's financial mistakes and live a higher quality financial life.

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Comments

  1. I set up an separate account a year ago that I transfer money into. I don’t use it and really don’t look at it often, but when I do, I’m always surprised at how fast it’s grown.

  2. Christopher says:

    That’s awesome Kim. I set up a savings account a few years back like this as well but what I do is put over a certain dollar amount of my paycheck towards savings thus paying myself first, and oh how does it grow. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I love Mint, don’t know what I’d do without it. I have all my bills and cc’s set on auto pay and I just use mint to track daily expenses.

  4. Christopher says:

    That’s great Harry. My wife and I do something similar. I like it just for the pure fact I can budget my expense much more closely and see where I’m overspending in any areas.

  5. We’re big believers in automating our savings. It’s easy and you just set it and forget it so you never “feel” the money coming out. We’ve also used some of the other tools as well and they’re very useful.

  6. Christopher says:

    I totally agree with you when you automate your finances it not only keeps you on a financial schedule but like you said it takes a lot of the feeling out of making the payments. Thanks for the comment John.

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