So if you know me, you know that I am a little crazy about budgeting, finances, getting out of debt, etc. I have made spreadsheets so huge that the bounds of Excel could not hold them. I update our budget and our loan numbers almost daily. To do this, I have to visit all three of our banks' websites and two student loan sites, log in, copy the numbers over to my spreadsheets one by one, update my Google Docs, and then I usually run a few calculations on the updates to see where we stand. If I feel like wasting a whole lot more time, I make pie charts and histograms to get another angle on our spending habits. I've considered writing a monthly financial report, but I have managed to hold myself back so far on that one. Yes, this provides a great distraction from everything else I should be doing.
Ryan found a site that was probably founded by my clone, who is apparently much more advanced and much, MUCH more obsessed with budgeting than I am (maybe I am her clone? hmm...). The site is www.Mint.com. This site is AWESOME! It allows me to expand my powers and micromanagement of every single cent. It automates everything I have already been doing-- you give it your bank info and it shows you all of your bank accounts and transactions in real time, all in one place! Oh wait, it gets better. I can also connect it with my loans, so those balances show up in real time as well. As if that wasn't enough, there is the whole purpose of the site which is the budget feature. It allows you to set different amounts for different categories of spending like rent, groceries, etc. It's super smart and intuitive, too. It automatically categorizes your spending when the transaction comes through, i.e. it files transactions at Starbucks under "Coffee Shops" and transactions at Kroger as "Groceries" and Progressive as "Auto Insurance." It does a pretty good job, but of course you can go in and set them manually too in case it doesn't file it right.
Another way cool feature is that on some of the more popular businesses such as the ones I just listed, it will show you a bar graph of your spending compared with the U.S. Average. So you can be all like, sweet, I don't spend that much at Starbucks compared to the rest of America! Or, sweet, I pay a lot more on my student loans every month than the average American. You can also see which merchants you spend the most and least at and look at your spending trends over time.
One thing that we're going to really appreciate is that it sends you email updates when any of your accounts are getting low. You can also set it up to send you text message alerts for that. For some reason we're not very good at keeping track of this ourselves so that will be really helpful! You can set goals and customize the heck out of them and it calculates how much you need to set aside each month to reach your goal.
Anyway, if you like that stuff, check it out! It's legit (c: