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Web site can help budget personal spending

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As most of us know only too well, it's easy to spend money when we have it. The tough part is managing our spending when the budget gets tight. Now there's a website that claims it can track spending and wind up saving you money. Mint.com categorizes all your transactions so you can see exactly where your money is going. Ross Marino, a certified financial planner said, "Mint.com is a great way to without having to spend a lot of money and a lot of time, set up your accounts, track your spending, and develop a monthly budget." When you first set up your account and enter your data, mint.com analyzes your spending for the past few months. It then uses that information to set up a budget. Marino said, “For example, you may only think you spend $150 a month on food. But when you look at the last couple months, you may find out the number's closer to $250. As you're going through the month, having that information will help you understand whether you'll make it to the end of the month, or you might run out of money."> The site suggests ways you can save, like avoiding ATM fees. It's free, and has been recommended by several magazines including Reader's Digest and PC Magazine. You don't share your social security or account numbers and you can't transfer money. You can also sign up for text or e-mail alerts when you're accounts are running low. McKay Glasgow said, "I've over-drafted probably three times this year and that's what $50? I have my phone with me all the time. If someone could send me an update saying I've got $50 left, before I go over, then I would definitely sign up for that." You might be more comfortable just balancing the old fashioned checkbook, but experts say it’s important to know what you spend and where you're spending it. Marino explained, “As financial planners, we often say the budget that works best for you, is the budget that you use…but if you like to do things online, you like something you can set up in four or five minutes and it's free, mint.com should work well for you." Some sites similar to mint.com are Quicken and microsoft.com/money. But while they offer free trial periods, they'll eventually involve a fee and are a little more complex. Meanwhile, in this tough economy, we want to know how you and your family are making things work. How are you balancing your budget, what cuts have you made or what secrets have you learned? Just send us an email to money@wwaytv3.com. We'd like to hear your stories, tips or comments.

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Shoeboxed for Receipt Organization

You may also want to consider Shoeboxed for getting your receipts organized this year. You can't defend an IRS audit without your receipts, so get your taxes in order and get Shoeboxed this year! Shoeboxed.com

Quicken Online

Hi there WWAY, I think what you meant was www.QuickenOnline.com. Quicken Online is Intuit's free, Web-based, basic finance service. It is geared toward newly financially independent people trying to make the most of what they have, avoid overdrawing their accounts, and get their financial house in order in 2009. Please let me know if you'd like to learn more. I can set up a one-on-one demonstration for you if you'd like. - Chelsea, Quicken Online

Alternate Personal Finance sites -

There are currently many options that make managing finances and tracking your spending habits and easier, friendlier and more enjoyable process than the days of envelopes and excel spreadsheets. Your readers may want to consider our company (www.justthrive.com) as a free, easy way to track your spending (we do all the entry, categorizing and breakdowns for you), get out of debt and plan out your financial goals. We would love for you to review our site also, and give your readers an opportunity to try our service. We would love to hear how we can help you manage your finances!