The first and the most important rule of thrifty living is getting organized: you won’t be able to save a penny unless you learn counting money. So I wish all the readers to start carefully organizing their budgets – may it be our common New Year’s resolution.
This post looks at three most useful (and fun!) ways to manage your budget and plan your shopping online. The best part about this toolkit is that it won’t cost you a penny – yes, all the tools listed here are absolutely free.
One of the most discussed shopping-related myths is that you can’t get anything worthy for free: if something is given away for free, it is either fake or lame; well, I am going to bust this myth by sharing cool and absolutely free money management tools:
1. Online Budget Management Tools
There are quite a few (both paid and free) web-based budgeting tools; I personally wanted the tool to do the following:
- To visualize my spending (for me to see where I spend most of my money and where I can save);
- To clearly list my monthly expenditures (what exactly I spend money on);
- To give me an incentive to save (for example, setting a saving goal and showing how close I am).
The best tool that I came up with was Buxfer with which I could everything I listed above and also:
Monitor my budget by setting the spending limits and showing where I exceeded the limit and where I managed to save:
Estimate my next month’s budget to foresee my financial future and meet my financial goals with help of various visualization tools:
2. Online Shopping Wish Lists and Shopping Lists
Shopping may get really spontaneous – and that’s when you start spending a lot. Therefore maintaining your shopping with shopping lists and organizing your planned purchases with wish lists may be so helpful.
Here I have two personal favorites:
GifTag: the reason I like this one so much is that adding products to the list is really easy and fun. The tool uses the FireFox add-on that creates a screenshot of the product page and stores it in the selected category:
Buxr: along with plenty of shopping and saving goodies (like user-submitted coupons, smart shopping community and informative frugal blog), the site also offers a handy wishlist feature which is very useful for organizing deals I find at the site and want to store to refer to them later:
3. Online To-Do Lists
To-do lists are especially useful if you want to remember to buy something or to use a coupon.
The only one I use here all.the.time is RememberTheMilk : it has plenty of cool features (like tagging my tasks, configuring a reminder, sending messages, etc). But the best thing is that it easily integrates to Google calendar – so you can manage your to-do lists from any of the tools:
Ann Smarty is a search blogger and social media enthusiast. She has recently started a community of guest bloggers and is looking for beta testers. So if you like guest blogging or accept guest posts, please join and make it better!