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How do I Choose the Best Online Budget Planner?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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The best online budget planner is one that meets each of your personal budgeting needs, is easy and convenient to use, and won’t pose a financial safety risk. You might prefer a planner designed solely for online use or you might choose one that requires you to download software for the planner to function. Your planner should provide a variety of tools designed for both general and personal budget planning needs. You can even search for websites that provide educational information and tips about budgeting in addition to the actual planner, which is especially helpful if this will be your first budget planner tool.

When you search for an online budget planner, you’ll find both online versions and software versions. As the name suggests, an online planner focuses solely or mostly on online budgeting. This means you can sign up for an account and access your budget planner from any computer or cellular phone with Internet access. Alternatively, budgeting software allows you to download a program to your computer and you can access the planner from that computer only, and it may or may not offer additional online features. Whether you choose an online or a software version will depend on factors such as how often you access the Internet and how safe you feel storing your financial information online.

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If you choose an online budget planner instead of a software program, check the planner’s website for safety features before signing up for an account. Obviously, the website must provide password-protected accounts. Browse the website for information about the anti-virus programs it uses as well as which safety certifications it has. Also look for contact information. Ideally, the website will provide telephone numbers and e-mail addresses you can use if you have any questions or experience any problems with your account.

Determine whether you insist on a free online budget planner or if you’re willing to pay for the service. Understand that free doesn’t necessarily mean the budget planner is insufficient, just as paid doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more adequate. As long as you spend time comparing the different online planners available, it’s easy to find reliable and free budget tools. On the other hand, you might feel safer using a paid option, or you might find a paid option that provides features other free options don’t offer. Even if you’d rather not pay for an online budget planner, take some time to compare the features of a few free and paid versions before you make your decision.

The planner you choose will probably provide a monthly budget calculator feature, but be careful to choose a planner that provides other features more specific to your needs. For example, if you’re a single individual, the planner should offer tools designed for a personal budget planner. If you’re part of a family, the planner should provide a broader range of options designed for a more involved family budget planner. You can also find planners that feature tools designed for specific events in life. For instance, a college student might search for a student budget planner.

No matter how easy to use an online budget planner is, it can only take you so far. Depending on your personal financial needs and budget planning knowledge, you might look for an online budget planner that provides educational information on its main website. If this is your first time planning a budget, such information could provide tips on how to distribute your monthly income. If you’re planning for a vacation or an expensive purchase, find a planner that offers ideas for quickly saving money while still paying your monthly bills. Some websites even provide personalized recommendations for saving money based on the information you enter in your planner.

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Discuss this Article

anon261631
Post 2

I am using Out Of The Dark Online Budgeting with great success. It's powerful, easy and safe to use anonymously without giving out personal identification or access to bank accounts, and it has a very helpful feature called Cash Put-Aside.

anon248877
Post 1

There is one free budgeting web app that not many know about. A friend told me about it, and it works great for personal budgeting with modifiable categories and money management and it is as safe as can be because you use it anonymously without giving your personal identity and without giving access to your bank accounts, and it has features I have not seen anywhere else such as the credit card debt terminator. It's called Out Of The Dark (OOTD) Budgeting.

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