If you are still living paycheck to paycheck, or tracking your expenses on a stapled pack of 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper (yes, that is how we did it in the Fraternity … and you wonder why we had “accountability” issues), you have got to check out www.quickenonline.com. It’s free, it’s quick, and it’s all automatic! Of course, unlike my father, you have to be willing to share your personal account login/password with the site (oh who am I kidding, Tom Neiman doesn’t even know how to use online banking … love ya pops, but you aren’t exactly tech-savvy and still don’t know how to use the cell phone you waited until 2008 to get).
However, once you log in for the first time, they automatically download all your transaction history, account information, spending trends, and categorize all expenses/income by genre. In under 5 minutes, you can literally see all expenses to date broken down to the smallest detail. Now I can see in a nice colorful pie chart that in 2008, I spent 5x as much money on bar tabs than groceries. For that stat (read, “accomplishment”) alone, it’s worth it. For those of you looking to find a handle on budgeting your life, definitely, check this out.
check out mint.com as well; very neat interface.