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Five best personal finance tools

August 28, 2014 08:51 IST

Online and mobile based personal finance applications have gained importance over the past few years.

Personal finance management is critical for all. However, not all of us have the time or knowledge to manage our finances effectively. Sometimes, even if one has the time and there is sufficient awareness, tracking finances is put off simply because of carelessness or laziness. However, don't panic. Several personal finance tools available today can help in active personal finance management. These are available either on your computer or on your mobile or both. Here are five popular personal finance tools:

Perfios: PErsonal FInance One Stop or Perfios is India’s most popular personal finance tool and is a web based solution. It helps in tracking all aspects of your personal finance - be it bank accounts, mutual funds, equity investments, insurance policies, credit cards, fixed deposits, expenses, etc.

The multiple financial accounts can be linked onto one platform and this does away with the need to log in to multiple accounts. Moreover, all the different aspects of your personal finance can be available in a single place. You can also compute your income tax and file your returns.

In November 2013, Perfios launched its Android App. The tool also supports multi-currency transactions. While the base version is free, there are Gold and Platinum versions as well, which are priced at Rs 499 per year and Rs 1,499 per year respectively. In addition to having products for individuals, Perfios also offers products for advisors, banks, corporates and other financial institutions.

Buxfer: Buxfer is a California based company providing money management solutions online. This tool gives you a single view of your finances. The focus is mainly on expenses and spending patterns. So transactions from banks and credit cards are categorized and downloaded, which gives an idea about your spending patterns and planning for future expenses.

Weekly, monthly and annual alerts can be set for different expense heads. Every time you exceed your expenses in this head, you will get an alert.

It therefore also helps in controlling expenses and giving you real time mobile alerts. Another interesting feature is that it helps in tracking group expenses and gives an idea of how much people in a group owe each other.

AceMoney Lite: AceMoney Lite is another provider of personal finance software which helps in managing multiple accounts. In addition to maintaining budgets and tracking expenses, this also helps in managing investments, credit cards, loan payments and online banking.

You can set up to 100 expense categories and use multiple currencies in different languages. Charts and reports feature helps in pictorial representation of your finances. However, the free version can be used only upto 2 accounts. Beyond this, you will have to opt for the paid version.

Expense Manager: As the name suggests, Expense Manager is a tool to track and manage expenses. This is an Android app and has both free versions as well as a paid version. The free version comes with advertisements. Expenses are categorised and can be tracked on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

Income can be tracked too. It is possible to schedule payments and create payment alerts. When expenses are recurring like utility bills or credit card payments, you can create an alert to remind you of the payment.

It is possible to automatically populate the expense categories by using the ‘auto-fill’ feature. This helps in the saving time and energy of doing repetitive tasks. Reports can be generated and data can be transferred to excel files for further analysis. Cloud storage of data is also possible.

Toshl Finance Budget & Expense: This app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian phones. Toshl is used to manage and track expenses and organize budgets. Expenses can be classified and tagged. You can set a budget for each expense head and track when you spend beyond the budget in different time periods.

The app pictorially represents your spending patterns, thus letting you know exactly where you are spending more. Recurring expenses can be set up and automated to save time and effort in updating. It is possible to set up bill reminders and due dates. The app supports 34 currencies, which makes it easy to use while travelling to international destinations.

Expenses can be exported to excel or pdf files. Cloud uploading is also possible, post which the files can be accessed from remote locations. There is both a free version as well as a paid version.

Online and mobile based personal finance applications have gained importance over the past few years. With increasing popularity of smart phones, more sophisticated and innovative personal finance tools are bound to become available in the market in the days to come.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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