Kiplinger chooses Mvelopes® as “Best for Over-spenders”

As the economy continues to sputter — along with the balance sheets of many families — the Internet has supplied an abundance of online tools to help repair the damage. We’ve scoured the offerings and chosen our favorites for a variety of money-management styles.

Each site offers its own brand of budgeting tool and tracks your cash flow by collecting your financial information in one place, providing access to your complete financial picture anywhere you have Internet access.
To maximize their benefits, most require that you link them to your financial accounts by providing your online user names and passwords. This sharing might sound risky, but none of our favorite tools has experienced security problems. BudgetPulse.com does not ask you to supply your private data. The rest of our picks guard your information from hackers with bank-level security; they encrypt your user names and passwords, meaning they cannot be viewed anywhere in plain text without a key. Even if your account were hijacked, intruders would not be able to execute any money moves because the sites access your financial accounts on a read-only basis.

No matter what your personal finance style, one of these online money-management tools will help you stay in control.

Mvelopes®: Best for Over-Spenders

slideshow imageOne classic budgeting strategy involves physically divvying up your cash and labeling each envelope with a spending category. Once an envelope is empty, that’s it — no more money to put toward that purpose.

Mvelopes digitizes this approach to money management with great success. The site’s average user is able to cut spending by 10%, says chief executive Steve Smith. “You really start managing your finances instead of just reacting to things that happen on a monthly basis.”

With the free membership, you can link up to four financial accounts. If you’re hesitant to share your information, you can opt not to store it, but then you’ll be required to enter it every time you return to the site. Next, you create a spending plan and fund up to 25 envelopes. For $10 a month, a premier subscription allows you an unlimited number of financial accounts and envelopes. Plus, you get access to the site’s debt center and an in-house financial coach, who can advise you on basic money topics and how to use Mvelopes. Using the tool isn’t always intuitive; to get started, we recommend watching the site’s tutorials.