Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Watch your money - Two angles

In our house, the money jobs are pretty well defined and divided. My husband would say he invests the money and I spend it. In many ways that is true. He does the higher level investing, I take care of the day to day. Neither of us is completely out of the decisions the other is making and no large decisions are made alone. However, if I am at Target and I want to buy an inflatable swimming pool for the kids, let's just say that I don't call in. On the other hand, I trust his decisions on investing and don't want a lesson on dividends, interest rates, and market trends every time. Perhaps I should be more interested. Okay, I know I should be more interested, or at least in the know.

With that in mind and my new iv connection to the Internet, I thought that I should see what tools might be out there.

For pure investment strategies, I have been "playing around" with my husband's financial website. I wanted to share it today. Especially as the markets go up and down, it is nice to see the "what ifs". Months after you make a decision, you can look to see how close to a good time you hit it. The Working Money (as in make your money work for you) is a free site to keep an idea of how you are doing over time.

He is still working on enhancing this site, but some of the features he has included:

  • Keeps track of dividends
  • Keeps track of cash
  • Allows two different ways of tracking stocks: simulating a real portfolio or keep a watch list of stocks.

You can always go look around, but to do more, you need to sign up for an account. Also, the website currently updates financial information on a daily basis, but if there is enough interest he will eventually make that part live. He has added some accounts that follow certain investing strategies or experts, The Little Book that Beats the Market for example . If you are into this stuff, you will see the accounts he made up and know who they are modeled after.

If you are interested, visit his site. If nothing else, it will give him a little buzz to see his stats go up. Don't tell him I sent you.

The second angle incorporates a budgeting and planning aspect. I have been entering receipts into excel for about a year. While that has stabilized my spending and purchase, it isn't doing enough anymore. I want to go beyond that. I am considering looking into more traditional programs such as Quicken and Microsoft Money. Thrive is a new website that I saw someone twitter, so I decided to check it out. I am not convinced I want to share all my financial information, but I have been looking for a tool to take my financial savvy to a higher level and this might be worth a try.

How about you? What tools do you use to see where your money is going?


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