So, you got carried away a bit last month and overspent. And by 15th, you realised your bank balance is gasping for oxygen. This may not be a one-off, we are sure. And chances are you are not alone. There will be so many who stare at the prospect of dangerously low funds in their accounts after that crucial benchmark of the month.
Call it recklessness, momentary indulgence or whatever you will, the fact is in an age of instant gratification, there is a growing and almost unavoidable need to keep a tab on expenses.And what better way to do it than going online? Once you log in, you know a whole world of convenience awaits you. Thanks to personal finance websites and banks, these money management tools guide you in keeping track of total cash outgo and inflow in your account.You can try out the full features on websites such as www.perfios.com, www.arthamoney.com, and www.ruppex.com, just to name a few. Even bank websites such as Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have taken the lead in offering a few variants of these sites.
How exactly does it work? These websites, in short, allow you to link your multiple bank accounts, credit cards and other spending activities. And in return, they provide you a quick snapshot of your portfolio. This means that at the end of the day, a close monitoring of credit as well as withdrawal transactions will give you a better picture of your spending habits.
Certain websites go a step further. These allow you to customise your account according to your needs. So, if you think that you have been spending at restaurants way more than what you should be, you can set an alert for the same. Say, you set aside `3,000 as your eating out expenditure. So, once you cross 75% of this limit, the alarm goes off and you keep getting warning messages. This effectively gives you a fair idea as to what amount you have spent and how much you can afford for the rest of the month.
Sites such as Artha Money let you do this through a pictorial representation of your spending in the form of a pie chart and by providing a weekly synopsis. It also tells you that under which head you are spending more on -- grocery or clothes. If you want more, you can set reminders about bill payments, too.
With some, there is an investment tab to boot and you can link your demat account with money management sites as well. Since this can keep account of both your earnings and investments, it offers you the best of both the worlds by allowing you to compute tax related information such as capital gains and so on.
There’s more. Sites such as Perfios enable you to add your family members’ accounts to yours. In other words, with this feature, you can manage not just your account but keep a hawkish eye on the entire household expenditure.
For allowing the website to access these nuggets of information, you need to key in your bank account, net banking and credit card details. V R Govindarajan, co-founder and director, Perfios, says the website is managed with least manual intervention and this in addition ensures security. “Details like your CVV number are not asked. Also, the information is not encrypted and stored on Perfios server. So, security frauds are ruled out,” he tells assuringly.
Experts are also for a high level of alertness before parting with any such information. They suggest that before giving out the details, one must be doubly sure about the security certification handed out to the company from different authorities.
The best part is most websites allow you a trial version, which is generally free. This will be a basic version with limited features. However, you can upgrade to a better version by paying up. The fee can range anywhere between `30-300 per month.
So, when it comes to get a handle on your finances, look no further. These websites can prove to be a good Samaritan. Ideally, opt for a trial version first and move up later if you find it useful.