There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about your personal finances these days. The state of the economy is downright scary, fuel costs are high, food prices are swelling and the future of social security is less than certain. But there is a silver lining. The Internet has many resources to help put your mind at ease and grow your bank account - and many of them are completely free. Here are a few.
SavingAdvice.com: This site has everything from financial calculators to forums focusing on helping you get the most out of every dollar you earn. There are also feature articles covering a variety of topics from home inspections to the cost of raising children. This sight is community focused, with plenty of contributors. In fact, one of the neat sections of the site features blogs from many different authors, all with different financial goals and dreams.
FiLife.com: Created by The Dow Jones Company and IAC, FiLife's core is comparing or "stacking" your financial status with your peers and those in your area. You enter some of your information (income, home value, credit score, etc.) and then you can get comparisons via age groups, geographical location and so on. Based on your information, you will also appropriate bank offers, deals on credit cards and more. And in Web 2.0-style, you can also find reviews of financial products and services by other members, rated by other members. The FiLife blog contains plenty of valuable information, much of it from The Wall Street Journal.
Mint.com: This free Web-based service provides users with a full system to monitor personal finances. Enter usernames and passwords for financial accounts (e.g. checking account, mortgage, 401K) and Mint provides a real-time display of your overall financial picture. Mint also offers budgeting tools to help users identify where money is being spent and features suggestions on where you might be able to save or earn money with credit card providers offering lower rates or saving accounts with higher rates. Perhaps the most useful feature of Mint is that the platform can notify you if a balance is under a specific amount, if one of your accounts was hit with a penalty or even if it notices you have overspent based on the budget you defined.