Keeping tabs on your money can be quite complex, especially since the average individual tends to possess multiple financial accounts, and that is why so many people need financial planning companies to help them do this.

The rise of new products and services that promise to simplify the process can make budgeting easier; however, getting started can still be intimidating. To help get you started, here are six effective ways to accurately track your finances.

1) Online Banking

These days, the majority of banks and credit unions offer online banking. The most basic systems help you track transactions and balances, while the more sophisticated systems offer budgeting help and mapping tools to help you further understand and track the where, what, and how regarding the movement of your money.

2) Visa Prepaid Cards

Visa prepaid cards are an effective alternative for the millions of people who cannot or choose not to hold a bank account (referred to as the unbanked or underbanked). Prepaid cards often offer low fees, convenient and easy reload options, money management tools, and a physical plastic card that can be used to make purchases in-store, online, and anywhere traditional credit or debit cards are accepted.

The most enticing and effective benefit to using Visa prepaid cards is that it is very difficult to overspend. Prepaid cardholders can only spend as much money as they decide to load on their card, which makes keeping to a budget much easier. Please visit for more information.

3) Online Financial Management Tools

A plethora of financial management tools exists online that promise to simplify personal (and business) financial tracking. Many of these tools are free of charge and very effective in helping you manage your finances. There are certain things that some people overlook such as refinancing their student loan using websites like this one so that they can pay it back quickly or organize it into a better financial state that suits their situation at that particular time. However, you should be aware that the data you provide could be used to market products back to you, and some services might even directly sell your data to marketers. Be sure to read the small print when using one of these services.

4) Spreadsheets and Templates

If you like dealing with numbers directly, using an Excel or Google spreadsheet can be an incredibly detailed and accurate way to track your money. You must remain attentive, as you are solely responsible for inputting data, updating numbers, tracking changes, amongst other tasks. If you want a little more automation to your financial tracking, you can find pre-made Excel templates with embedded macros available for download.

5) Pen & Paper

Another straightforward way to track your money is to simply write down all your transactions and balances. The pros are that it’s easy and all you need is a calculator, pen, and paper. The con is that depending on your shrewdness with numbers, it can also be easier to make a mistake.

6) Personal Budget

The best way to really grasp the fundamentals of financial management is to create a personal budget. A simple online search will provide you with the basic instructions to start. This method is a basic tool everyone needs to better identify and control their spending. There are loads of small ways that can help you edit your spending habits, such as using coupon codes (perhaps from a website like Raise), putting coins aside and even just making a note of what you’re buying.

Regardless of what methods and tools you choose, it is important to consider your level of commitment to healthy financial management and how much time you are willing to invest. Utilizing effective financial tools such as a Visa prepaid card can help you be successful.

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