(Black Enterprise) – As a doctoral student in social work at the University of Alabama, Shani K. Collins was struggling to make the most of her part-time income when she read an article about Mint.com, the online financial management tool. “I was not as disciplined about budgeting as I should have been,” the 31-year-old admits. But after a few months of using the tool to track her spending, “I saw that I was spending 11% of my income eating out.”
Determined to make wiser choices about her money, Collins tracked her budget and cut her dining out expenses by four percentage points. A part-time adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama and Shelton State Community College, Collins has also become more knowledgeable about finances in general thanks to the tips on money management that Mint.com provides. “More than anything, I became aware of areas I’m weak in and how to improve.”
One advantage of using online management tools is that they allow you to more efficiently track your finances, says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, co-founder of the free financial advice site AskTheMoneyCoach.com. “A lot of people manage their finances haphazardly,” she says. Online money management tools give you one place to record and monitor all your information, and you can access them wherever there’s a Web browser. Some offer mobile apps, so you can keep up with your finances on the go, Khalfani-Cox adds.