My top 5 most useful financial tools

I use multiple tools to keep track of all of my financial life. They all make my life easier and automate as much of it as I feel comfortable with. I am the type who checks everything on a daily basis and watches every dollar. I have a good budget built for how I live and it works well for me.

Here are my top 5 financial tools:

  1. Online Banking -- I bank with ING Direct. They have one of the best (in my opinion) online banking systems. I can send money electronically to anyone's bank account. I have free bill pay. I earn interest on my checking account. This is definitely my most useful tool!
  2. -- I use mint to help me keep track of my monthly budgets and it gives me a good "big picture" view of my current financial situation. It is about 90% automated now. I can log in, adjust the categories for a few transactions, and see where I stand at any time!
  3. Microsoft Excel -- I use excel to create and adjust my budget (and update Mint if I need too). I also use excel to track all of my non-budgeted items like car repairs and extras that are not specifically in my budget. I do monthly tracking so any "surplus" gets moved to savings and not spent. I also track my Net Worth in Excel monthly (and I post that here too!)
  4. iPhone - I make notes to myself related to finance such as budget adjustments I need to make, non-budgeted expenses and income, and ideas to research later. I have a calendar with my schedule of payments and reminders, I have online banking apps, and much more! Very handy.
  5. Annual Financial Review - I review my entire big picture once per year in April to look at my budget, taxes, investments, savings, and estate planning each year. I make sure I am still on track for my lifelong goals and make any adjustments that I deem necessary. This step is the most important!
Having the above 5 tools at my disposal makes keeping my finances in order and in line with my goals much easier. I am to the point where I can manage my finances from anywhere that I have internet access. This is important since I plan to live overseas at some point and need to be 100% online if at all possible.