As the Internet has exploded, many people have begun to rely on computers to assist with budgeting. Online personal finance is a multi-billion per year industry. Initially it was popular in helping small businesses with budgeting and tax concerns, but as the computer has become ubiquitous in American homes, average people have begun to regard the computer as indispensible to their personal finance needs.
One of the first, and most attractive, ways that online personal finance tools can help the average person is through automated bill pay. This is a very busy time for the average person who is working more than ever, has a family to attend to, and the many other stresses of day to day life. Automated bill pay is quite simple. The online personal finance software links a persons checking account to their various monthly expenses. It even allows for a person to specify when they would like the bills to be paid. This makes things much easier as this ensures the account is never overdrawn. Most automated payments are made after payday. This can be done for fixed expenses such as Internet or cable TV. Variable expenses can be paid in full or with a specified amount. It not only makes sure that all of the bills are paid and nothing slips through the cracks, resulting in late fees. It also guarantees that the bills are paid before any irresponsible spending takes place. One of the goals of online personal finance is to ensure that a person lives within their means. If all of the bills are paid before any money can be spent this becomes a much more reasonable goal. Certainly there sometimes need to be other changes to ones spending habits that need to be made, but its an important first step.
Another helpful feature of online personal finance is the built in tax software. Not everyone has very complex taxes. Obviously some people dont have a family and dont have a house or any investments. These peoples taxes are quite simple to deal with. However most people that are looking to do some budgeting have more complex situations. Real estate is a great investment for the tax breaks it gives. Having online personal finance software saves money by avoiding having to go to a tax professional and ensures there arent any mistakes or missed deductions. When people are using online personal finance software to remedy their bad habits, they often overlook tax considerations. Back taxes are often particularly difficult to deal with and online personal finance software can help in this regard. The larger ones family is or the greater the number of investments someone has, the more likely it is that they have tricky taxes and need online personal finance software.