The best college budgets in life are free


Remember when your parents said that someday, you would have to learn how to balance a checkbook? Did you ever learn how? I didn't. Do you even use a checkbook? I don't.

The Internet, along with credit and debit cards, has (for the bulk of us) wiped out the need for checkbooks, let alone the need to know how to balance one. Today, all major banks, including Bank Of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and others, offer one-step access to records of every purchase and every transfer we make. Undeniably, this is a boon to the practice of making a budget. Learning how to take advantage of these tools though, can be difficult. And that's exactly where sites like Mint, SmartyPig, and Budgetpulse come in. Of course, this is the Internet we're talking about, and a host of other Web sites aim to help their customers follow a budget. However, I've narrowed the competition to these three, and for a few key reasons.