''TECH - SAVINGS- TRACK'' : 1 / 3

HOW do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Tara Siegel Bernard, a personal finance reporter, discussed the tech she's using:

''What are the most important tech tools for tracking budgets?''

This may sound strange coming from a personal finance reporter, but I'm not a big fan of traditional budgets - I don't think they work.

I try to keep my own spending in check by taking the reverse approach. Instead of tracking every dollar, I focus on what we need to save for : retirement, college or some other goal.

After you've automated your savings goals and created a bit of cushion for emergencies, you're free to spend without thinking too hard or feeling too guilty.

It's an imperfect system, but it's better than a failed budget.

That method won't necessarily work in all situations, especially if you need to tackle debt or establish a stricter spending plan in retirement. And everyone can benefit from  tracking personal spending, even if you check in only every quarter.

MINT has been around for a while, but it is still a solid way to take stock of where all of your money is going. It also allows you to create a budget, and alerts you when you've spent too much.

I use it infrequently, and there's usually at least one kink I need to work out whenever I log in;  most recently, it counted all my retirement accounts twice, which was kind of cruel.

PERSONAL CAPITAL, an investment advisory service, also had a robust free tool that tracks your spending, cash flow and retirement goals all in place with minimal effort.

For people who want a more proactive approach in spending and whittling down debt, there's You Need a Budget.

I've come across many people in my reporting who have attested that it's life-changing.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Saving and Spending and Technology Tools, continues.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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