As I have said many times in the past; the number one step in your financial game plan is your cash flow plan (a.k.a. your budget). It is the very foundation of your personal finances. Your finances are never safe without this. So with that being said, I would like to speak about one of the ways I use which is available to put together a detailed cash flow plan. Today I’m going to talk about an online service called PowerWallet.
Power Wallet is an online app that allows you to put together a customized budget, manage your monthly expenses, and get an overview of your financial picture. It’s free, and it’s really quick and easy to join. You just provide the following info:
Click here if you would like to get started now.
Once you join, you will add your financial accounts (PowerWallet makes this easy to do as it has a search feature). You can add checking, saving, credit card, bank and investment accounts. Now, instead of having to log into all of your different accounts to check balances and transactions, you will have all of your accounts accessible in one place.
This will allow you to have an overall view of your finances. This includes a view of your financial accounts, your monthly income and spending, any upcoming bills, and any recent transactions you’ve made. Below is a sample view of the dashboard
After your accounts are in, you can now view all of your transactions. The Power Wallet app will automatically categorize your transactions (income and expenses). If something is put into the wrong category, you can easily recategorize the transaction yourself. And the next time, PowerWallet will remember that transaction type’s category. So it will take some time in the beginning (recategorizing transactions), but once you get through it, it will pretty much be smooth sailing from that point forth. You can also add keywords to certain transactions, and then search for a group of transactions based on that keyword later on.
On this page (labeled “My Plan”), you create your own monthly budget. What you do here is go through and tell the system how much money (expected spending amounts) will be allocated to each of the categories that you have set up. PowerWallet’s flexibility allows you to budget your spending from month to month, or for longer terms if you like.
It may take a couple of months for you to monitor this and see exactly what you spend and where you spend it. That in turn will allow you to see where you may need to curtail your spending and also where you may have an opportunity to save some extra money.
Below is a sample of PowerWallet’s Budget Page
Cash Flow Page
This is where the rubber meets the road. This page is your overall monthly financial picture. Here, you can monitor your cash flow (inflow – outflow = money leftover) in real time. Obviously, your objective is to be in the positive.
Below is a sample of PowerWallet’s Cash Flow page.
Finally, you will also have access to a calendar. This calendar has a build in alert function that features bill reminders, and alerts on low balances, large purchases and when fees get charged. These alerts will show up on your dashboard. You can customize these alerts, and have them emailed to you if you like.
So if you are one that has trouble keeping track, this can make it easy for you. And a feature like this can also be important because paying bills on time play a major role in your credit rating.
Below is sample of PowerWallet’s Calendar view.
So this is a basic overview of what PowerWallet is, and how it can work for you.
PowerWallet vs. Mint, HelloWallet & Others
Now there are a lot of similar budgeting programs out there like Mint, HelloWallet, Personal Capital, YNAB (You Need a Budget) and more (with Mint being the most established). Each of these programs do a lot of the same things (some programs may be strong in certain aspects, and weaker in others and vice versa).
However, Power Wallet (the new kid on the block) proposes to have a leg up on the competition because it also allows you to save additional money by taking advantage not only of coupons, but also daily deals that are based upon where you are located. This is why they ask for your zip code when you join.
On your budget (my plan) page you will see listings with special offers next to some of the categories that you have set up. This will show you personalized deals based on where you are located. This is the reason they ask for your zip code when you join.
You can browse shopping offers, get rewards points (although I’m not sure how rewards points can be redeemed), and also receive daily deals. The daily deals feature will show you daily deals from sites like Living social, Amazon Local, Groupon etc. And in the offers section, you can receive special offers on a variety of things including food, clothing and electronics.
All of this can be a blessing and a curse. So use this with caution. Getting a deal on something that you were not going to purchase is not a deal. So if you get carried away with all of these saving functions, you can end up spending more money. However, if you use it wisely, you can benefit greatly from it.
The PowerWallet App
As of right now, you can access your account from your Smartphone’s browser, and the company promises that soon there will be a PowerWallet Iphone app as well as an Android app.
Is PowerWallet Safe?
This is the million dollar question. Is PowerWallet secure? Or better yet, exactly how safe and/or secure is it? One of the big concerns with any online money management system is security. Many people shy away from these programs because they don’t feel secure having an online system access their financial accounts. This is a legitimate concern.
Power Wallet has addressed safety in the best way that it can be addressed (in my opinion). It utilizes some of the industry’s top monitoring, systems including Comodo WebInspector, Comodo and TRUSTe. And the site also goes through daily testing to ensure maximum protection against hackers, identity theft, spyware, viruses and other online threats.
More importantly, it is a “read only” service. Because of this, even if someone were to access your account, they would never be able to access your money as you cannot transfer money through PowerWallet. Also, you have the option of entering your accounts manually. Now of course, doing this will be more tedious. But it wouldn’t be any more tedious than doing a manual budget on your own.
Well ladies and gentleman, this has been my review of the PowerWallet app. I do believe that it is a great way for you to take control of your personal finances. This is the reason that I use it, and promote it. And for those looking for the the Iphone and Android apps, I will update this page as soon as I find out they come available (or you will certainly be alerted when you join).
Like I said at the beginning; having a cash flow plan is STEP ONE in moving from where you are to a state of financial security. So whatever method you choose to use, make sure you take this step! If you want to give PowerWallet a try, then click on the photo below and give it a whirl.
And until next time,
Free Your Mind… Online