Follow your money online
For tracking your spending, forget Quicken and Microsoft Money Plus, says Reuters’ Linda Stern in the Los Angeles Times. Unless you already have “years of data invested in those desktop-based programs,” a new crop of Web-based budget tools could help you track your money “faster, easier, and more productively. And, oh yeah, for free.” The big three—Geezeo, Wesabe, and Mint—all have different strengths. So look them over and choose the one you like the best. “And be prepared to switch.” But whatever program you use, “the simple act of tracking your money will make you richer. Really.”
The weak dollar and you
The tanking dollar may not affect your pocketbook too much, says Kelli B. Grant in SmartMoney. The dollar fell to a new record low against the euro yesterday, and it “will fall even further” following the Fed’s rate cut. That weakness means you’ll pay more for imported goods—but the price hike will be larger on “products from Canada, Australia, and Europe than those from Asia,” where currencies are tied to the greenback. And “market competition plays a role, too.” With retailers expecting “their worst holiday season in five years,” many will opt to take the brunt of the increase rather than “risk losing customers at the cash register.”