Budget Web Site Tracks Your Spending In Real Time - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Budget Web Site Tracks Your Spending In Real Time

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With the bad economy, people need help budgeting their money. A new online tool can track the money you spend in real time.

Scripps Ranch personal trainer Mara Owens is an expert at helping other people work out. But when her marriage of 20 years came to an end, he suddenly needed help working out her own budget. She decided to try out a web site called The Expense Tracker.

"This is an accountability thing for me. People come to me for accountability for their nutrition and exercise, and this is my accountability for managing my money," Mara said.

It took Mara just five minutes to enter her personal information and annual income after taxes. The Expense Tracker then estimates the dollar amounts she should be spending each month in a string of different categories.

"My biggest categories as far as spending are groceries and gas," she said.

You can tweak the dollar amounts to reflect your own expenses. Then, as you make purchases, simply call in the amount you spent via toll-free telephone line or text message, and your online budget is updated in real time.

"It is absolutely real time. I call and I get this little lady and she tells me how much I have," Mara said. "I can literally hit speed dial, say 'groceries' and it will tell you, you have $400 left in groceries this month."

Expense Tracker Vice President Eric Tippetts says you can also sign up for a debit card that ties into the system.

"Just by swiping the debit card, it automatically logs it into the Expense Tracker into the categories with the amount," Tippetts said.

Mara says she never imagined how simple it can be to track her expenses online. Now she's working out the kinks in her monthly spending.

"I'm trying not to eat out a lot because it's expensive. See my grocery bill - now that's huge," she said.

The Expense Tracker costs about $10 per month if you sign up for a six-month contract. It also gives you a seven-day free trial.

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