Manage your debt with online tools

Hands holding money in front of computer

Consumer debt can usually be traced to two main culprits: a loss of income or poor money management.

A financial hardship is a sudden and often unavoidable situation resulting in a dramatic decrease in income, increase in expenses or both. Although you can plan ahead by putting emergency money aside , you might have little, if any control over job loss, illness or other financial emergencies that lead to financial stress.

The same cannot be said about poor money management skills. If you fail to budget, save or spend money in line with your income, you're going to be in debt.

To help manage debt and get finances back on track, take advantage of online money management tools. Many of these tools cost nothing and provide the guidance and organization needed to pay down debt and regain control.

Some of the more popular features available include online bill payments, expense tracking and reconciliation of bank and credit card accounts. These money management tools provide a great opportunity to pinpoint where your money is going and what steps can be taken to improve problem areas.

Mint.com offers a free online personal finance management suite.

The site, which boasts more than 5 million users, pulls financial information from all of your accounts, making it easy to track spending and stay on top of investment and bank accounts. Mint also provides charts and graphs, which allow users to compare accounts on a month-to-month or annual basis. This makes it easier to see where your money is going and cut expenses to save more over time.

Also, check with your bank to see if it offers online and mobile bill payment options, which can aide in the management of your accounts, as well.