Managing with Mint


I posted about Mint.com last year but I’m diving back into it. Every year I say I’m going to be better and every year… it never really happens. I have a new renewal on budgets now though! Plus Mint.com has a nifty little iPhone application and you know how I adore my iPhone applications…

I was actually reading a great article on ‘Getting Real With Your Finances’ the other day where the main point is that people always underestimate what they are spending.

“I find that most people tell you they spend about X dollars on something. What that really means is they spent X dollars plus 20%.”

It’s pretty amazing when you look at your transactions on the junk you are spending money on. So, let’s jump back into Mint.com. Once you download your transactions through your bank accounts, it auto-categorizes them for you but you will want to go in and verify them and see what categories your spending in.

My favorite place right now is the trends section.  You can look at the different months and each specific category to see what your spending is, what you spent the month before, and click through to see the specific transactions.  You can select specific graphs to see by category, merchant, over time, or by tags you have specified.  It’s fun to see all the graphs and make it a goal to to make sure all my transactions are in their proper little category so everything is nice and neat.

My second favorite is the ‘Overview’ budget area, or ‘Planning’ section. Click on ‘Add a Budget’ and it suggests what you should make from your previous spending.  Whether you want to start sticking to a budget, or if you simply want start being more aware of what you are spending, it’s a nifty tool.

Even if you sign up and forget about it, you can have Mint email you once a week (it can vary!) on where your accounts are.  You can also get really detailed by having it set up alarms (texts or emails) as reminders for any bills due or when your balance gets low.

There are probably tons of you out there who can run circles around me on budgets and keeping track of your money! What is your favorite tracking device of your spending? Give up the good details, I need to be better!

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