Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mint.com: A Free Way to Manage Money

I have been trying to improve my credit score and pay more attention to where my money is going. And I came across the perfect site to help me do just that.

Mint.com is my new budgeting tool. It reads my spending information based on my credit and debit card purchases, savings accounts, checks written, bill payments, car and student loans, etc. And tells me where I fall in comparison to myself and others. It helps me set up spending limits and tells me if I've gone over budget in a certain area - Mint will even text me to let me know if my interest rate has changed, if I am charged a late fee, or if my account balances fall below a certain level. Granted, my bank will do this as well, but my bank doesn't have the rest of these awesome capabilities.

Trends: Here's what the 'Trends' category looks like. As you can see at the bottom of the page you can choose which month you'd like to look at, or look at several months at a time. Here I am looking at just this month. When you hover over each area, percentages show up. You can click on any slice of the pie to have it broken down further. For example, 'Auto' would break into: Car Payment, Gas, Insurance, and Parking.



Budget: Here is the page that shows budget. Since I just set up Mint, my budgeting isn't quite on track yet. And I get a little confused on this part, like how do I classify fees that I pay once per year (car registration, renters insurance, etc). As you can see from the empty Spa & Massage line, I am WAY overdue for my monthly pedicure. I also need a haircut but that's one of those things that isn't done monthly. You see how this part can be confusing? I like the trends section better.




Compare: There's also a feature where I can compare my spending to others in my area or any city. Since I carpool, I think I spend less than others when it comes to Gas/Fuel. This feature is neat but pretty pointless, really. I also don't think it's accurate if it's pooling data just from other Mint users. I mean, with fluctuations in the amount of users per month and those who may not categorize every purchase, this could be way off.



There are those who are skeptical about Mint because of security issues. I admit, it was quite a hurdle for me to get over. It can be kind of scary giving one website all your login information, and some may even say I'm stupid for doing so. But hey, as you can see -- I don't have enough money to matter to anyone. So in the meantime I'll let Mint help me out.

2 comments:

Brian said...

The one I like a tad better is, wesabe.com. Although, not as automatic, it feels easier to use and more friendly. Plus, it doesn't require you to give them your credentials, if you don't want to.

Bananza said...

@brian --

ooh, wesabe looks neat! if i'm feeling ambitious i might have to try that one and then do a comparison post. the security looks great there too.