With bills, rent/mortgage, student loans, credit cards, savings, and much more, how do you keep track of it? I sat down with a client who said, “I know exactly how much I spend each month, I keep track of it in my head.”
Keeping track of your finances in your head, may not prove to be effective, especially if you’re not a budgeter. With increases in technology, you don’t need to keep a running tab stored in your brain. What happens when you forget to pay a bill?
|”Every time you visit their site, your financial data gets updated automatically. It presents your financial information in a slick easy-to-use web interface, with pretty graphs and all.” – Investor Junkie
Three years ago, I met with a financial planner who wanted to help me set up an investment. He said, “we take care of all the confusing stuff for you. You don’t need Mint and other software that confuses you.” I thought, “what’s Mint?” After the appointment, I set up an account with Mint and never talked with him again. I’ve used Mint religiously since. I wanted to share with you why I’ve used Mint and the benefits it can bring you.
What is Mint and Why Should You Use It?
Mint is a free money management software that was acquired by Intuit in 2009, the same company that owns Quickbooks and Turbotax. It’s user-friendly with a clean user interface. It allows you to have a clear overview of your finances. It’s simple and connects to your bank account to help you stay on top of managing your finances.
It has helped over 10 million Americans reduce their debt, pay their bills on time, and increase their overall net worth. You’ll find boatloads of other great software to use for your money, but from what I have discovered, none of them come close to the features and accessibility of Mint. So, what are the features?
It’s incredible that Mint offers this software for free! They receive their funding through companies who offer deals such as car insurance, investments, and just recently, loans, and many other offers on Mint.
You can ignore the advertising links, but if you really are in the market for different products, it’s a great place to shop around.
With the amount of online fraud, it’s common to worry about your personal information being stolen. It’s usually a concern for people to connect a third-party to their bank account. However, Mint uses bank-level security. They cannot transfer funds or access your account. They can only view it as read-only. Kind of like taking a snapshot of your bank account balances and putting it all in one place and giving you a quantitative analysis.
Mint is also analyzed and certified by prominent third-party providers like TRUSTe, VeriSign and other trusted professionals in online security.
We love having everything in one place. Mint is your financial dashboard where you get a complete overview of your finances. Having it in one place can bring a lot of peace of mind.
Imagine the days before Walmart when you went to multiple stores to buy what you needed. Now you get everything at one store. Mint does the same, no need to go to each bank, loan, or credit card website separately to view your balances and payments.
Free Credit Score
You’ve probably heard of free credit scores and how they are not accurate. Let’s be honest, what credit score is actually accurate? Once you sign up for the free credit score, it may be off, but the biggest benefit is the summary of your overall credit situation.
From payment history, credit limit and usage, inquiries, and more information that explains why your credit score sucks or is really good. Although it may not be your exact credit score, it’s smart to have a rough ballpark estimate of where you are.
How easy is it to forget when your bills are due? It’s a good idea to set up automatic payments, but for those bills that are variable, set up an alert to be sent to your phone or email a number days in advance so you’ll never miss a payment.
Mint has more than 20 types of alerts to notify you of fees, warn you if you’re going over budget, or let you know if something seems suspicious. With Mint Bills, it makes it super easy to pay your credit cards, car payment, and even tithing all in one place.
One of my favorite things about Mint is the Trends section. Have you ever wondered how much you actually spend each month? What categories do you spend the most on? Or how your net worth has changed over time? You can select what trend you want to view to give you a clear idea of how things change month to month.
“You can’t manage something you don’t measure”
A few years ago, I was asked to write out all my expenses for the month in a class. I wrestled with myself to think of everything I spent my money on each month because it always changed. When I finished with my expense sheet, I knew in my mind that it was not accurate. Next month was going to be different!
With trends, you can take the average amount spent each month throughout the entire year, or multiple years, which will give you a clear idea on the actual amount of money that is spent on different categories each month and it will let you know if you go over on your budgeted items.
Each of us has goals: going on a vacation, saving for a home, paying off student loans, saving money for Christmas gifts. Mint will help you reach those goals by helping you assess the full amount the goal would cost you, set a specific date in the future, and how much money each month needs to be allocated to that goal. It will let you know each month where you put enough or not enough money towards your goals and whether or not you are on track to achieve it.
With all the services offered to you at no cost, why wouldn’t you use it? You would probably think that I work for Mint, but that’s not the case, I’m just a raving fan. I always look forward to the new updates they roll out. I love when other people tell me they started using Mint because of how much I love it.
The only downside with Mint I’ve found is the investments section. I haven’t understood how my investment accounts are aggregated and how I did compared to the market. Mint is great for basic money management and budgeting but if you’re looking for something a little more in-depth that gives you a clear idea on how your investments are performing, I use Personal Capital.
If you haven’t opened a Mint account I urge you to do so. Stick with it for a few months or years and I hope to hear from you on how your experience has been. It’s safe, free, accurate, easy to use and convenient. The software has many more capabilities and features that I didn’t mention, but that you’ll soon discover.
It’s time to be good with your money.