Let’s be honest, traditional budgeting sucks! Tracking all expenses and managing different bank, student loan and credit card accounts is a hassle to say the least, but it is still vital to the LIVE RICH philosophy. Loot and I have found a great alternative though. We have begun to use a site that really takes the “ugh” out of budgeting and have retired the mundane process of using Excel spreadsheets. It is Mint.com. Mint has made our budgeting lives so much easier as it pulls all your financial accounts into one place and allows you to set a budget, track your goals and do more with your money, for FREE. The setup process is extremely simple because gathering your bills, loan statements, receipts and account statements isn’t even necessary. All you need are the usernames and passwords to your various accounts and you are ready to join the 7 million others who are currently using this wonderful financial tool. Understandably, you may be concerned about registering all the usernames and passwords of your financial accounts to some source that is not the site they are intended, but rest assured Mint has top notch encryption and security. It is backed by Intuit – the same company behind TurboTax and other finance and accounting software. That’s means they use 128-bit SSL encryption–the same security that banks use–and all data is protected and validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe. Plus, since Mint is read-only, no money can be moved in or out of any account.
Upon creating your account, a popup screen is shown that allows you to connect to your different accounts by entering your login information. Once the different account information has been input into your profile Mint will link to your accounts and populate income and expenditures. You can then set a budget and create plans to reach your personal financial goals. So in a few quick minutes you can see how much money you wasted on fast food, how much money you really spent on gas and clothing, and how close you are of reaching your goal of saving for that down payment on a new automobile or home. Trust me, it doesn’t get any easier than this. Mint constantly tracks and monitors your progress online and will help you achieve your goals faster by offering helpful free advice, monthly summary emails and next steps to better your financial future.
But that isn’t even the full extent of Mint’s capabilities; it tracks bills and offers reminders, allows you to pull or enter your credit score and even calculates your net worth—the feature I found most worthy. Be careful about your net worth though. You may become slightly depressed if you find that your net worth, like mine, is less than zero. Seeing your less than stellar net worth is a good thing though as it can provide motivation to better manage your debts in hopes of increasing your assets and your overall net worth over the long term.
Making it easy to keep your budget with you on the go, there is also an app available for both Android phones and iPhones. I can’t guarantee that you will enjoy budgeting, but I promise once you set aside a few minutes to set up your profile staying on top of your budget will be easier than ever. So check out Mint.com and peruse through the site to get an understanding of all it offers. Then go on and set up a profile. As Loot and I learn more about it, we’ll share and discuss. You should too. And always remember it’s more than money. It’s a lifestyle. LIVE RICH.
Sites That Link to this Post
- New Money: Finance Advice for Grads | May 21, 2012