We’re all doing it. Cutting out a coffee break, buying used instead of new, skipping the manicure.
The last two weeks have involved a serious overhaul of my finances. Instead of keeping a ballpark bank account balance in my head, it’s become necessary to account for every cent.
A few months ago I signed up for mint.com after a recommendation from a friend. It made me a little nervous to put all my financial information in one place, but receipts and bank statements weren’t giving me a clear picture of the problem.
I did some research on Mint before signing up. I’m always a little skeptical of anything that asks for my financial info. The reviews on some of my fav tech blogs put my mind at ease. But it was a review on blippr that sold me. One user wrote, “Mint reveals a disturbing trend: I buy as much fast food as groceries. ugh.” That’s the kind of analysis I need.
Based on your income and bills, Mint creates a budget for you. Every week it gives you an update on how you actually spent your money. It also alerts you when a bill is overdue or when you go over budget in a certain area.
I tried some other budgeting sites, but they required me to update my information every month. With Mint, I entered my information once and it does the rest. The easier something is, the more likely I am to use it.
There’s also a debt reduction feature. Mint looks at the interest rates on your credit cards and loans and helps you pay off the most expensive ones first.
According to a post on Mashable today, Mint is also beta testing a new feature called Financial Fitness. Basically it shows you what you’re doing right, what you should have done, and what you can do right now to improve your finances.
The one thing Mint can’t help you with is self control. I’m very talented at talking myself into a night out on the town. And Mint will not stop me. But it will send me a text message saying I exceeded my dining budget.
Have any other online money resources? I’m always open to suggestions! Leave a comment!
This post was written by jjarvis on April 28, 2009