Let’s be real, living on a budget sucks.
There’s our rent or mortgage, our utility bills, groceries, and all that fun stuff we want to do that is, unfortunately, not free. Some of us are paying off student debt, medical debt, credit card debt, etc. It can feel overwhelming and frustrating. You have to sacrifice something fun, something new, something better to pay those living costs.
I’m sure many of you set a budget, by month, by week, or even by day to either just get by, save for something big and expensive, or have a little extra spending money. But, coming up with a budget takes time and is even harder to stick to. If you use cash, you get a visual reminder of what you have left each time you open your wallet, but for those of us who use our debit cards, you can just keep swiping and buying without really realizing how much money you’re going through.
On top of our basic checking and savings account, we have credit cards, 401Ks, student loans, auto loans, personal loans, secondary savings, and on and on. With so many accounts with a variety of banks, it can take too much time to login to each bank site to see where you stand on each account. So how are we supposed to keep track of all of this?
Well thankfully, there are a ton of apps and websites out there that were created just for this purpose, helping you keep track of your finances and build a budget. Today, I’ll be covering my personal favorite Mint.com.
Mint: Money Manager, Bills, Credit Score & Budgeting
I’ve used Mint for the last 10 years and, in my opinion, it just gets better and better. The site and app are powered by Intuit, a reputable financial software company, making it reliable and secure.
Mint has a variety of features and benefits and making keeping track of money and budgeting actually pretty easy.
On Mint, you are able to see complete overview of all your accounts. You can link:
- Checking and Savings accounts
- Credit Cards
- Investment accounts
- Utility bills
To link an account, you simply sign into your online banking via Mint to establish a secure connection. You can even add offline bills you pay regularly such as a babysitter
With all your accounts linked, Mint can monitor your spending. You can sign up for a weekly summary emails that will show you “Where your money went” during the past week by category.
It will send you various notification so you are always aware of what is happening on your account. Mint will notify you of:
- Unusual Spending
- Bank Fees
- Finance Charges
- Near credit limit
The Trends sections makes it easy to track and compare your financial history. The trends chart shows your spending and net worth month to month, showing which months you remained within your budget and which ones you exceeded your spending.
There is also a Ways to Save section that shows you various ways you can save or make more money off your money. In this section, Mint will show you credit cards you’re likely to be approved for, alternative banks to move your checking or savings to you that may earn more interest, show investment companies you can work with to make the most of your liquid funds, insurance quotes, lenders, and more.
Bill Reminder and Payments
Once your accounts are linked, Mint will track your bills and notify of your due dates and amounts. You can even pay your bills directly through Mint instead of writing a check and mailing or going onto each online banking account.
Your list of payments due will automatically update to show which bills have been paid and which haven’t, making it easy to quickly see what bills need your immediate attention.
Mint will send bill reminders if you haven’t submitted a payment and any late fees you received on any of your accounts.
Credit Score Tracker
Mint tracks your credit score for you and notify you when you have a change in your credit score. Mint will walk you through the various factors that go into your credit score, how they impact your score and how you can improve that particular factor in order to increase your credit score.
It also suggests general ways to improve your credit score and will most likely promote a few credit card offers (unless you actually need a credit card, ignore these. Just because it recommends one, doesn’t mean it is actually in your best interest).
Budget Maker and Tracker
You can create a budget and Mint will track how well you stick to it and alert you when you have used most of the allotted amount for a particular budget.
On the app or website, you get a very clear visual of where you are within your budget, nearing your limit, or where you’ve exceeded your budget.
In addition to the budget maker, you can set a financial goal and Mint will track your progress towards that goal. You can set a goal for anything! Paying off a credit card or loan, establishing an emergency savings, down payment on a house or car, college, a trip, home improvement project, whatever your dream is.
Comment below how Mint might be able to help you and your finances.