Everyone has their own way of keeping track of their finances. Some keep it at arms-length and don’t worry about it until they are buried in a mountain of debt, while others create elaborate spreadsheets for detailed financial breakdowns. However, the best way to manage your personal finances is with Mint.
Mint is one of the most intuitive, powerful and visually appealing personal finance applications out there. Simply create an account with Mint, connect your bank accounts (don’t worry, it is all super secure) and Mint will automatically pull your transactions. What is more, it will automatically categorize your transactions based on keywords found within the description. You can, of course, override these categorizations and manually add your own.
What is most impressive about Mint is how dead simple it is. Those new to tracking their finances will have no trouble getting started. At first Mint will simply pull your mess of transactions together so that you can easily go through them and visually see your spending by category. From there you can set budgets to track your spending throughout the month and help nip some of your bad spending habits in the bud. Obvious colour codes show you at a glance how you are progressing through your budgets — yellow means slow down your spending and red means stop!
Mint doesn’t stop there, however, as you can add any of your outstanding loans and track your progress in paying them down as well. You can set goals that allow you to track your progress in paying off loans or saving for large purchases (down payments anyone?).
What I find most useful about Mint is giving me a single place to catch any problems. Almost every month I find a transaction that requires a closer look and action. For example, this month I was charged twice for the same thing — something that was very easy to pick up on since I set a defined budget and received a warning that I had gone over the budget for that category for the month.
Mint also has mobile apps for most major mobile platforms that allows you a quick glance at your finances where ever you are. The mobile apps have a good deal of the functionality that you can find on the site. Notifications that work on the mobile application as well as through email reminders, allow you to avoid forgetting to make a credit card payment or pay the rent. These reminders have saved my ass on several occasions. The best part is that you get all of this for FREE!
Another life-organization recommendation from yours truly. [ Mint ]