Family Finances – Manage your finances with Mint.com
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Hey friends! We have been talking about family finances for a while now. We discussed how to analyze your current financial situation, how to set SMART financial goals, and how to make a plan to get your finances under control. Now I want to share the tools I use to manage our finances. I spoke about Mint before, but I didn’t go into much detail, so I wanted to dedicate more time to it now.
Mint.com is my favorite financial website and app. I have been using it for about 5 years now. I first started budgeting by downloading statements from all of our banks into a spreadsheet and categorizing all of our expenses manually. That was exhausting. Imagine doing that on a weekly basis? or imagine doing that on one batch once per month? It was crazy! I knew there had to be a better way! I searched high and low and found Mint.com. Let me tell you all the reasons why I love it so much. (FYI – all the pictures below belong to Mint.com and are not from our own accounts)
Add all of your accounts – it’s safe!
I have been using Mint for over 5 years with no problems. I trusted them because they are owned by the same makers of TurboTax and Quickbooks, software used by many companies. Mint makes sure your financial information and login are protected by partnering with Norton’s VeriSign and by using multi-factor authentication. They also alert you of unusual spending, which is usually done by ourselves (Oops!)
Easily add all of your accounts: checking savings, credit cards and other loans like mortgage, car leases, investments and even properties.
Mint will proceed to download all of your transactions and categorize them to the best of its ability.
Easily categorize all of your transactions
Mint will try to categorize all of your transactions for you, but you should review it to make sure they are what you want them to be. For example, Mint usually categorizes daycare payments as Tuition, sometimes as Babysitting, but I rather categorize it as Education along with other related expenses. You can tell Mint to always categorize certain expenses as “__” whatever you want it to be, that way Mint learns how you like your transactions categorized and it does it for you.
Create and keep track of your budgets
This is my favorite part. Once you create your budgets and you categorize your expenses, they start falling into those buckets where you can keep track of them.
Green bars indicate you still have room for spending within a budget, yellow bars indicate you are nearing the max spending allowed for a budget, and red bars indicate overspending within a budget. There is a black line that goes across all budgets that indicates the day of the month. You want to try to keep all budgets behind that line, meaning you are spending as the month goes by, instead of spending all your money at the very beginning of the month and then being out!
Create and keep track of your goals
Mint.com allows you to create goals like ‘buying a home’, ‘buy a car’, ‘pay off credit card debt’, ‘pay off loans’, ‘save for an emergency’, ‘save for retirement’, ‘save for college’, ‘take a trip’, ‘improve my home’, and more!
At the end of the month, if you have some leftover cash, Mint recommends you to save it towards your goals, like use it to pay for college 7 years and 2 months sooner! Yes, sir!
Track upcoming bills and easily pay those that are due
Another super cool feature is their Bills section. Sometimes you might be like ‘Wow, I have so much cash in my account right now, let me go spend it all’ and then a couple of big bills hit and you have to pay overdraft fees. That has happened to us SO MANY TIMES and it still happens, I am not gonna lie. I need to check this section more often.
Mint allows you to pay bills right there from the app! It’s very convenient! That way, if you really want to know how much cash you have left over, you can go ahead and pay off all of your bills first.
Keep track of your credit score for free!
Why pay for credit score monitoring when you can have it for free, thanks to Mint! They also give you suggestions on how to improve your credit score.
Keep an eye on your investments
Another cool feature Mint has to offer is that you can keep track of your investments, compare your portfolio to market benchmarks, and instantly see your asset allocation across all your investment accounts like 401(k), mutual funds, brokerage accounts, even IRAs.
Mint can also help you reduce unnecessary or high managing fees, so you can grow your investments faster.
Get weekly and monthly reports on your finances
Getting weekly spending reports via email helps me keep our family finances top of mind. It also helps me better understand our spending patterns and trends.
Mint can also send you alerts every time you get charged fees, so you can learn to avoid them, and alerts about overspending on any given category, so you can keep your budgets on track.
Find savings with Mint’s recommendations
Mint.com is free! how can that be possible? Well, they do present you with advertising and offers from credit cards, banking and investment accounts, insurance, etc, and that is how they make money. All of their recommendations and offers are worth evaluating, but I do think they have to work on better understanding every user’s financial journey, so they present us with the right offers and recommendation at the right time. Like everything, before accepting any offer or taking in any recommendation, do your own research, form your own opinion and make your own decisions.
That’s my Mint.com review, I hope you found it helpful! I will be sharing all of the other tools I use to manage our finances in other blog posts. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me.