I’ve just begun using an app called Mint on myiPhone and iPad and I think it has the potential to make me a better manager of our money. In our house we’ve been fortunate enough for awhile to not have to live paycheck to paycheck, but with that financial freedom, we have slowly become less conscious with our spending. We do a number of the right things as far as not carrying a balance on our credit cards, putting money aside for retirement, and some in savings, etc. However, we are no longer intentional in our spending the way we used to be when money was tighter. We don’t really have a set budget that we adhere to anymore and, therefore, I don’t think are really aware of where our money all goes. I think Mint can change that, and that’s a good thing.
Mint.com is a website that aggregates all my financial information into one place. And, by all, I mean pretty much anything that has an online site and an account number. You can put in your bank accounts, investments, mortgage, car payment, credit cards, etc. Almost any account that you can access online, can be added to your Mint account. For me, it’s nice to see all of it in one place to get a better idea of our whole financial picture. Mint offers a number of built-in services, including budgeting, which is what I’m excited about setting up (it has a default budget in there, but it can be modified), goal setting (like, when do you want to retire and how much do you need to set aside monthly to get you to your goal), and reminders of when bills are paid. You can set up alerts for when you are close to going over budget, when a bill is due, or when there is a large change in an account, among other things.
It takes a little bit of time for the initial set up, just because you have to enter all the accounts and their information and permissions, but once it’s all in there, it’s pretty cool. And, the fact that I can access it from my iPhone and my iPad in addition to my laptop, is really convenient. There’s even a location-based (it finds the merchant) cash transaction option on the iPhone and iPad that allows you to enter cash purchases that wouldn’t otherwise be accounted for with the online accounts. Overall I’m pretty impressed with the comprehensiveness of the site and apps. I look forward to becoming much more intentional about our spending with the help of Mint.