Mint.com is a free financial management website that allows users to input their monetary accounts (checking accounts, auto loans, mortgages, etc.) and helps users analyze trends, make budgets, and create goals. It was founded in 2006 and bought by Intuit (the makers of Quicken and TurboTax) in 2009.
Upon creating an account, it will ask for your ID and Password to numerous sites (Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, etc.) to acquire all your data (cash, credit card debt, car loans, mortgage debt, etc.) from their respective sites. I was very nervous about inputting that information, but after doing some research on the company and website, it seems very secure. (After trying the website out, if you are still nervous and delete your Mint account, just go back to those sites and change your password.)
Once Mint.com works its magic and imports all your data, the left-hand column will show all your accounts divided by Catagory:
THE HOME PAGE (Overview Tab)
This will show you:
Alerts : such as finance charges, budgets you went over, etc.
Advice : such as utilizing a Balance Transfer or transferring to a Roth IRA (this is where they make their money, through referrals).
Upcoming Bills : ‘nuff said.
Budget : Shows any budgets you created.
Goals : Shows any goals you created.
Stocks : ‘nuff said.
BUDGETS, TRENDS, and GOALS
Through Pie Charts and Bar Graphs the Budgets and Trends tabs show you how much you’re spending monthly. You can analyze and decide if there are areas where you can trim to save money, or allocate more money. For example, maybe you’ve gotten into a habit of dining out too much (who, me?) and need to set up a budget to wind that spending down a bit.
In the list of purchases you’ve made some items will come up as “Uncategorized” and you can assign it to the appropriate one. This will help you figure out how much you’re spending on entertainment, food, transportation, etc.
My Budgets for March
As you can see I spent less in gas than I budgeted but more on groceries. By clicking on a budget I can also compare my spending to the US average:
Say you want to set up a goal to pay off your credit cards, it will show you how much you’d have to put down to accomplish that in 1 month, 1 year, or whatever time frame you choose. It will also recommend the amount to put down on each card based on the interest rates. This will suggest putting more down on the cards with higher rates, thus saving you more money in the long term.
Below is a picture provided by Mint.com of Goals (because I’m too embarrassed to show my high credit card debt and low retirement savings):
A Sample of Goals provided by Mint.com
Overall it’s a neat tool to have at your disposal. Whether you need help managing your money, or you just want to keep track on spending habits, this is a great (and free!) way to do that without paying for an adviser.