Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Broke Student Toolkit: Easy Budgeting with Mint.com

We've heard about it before - the idea of "budgeting" your money, and keeping track of your spending. For most of us, it probably goes in one ear and out the other because it just sounds like a lot of work. Well, back in the day, it was. You had to do a lot of math and keep track of a lot of receipts. Gross. Lucky for us, we live in the age of technology - and this means that budgeting your money today is SUPER EASY. The site I'm going to tell you about today literally does the entire thing for you: it keeps track of all of your spending, categorizes it for you, analyzes it and alerts you if anything is amiss, such as spending more than you're earning. If you use the full functionality of the site, it can keep track of everything from where most of your money is going to your credit card and student loan debt. And it's FREE.

The site I'm talking about is https://www.mint.com/. It's an easy-to-use personal accounting website, essentially, and it's been making my life a whole lot easier. I can now log into the site and quickly see exactly how much money is in my account, where and what I spent that money on, and set budgets for myself. I'm going to give you an exclusive sneak peek into my Mint.com account and show you EXACTLY what it looks like (DON'T JUDGE ME on my spending habits, promise?) Go ahead and click on the picture to make it bigger and check it out. I didn't have to do ANY of that myself. Every time I use the debit card attached to the checking account that I hooked up to my Mint.com account, Mint automatically labels and categorizes the type of purchase I made. I can go and edit it if it's not accurate, but 99% of the time, it is! (Note that the only "Uncategorized" category is SmartyPig LLC- that's a sneak peek of next week's post!)

Now say I've used the site for a month or two, and I'm curious as to what I spent all of my money on - why am I so broke? Well, click on the picture to the right - that's a graph of everything that I spent my money on, added up and categorized for me -
AUTOMATICALLY. I didn't do this in Excel, guys. I just clicked the "Trends" tab. That's it! Using this handy little tool, I can see that in June, I spent almost as much on food and alcohol as I did on rent. Oops. I could also look at my net income - how much I made, minus how much I spent - and look at overall spending for whichever months I want. I can choose several different graphs to look at, to finally solve the problem of Why I'm So Broke (Food and "dining" - that means going to bars. No surprise there, let's be honest. Though I did cut my grocery budget from $100/month in June, to $40/month in July, so this month's should be much better. See, guys?? The site is already working for me!)

The other functionalities of the site are things I haven't had a chance to explore, as I'm thankfully free of credit card debts, student loans, mortgages, etc. But the site is very helpful in regards to those things as well. Overall, it's an EXTREMELY easy way to budget, and I think that the best way to save money is to know exactly WHERE your money is going! So I highly recommend this site to everyone and anyone. What are you waiting for? Go sign up at https://www.mint.com/! BONUS: A lot of paid-to sites offer rewards for signing up on Mint, so you can actually earn some money just by signing up and using the site! How's THAT for a good budgeting incentive? InboxDollars pays $1.00 to sign up for the site, and Swagbucks pays 90 sb. Some others might as well, it's definitely worth checking out!ly


  1. I tried using that once and it would never load correctly for me :(

  2. Hmmm, what browser were you on? I use Chrome and it works just fine! Or maybe it wasn't able to link to your bank account's site?

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