There are a lot of tools that help folks with their finances, and this Friday, I want to tell you about the one that has made mine (and a zillion other people’s) better, easier, and more logical. Mint.com is a resource that, once you get to know its quirks, makes taking a big-picture view of your money choices a snap.
I started with Mint.com because of Husband – he liked the idea of linking all the accounts in one place so that they would be easily visible and we could make sure we understood where we were, financially. I was a little weirded out about giving all my passwords and usernames to a software, but in the end, the time it saves is worth the risks involved; while there are hacks every few days it seems, Mint has a very strong motivation to keep your information secure, because they would lose their whole premise if they lost your info!
When Mint compiles a dashboard of financial accounts for you, it allows you to see how much debt you have, how many assets you have, even a Zillow estimate of your home’s value, and get a pretty up-to-date net worth. It allows you to plot trends, make goals, and set budgets. My budgets were set automatically based on our typical spending over a few month period, but I still check them periodically because it helps me rein in certain areas of spending when the month starts feeling kind of spendy.
What is most valuable to me about Mint.com is that it gives me cold numbers that show that we are progressing toward our financial goals. Most of us like to save in theory but get out of hand when we have to give something up in order to save. Seeing the progress we are making is what definitely makes me willing to pass on expensive coffee drinks, new clothes, or a more expensive holiday destination. It’s not without its confusing elements, but Mint is worth the time it takes to explore and take charge of it.