Budgeting, Featured

6 Reasons To Budget With Mint

If you haven’t heard of Mint before, it’s a super convenient budgeting app. It’s made by Intuit, a trustworthy company that also owns Quickbooks and TurboTax. The learning and set up curve could be a little tough (maybe 1-3 hours depending on how complicated your cash flow set up is, and how OCD you are about fixing your transaction data), but once you have it configured properly, everything is SO SO easy. The reason I’m able to write my Money Diary every week is because of Mint.

Transaction Data is Captured For Free

You can hook up all your various bank accounts and credit card accounts through Mint (read more about how they secure your data if you’re worried here), and Mint will pull in all the data for you so you can look at it all in one place. It’s SO convenient. I can see my checking account balance, my credit card balances, and my 401k and brokerage accounts all in one place! I can check my budget to make sure I’m tracking to the month and immediately see on a daily basis (if I want to) where I should cut back. And the best part is I don’t need to hand input 99% of transactions!

Mint Transactions List

Don’t get me wrong, hand inputting is great! It really solidifies your spending. It might make the consequences of your spending more visceral if you have to be reminded of every irresponsible spending decision you made. For those who don’t need that visceral reinforcement but haven’t found a more automated way to track their cash flow, you should definitely give Mint a try! For those who want to look at their spending more often but are blocked by how much effort it takes, you should also give Mint a try!

You Can Make a Detailed Budget and Track Against It

You can set up monthly goals and your monthly budgets as well as adjust them throughout the month. You can also track how you did on your budget every month and look back really easily on it. It’s super visual. I just love how I can do everything at a glance.

Budget Breakdown Overview

Tracking Everything In One Place

Mint is great for people like me who own more credit cards than they want to keep track of. I don’t spend on most of my cards, but I do split my spending between 3 cards. This way I don’t have to tally up each card total and then track my true total spending. Similarly, it’s great to make sure easily in one place that credit card payments have gone through and that nothing is wrong with my AutoPay.

I also love to use Mint to double check that all my other card balances are $0 in case my credit card data is stolen and the credit card company hasn’t caught it. It just adds that extra piece of mind without having to constantly log in to 8 different accounts! I used to do that, and it was a serious doozy.

This app is the most ideal for those who transact with credit cards the majority of the time because all of this data is captured as soon as I swipe my card since it’s pulled directly from my bank/credit account.

Side note, if you’re a credit card power user, you should definitely check out Paribus and Earny which track price drops on your purchases and gets you refunds automatically (read more about my experience using Earny)!

You Can Export It To Excel

For those who love their spreadsheets and all their color coordinated analysis, you don’t have to give this up at all! Mint lets you export all the data into an excel spreadsheet, so you can still slice and dice your data the exact way you want to!

I don’t know how most using spreadsheets set up their workbooks, but Mint makes it super easy as well to see past budgets (and our performance) as well as our general cash flow month to month. And they have pretty charts too! I do occasionally export some data into excel to do some really custom analysis, but most of the time, I find Mint’s built in charts and tables to be enough.

Mint Auto Generated Spending Charts

Real Time Sums

The worst thing about trying to look at my spending “at a glance” when I open my credit card account is that most times, the Current Balance isn’t correct. It’s always less than I’ve actually spent because I always have 5-10 transactions processing. So then I have to calculate my total credit – available credit. It’s even more difficult then if I’m trying to get a breakdown by category.

Mint calculates your real time spending against your budget. So even if the transaction hasn’t finished processing, if you’re looking at your spending in a certain budget category, it’ll be more accurate in accounting for how much you’ve used in that category at the time you’re looking at it!

You Can Track It On The Go

Mint also has a great mobile app that’s a bit more simplified than the web app. The best thing about it is fingerprint login so it makes popping open the app even easier to just do a quick 2 minute scan over the day’s transactions. I’m a little addicted to this and will do it while I’m standing in line for lunch or waiting for my afternoon work coffee at the machine.

What do you use to budget? And why does it work for you? If you use Mint, what are you favorite features?

I’ve given you some reasons why I love Mint. But as I said initially, the setup can be pretty difficult. I’m so excited to be launching my Budget Mastery course that teaches you how to set up Mint from start to finish. It teaches you the ins and outs of setting it up as well as strategies to easily maintain your budget! I would love it if you give it try!

3 Reasons Why People Fail to Follow Their Budget

  1. They don’t track all their expenses
  2. They don’t make adjustments to their budget
  3. They don’t set realistic goals for their budget

In this course, I will teach you:

  1. A foolproof system for complete expense tracking
  2. How to setup a customized budget that fits your income, bills, and spending habits
  3. An easy system for quick budget adjustments and accountability
And more...
Jing is currently a software engineer based in Oakland, CA. She left her job in New York, moved to San Francisco unemployed, and more than doubled her salary in 4 months.

8 thoughts on “6 Reasons To Budget With Mint

  1. I used Mint back when I was eliminating my CC debt and student loans. I literally went on Mint everyday to check out how I’m doing on my monthly budget and see the amount of my debts going down. It was a great way to keep track of all of my transactions and really pushed me to get it down to zero.
    Today I’m using personal capital since they are great with investment accounts but like you said Mint is great for keeping track on your spendings.

    1. I feel like that’s me! (checking my Mint every day)! I’ve tried Personal Capital before, and while their transaction data feature is just as great as Mint’s, I really dislike how you can’t set up a budgeting system! It IS way better for tracking investments though–Mint always seems to have some weird way of graphing the data and it’s never made sense to me!

  2. I’ve been using Mint since mid 2010. I really like being able to look back and see how my spending has changed over time.

    Actually, it’s kind of terrifying to look at my food spending over time (https://goo.gl/hc38To)

    Mint doesn’t do multiple currencies well so the change when I moved to SF is less pronounced than if all of those bars were 30% taller for the last 2 years

    1. Same! I love looking at my history–though back then I was less diligent about categorizing friends paying me back and offsetting the category, so maybe my spending would be the same?

      YIKES! San Francisco, seriously…I’d love to see the difference with the currency change, though maybe it’d just be too scary to look at.

  3. I love Mint! I like it better than Personal Capital to be honest. My favorite feature is the ‘Trends’. So easy to see spends on different categories. And I’m constantly checking my net worth graph, too!

    1. Yeah, I just hate how Personal Capital doesn’t have a detailed budgeting feature! What’s the point of knowing all my transactions without any way to quantify it?From the looks of your post today, there’s gonna be a lottt of net worth tracking in the coming months 😛

  4. I used to be a Mint fanatic until Personal Capital won me over. To be frank, I haven’t tried Mint again for at least four years so they might have improved. The one feature I liked about Mint was the detailed budget tracking. I might give it another go-around one of these days out of curiosity but I’m pretty happy with Personal Capital.

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