Do you have a budget? In one form or another I think most of us do. I have a monthly budget. I plan out my month, calculating all of my bills. Then I figure out my income. Since I am self-employed this number can fluctuate a bit. I subtract the expenses from my income and the money left over is what I use for meals, gas, and other expenses like clothes, trips, and gifts. It’s a good system, but it could certainly be improved.
Enter Mint.com, a free budgeting software that can make managing your money a piece of cake. The set up is impressively easy. You sign up and are sent a confirmation e-mail. Once you confirm your e-mail address you are asked to add your bank account. You enter your bank, your bank log-in ID and password. Mint links to your account an imports all of your information. Mint uses what the describe as “bank level” encryption to protect your information and all of the information in Mint.com is “read only”. You can’t move money in your bank account or credit card through Mint.com.
Once it has your data Mint shows you a wide range of charts and graphs detailing all of your spending. This provides you with a great perspective of where your money is going and how you spend it. After a few weeks of use you should be able to locate places to cut spending and shrink your budget. To help you with this Mint will analyze your spending and make suggestion.
Right off the bat Mint suggested I was paying too much for car insurance. I had discovered this fact in a previous post. The price they suggested was the one I found. Suggestions like these are one of Mint.com’s greatest strengths. It is an excellent tool in helping me understand my budget and expand this view beyond a month to month perspective. This will allow me to examine my sending and make the changes that will save money. Mints suggestions will also offer my additional opportunities to save. The best part of all is that it’s free. You can give Mint.com a try and see if it’s a good fit. I think you will be pleasantly surpised. I know I was.