Image
Top
Navigation
July 25, 2008

Mint.com – A Fresh Look At Money Management

ss-mint

If you are like me, you probably have numerous financial accounts at various financial institutions, and keeping track of them all can often pose a challenge. Many of our money organization problems can be easily solved with Mint.com, a personal finance application that tracks activity in each of your accounts and presents its findings to you in a clear, organized manner.

After entering your account information into the system once, Mint will automatically track your banking activity at the end of each day. For those who are concerned with sharing such important personal information online, Mint uses military-grade encryption to help ensure that all transactions remain secure. To increase anonymity of its users, Mint does not ask you for your bank account or credit card numbers, and the site has received numerous seals of approval from various security organizations, affirming that the site is safe. Additionally, you can request Mint to alert you if any kind of unusual spending trends occur in your accounts so that you may thwart thieves before your monthly statement arrives in the mail.

One of Mint’s goals is to help you plan and manage your spending budget. As Mint updates your accounts, it will categorize your spending habits, showing you how much you are spending on groceries, gas, rent, entertainment, and beyond. The information it gathers from you can be arranged in a visual graph to help you better understand your financial situation. The site will also offer you financial advice tailored to your personal spending habits to help you yield the most from your accounts.

Mint goes far beyond simple budget tracking. The site boasts an expansive database consisting of over 5,000 financial institutions, and every day Mint will scan different financial institutions to see if you are getting the best rates. Mint can also be set up to send you an alert for when an account is running low on funds or to remind you of an upcoming bill’s deadline. Surprisingly, all of Mint’s services come free of charge, giving you much to gain by signing up for this useful online service.

Practical Uses:

  • Break down your spending habits into specific categories to better understand where your money goes and to help you build a budget for the future
  • Quickly identify the amount of money spent each month on dining out in order to curb spending
  • Prevent unwanted fees by receiving email alerts to remind you of upcoming bill payments or low account funds

Insider Tips:

  • Click on “Ways to Save” to have Mint show you credit card deals and other money-saving services that might help you save
  • To get extra advice about finances in general, visit Mint’s company blog to read articles, personal stories, and money Q&A segments
  • The SpendSpace feature allows you to anonymously compare your spending habits to other members on the site to see how your budget stacks up against the general population

What We Liked:

  • Mint automatically updates your financial activity so you never have to upload your bank or credit card statements
  • The site automatically breaks down your spending habits by category, organizing your information into an easy-to-read graph to help guide your future spending plans
  • After a few minutes of inactivity, Mint will automatically sign you out of the site in order to protect your financial data and personal information

What We Didn’t Like:

  • There are several quirks with the way Mint handles automatic renaming or re-categorization of transactions sometimes resulting in mistakes

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: September, 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Mountain View, California
  • Founded by Aaron Patzer
  • Web site: http://www.mint.com

Costs:

  • Free (funded by optional money-saving offers)