How was your weekend? We had super mild weather this weekend which I adore.
Jeff and I had our Third Annual Financial Summit this weekend :-) It's actually just when we sit down in January and figure out our finances for the year (and how much damage we did during the holidays). I HATE doing this, but it's so helpful for me to get my head around it and then, with the exception of some minor adjustments along the way, we don't have to really worry about it again.
Here's a brief video introduction if you're interested.
So here's how we use it: All of our accounts are linked to Mint and are constantly updated. Checking, credit cards, students loans, everything. All of the transactions for these accounts are also automatically updated in Mint. So I log on about once a week, make sure our transactions have the correct label like "groceries" or "auto expense" and then check in with the Mint budget that we've created. Below is an example I found online, not ours (although I wish our rent was $525!).
This is mostly helpful because I'm terrible when it comes to cash flow. If our checking account says we have $2,000, I automatically think we can run to the nearest Anthropologie, until Jeff reminds me that our rent is due in 2 days and the cable bill is on it's way. Oh. Right.
I like knowing exactly how much money we have left this month for 'Restaurants' or 'Entertainment' and I like that the budget is completely customizable, so you can create your own line items and adjust them as you go. You can also set up savings goals and payment plans.
The catch? Mint is totally free. There are ads in the form of 'Check out this high-yield savings account', but they're easy to ignore and are not of the 'pop-up' variety. That's it.
Some notes: I know a lot of people are concerned about their online banking internet security and I considered that too before joining. But I read up on Mint's security and from a cursory glance, it looks like it's the same as the rest of my online banking. Also, it's like they use to tell us in the sorority... "The more you put in to it, the more you get out of it." I have found that Mint works best for me when I look at it at least once a week. If you're only checking in once a month, it's probably not the service for you. It takes some work up front to figure out how you want Mint to work for you, but once you've made some adjustments etc, it's the BOMB!
Ok, Mint infomercial over, you may stop yawning and get about your day.