I have been a Mint user for a little over a year now and I LOVE IT. I love it so much I wish, even now, that the moment I first heard Jean Chatzky mention it on an episode of Money Matters that I had gotten up off the sofa right then and created my account rather than waiting for as long as I did. I should have hopped up the moment she said it was FREE.
The love I have must be obvious because in one 2 minute conversation with my mom, I convinced her to try it and now, she LOVES IT, TOO. This is not to be taken lightly. My mom doesn’t really have a lot of patience for sitting at a computer, gathering ALL of the account numbers, passwords, secret questions and the like. Plus, she has a healthy distrust of the internet and its ongoing security issues that get played out on the evening news. Think Target, Home Depot, Ashley Madison, etc. But if you were to ask her, she would admit to those 2-3 hours of setting up her account as the best investment of time she can remember.
It has been a game changer for me.
Before Mint, I would check my accounts regularly at different websites plus kept a general spreadsheet of my income and expenses but never, had I had the ability and desire to gather ALL of my accounts in one place on my own. I think this largely had to do with not fully understanding the concept of net worth at the time.
With Mint, having almost all my accounts in one place takes allows me to know my net worth, my credit score, my due balances and most importantly, my financial trends. It is the TRENDS function that has me so excited right now.
I was playing around with the TRENDS function in a way I hadn’t before and was able to determine how I have been spending my money by category. I was particularly interested in the area of Food and Dining – specifically the Groceries sub-category. With Mint, I can compare trends over time. The options range among last seven days, last month 3 months, 12 months or the comparison can be customized for a particular investigating.
I beat myself up a lot because of the amount of money I spend on groceries each month. We are eaters in the Thrifty Image household. We like to eat, Mirror Image likes for me to cook and I take joy in our being able to come together over a delicious meal without the extra salt, fat or costs of eating out. But I really felt that the monthly costs were pretty high. So I took a look and compared my costs over the last 6 months with the previous six months then did the same with the year to date.
What a pleasant surprise!
I have spent approximately $1,000 less these last six months than I did in the previous six months on Groceries. And I know why. The Water Challenge in January and the current Meat Free March challenge. I have been perplexed by what has felt like excessive spending yet, the overall food category has gone done overall. Hurrah!
This is just one of the ways Mint helps me manage my money and gives me the tools to explore not just the money but better money management. With all of the information in one place, it is so much easier to manage the money and understand the nuances. With Mint I see:
- Cash (Savings) Account
- Investment (403b, 401K, Roth IRA, Schwab One, Betterment)
- Credit Card Accounts
- Housing Value (provide by Zillow)
- Vehicle Value
- Loans (Mortgage)
Accounts can be added (say you get a new credit card or open up a Betterment account) or they can be closed or deleted (perhaps your credit card number was stolen or your car was totaled and it doesn’t exist as an asset anymore). The only account I cannot currently see is Mirror Image’s Private College 529. According to Mint, there needs to be a pent-up demand and I guess I am the only one with that account. Another reason to transfer that account over to my State College Savings Plan!