Managing Our Personal Finances

by jessicaturner on October 4, 2009

At MOPS last weekend, Angie and I went to a finance seminar. A site that many people recommended was mint.com. It is a free website that helps you manage your money. It has gotten awesome reviews by Kiplingers and Money magazine.

Here’s what the site touts:
* Easy— set up in minutes (totally true, although I have spent several hours tagging our spending and “training” the site on our spending: ie: you label every single transaction you make into a category. Over time it knows that, for instance, World Vision is a charity.)
* All your accounts in one place (awesome)
* Alerts for bills, fees, budgets, and low balances
* Personalized savings
* Complete security and privacy (very important!)

I decided to sign up for an account this weekend and so far am really impressed – and very excited. Better management of our finances is an area that Matthew and I have really dedicated ourselves to improving on, and I really think this site is going to make a huge impact on us.

Do you use mint.com or another financial management software? What works for you? Would love any thoughts/feedback you have!
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Louise. October 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

For when I am older and out of uni something like this would be brilliant. As I do not have much of an income I tend to just work what I need to have saved each month in my head. Although, I have to save for Christmas from about August which kind of sucks :(

Mint.com looks great – make sure you let us know how it is impacting you etc :)

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Lindsey Marie October 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I'm not sure if you have PNC banks near you, but if so, you should definitely use their "virtual wallet" checking account! I pay all my bills through their online billpay, and they provide a calendar view of all my money going in and out. Then they alert me if there are days where I have more coming out than going in, so I have a heads up, if I'm close to over-drawing. It's fantastic!!

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Rachel October 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I've been using mint.com for about 8 months for my personal checking and I love it. I love being able to categorize my purchases on there and then look on mint and see what percent of my money I am spending on specific areas.
For our joint accounts and for all of our debt from college loans, my husband has a spreadsheet system that he has created and uses for us. It's been working for us, as we've paid off $20,000 in 12 months. Managing money can be difficult and frustrating when there are so many things I "want", but when I look at what we've done, it's the best feeling!

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jessica October 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I been thinking about using Mint but have been weary of handing over my password. Were you worried about that? I'd love to hear what more people think about the security.

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teasinglydiverse October 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I love Mint!!

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Missy October 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm

my husband has been using mint.com for a couple of weeks/maybe months now… loves it.. he's determined to get me to make the switch too! it looks really easy to use! love how you can manage your credit cards with it too.

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Kaycee October 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I actually built a spreadsheet in Excel to run our budget from and it works well for me. I like that I can control it and make it work just how I want. There are a few things about doing it myself I don't like but overall it goes well. I have another one for my checkbook too so I know what the balance is all the time and can review them from year to year. I'll have to check out mint though! I like the idea of it labeling the categories for me.

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a fool full of tired grace... October 4, 2009 at 5:58 pm

i get the comment about the security, but this looks pretty legit. i just signed up for it, and it was pretty cool the way they pulled all my information. not sure this will help me dramatically, but i like being able to see all my stuff in one place, and know what i owe.

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Amanda October 4, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I just signed up! Thanks for the website. We tried an excel spreadsheet starting in July in order to help our communication about money…but it just was too hard to manage the little expenses. It helped us track big bills, but not little budget items. I have just spent about 30 min on Mint and I think it is just what we need! Thanks!

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Kathryn October 4, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I showed my husband the site and we just signed up as well. Hoping that this will really help us stay on the same page with all our expenses and develop a workable budget together. (We've been married 1 year…)

We had a few questions for those of you who have used it awhile:
-are you able to export your data? (to say, Quicken, or to tax software?)
-can you manually enter past data? (I see that the site pulled data from the past few months…is there a way for us to enter info from before then?)

Thanks in advance!! And thanks so much for posting this site Jessica! I'm getting pretty excited about it!

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Jus and Kat October 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm

We use Mint, and for any iPhone users out there, there's a Mint.com app available on the iPhone. It's great for money-managing on-the-go!

Kat

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sabakose October 5, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I LOVE Quicken … I've used it for probably the past 7 years .. that's what works best for me. :-)

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Christi October 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I use Quicken, and have for years. Love it! It offers categorizing, budgeting, calculator, graphs, tax tracking…it seems to have the same features as mint.com. And you can download your accounts into it so it's easy to keep track of your spending. It's affordable around $40…I get one and then use it for 4 years or so before upgrading. I'm wary of going online with my financial information. With hackers, and identity theft, it just makes me nervous. Though mint.com does sound like it's got top level security and doesn't take your name or other personal identification…it still has all your passwords to important banking accounts. But it's good to know there are free options for personal finance management. Whatever method you use, you've just got to track it and see how you are spending to live within your means.

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Meredith October 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I am not comfortable enabling a 3rd party site with my banking passwords and accounts. However, I like Pear Budget. It has similar category setting and zero-budget balancing, but you enter the numbers manually instead from your receipts or bank transactions.

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