[tabi] improving your handle on your finances with mint.com

  • From: "Chip and Allie Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 20:34:13 -0400

Hi all,


I wanted to mention that I make use of a financial site owned by Intuit,
which I've found to be quite accessible, called mint.com.  I believe others
here might find it easier to use than trying to make your way through the
variety of statement formats from all the various financial institutions you
have to deal with.


It's helpful in figuring out your spending habits, automatic budgeting, as
well as watching all of your accounts and investments for things you want to
be alerted about, and it will generate automatic email and/or texting alerts
to you.  It gives you a summary of all your accounts, and totals for the big
picture, and the various smaller pictures you let it know you're interested


It really is quite helpful, very secure, and free.  Below is a review from
PC mag:







editor rating: outstanding


Highly automated way to track personal finance and budget your money.

with all major banks and financial institutions. Superior setup process.
Quick and

simple to get started. Tutorials teach right information from the get-go.

controls. Ads are actually useful.


Not for those who dislike automation.

Bottom Line

Mint is the best personal finance software available. It's free and

but even the ads add value to a fantastic tool for managing your money.


Jill Duffy

Mint.com is hands-down the best personal finance service. Fresh in my mind
are the

experiences I've had with several other online services and local software

some of which focus on helping individuals get out of debt and others which

replicate Mint. All pale in comparison in at least one area, and often in
more than

one. Mint has the most efficient setup, excellent usability, and well-honed

for customizing Mint's automation. Mint gives you the best control over your

even though it does most of the work for you.

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Page once




Mint connects directly to all your financial institutions so that every

appears in its ledgers without you lifting a finger. Every transaction is

categorized, too, and when you need to adjust something, intelligently
designed tools

let you do it once, for many transactions (if you choose),


in a way that can teach Mint how to better handle the same payment or income

next time it happens if you want. Other sections for budgeting, setting

goals, and learning how to better invest your money also impress, making
Mint a five-star

service and easily our Editors' Choice for personal finance.

View all 7 photos in gallery

Mint's Exquisite Setup

A huge part of what makes Mint so successful is the ease and efficiency with

it helps users establish new accounts.

I've had far more tedious experiences setting up competing personal finance

such as the online Mvelopes (free to $9.95 per month) and the offline

YNAB (You Need a Budget)

($60, 3 stars). Both of these systems focus on budgeting almost exclusively,

than net worth and investing strategies (which Mint provides, including the

of your real estate and other properties, should you choose to list them).
And the

process of establishing budgets in those other programs relies heavily on

rather than your actual transaction history. Sure, you can adjust your
finances month

to month as you start to see patterns, but Mint reveals those patterns for
you from

the start.



Setting up a free Mint account is a cake walk. After you create a password,
the website

takes you point by point through everything you need to do: authenticate
your bank

accounts, link to credit cards, and decide whether any of these accounts
should be

kept separate or "hidden" from your working finances. One example is an

fund account you don't want counted as available money.

Once the basic accounts are connected-and mine populated with more than a

worth of recent transactions within about two minutes-Mint offers you a
guided tour

of all its features. Compared with Mvelopes, an online service that left me

what the heck "sweep envelope" setting might do to my money, Mint gave me
all the

information I needed to continue using it properly right then and there.

Page once

(4 stars), Mint's closest competitor, doesn't go the distance in giving you

information you need at the point you need it most.

Working With Your Money

Mint.com's interface is one of the best I've seen: clean, crisp, colorful,
and so

simply designed that you can't get lost. The dashboard, or Overview screen,
is also

very good, providing you a one-page summary of every element of your
financial picture,

updated once a day at least, more often if you force an update. All account

run in a vertical pane on the left. You can click on any of them to see a

or an informational page. Alerts, like having a low balance appear at the
top, and

you can fully customize these to what you want


to get alerts by email or SMS.

As mentioned, Mint calculates your net worth, and it displays that figure

at the top of your Mint account, although you have total control over what
is and

is not included in that figure. In fact, you have total control over all the

spending categories, exclusions, marking money movement as a transfer rather

a payment or income, and so forth.

The essential features, like keeping track of your spending and allocating

to various budgeting categories, are really only the beginning of what you
can do

with Mint. Goals are treated separately, but they get full attention to
detail, too.

You can plan to create an emergency fund, save for a vacation, put away
money for

a down payment on a house, and much more, with built-in calculators helping
you establish

a plan that will work for meeting your goals.

Ads and Security

One thing you can't fully control is advertisements, but even these are

useful. Mint is free through targeted advertising. Very targeted
advertising. For

example, Mint noticed the piddly interest rate I'm getting from my current

account and suggested some other banks where I could be earning more money.

the top navigation pane, you can move into the Ways to Save section to look
up additional

financial institutions that would very much like your business, and you can

set some parameters to help you find the ones that directly meet your needs,

factors such as starting balance and number of years you're willing to

Understandably, whenever you use an account aggregation site like this one,

good to know what kind of security is behind it. Mint.com uses bank-grade

which means it doesn't even have access to what you type. From the Mint

you can't initiate transfers of money or payouts of any kind, which means no

else could either.

Fully Minted

Mint.com's usability, up-to-date look, and smart blend of personal finance

make it an obvious recommendation for people who want a guided tour through

spending, budget, and investments. The fact that it's free seals the deal.

Mint.com is the best tool for managing personal finances, and the easiest
one to

use, making it PCMag's Editors' Choice. If you're concerned about your
finances (and

who isn't?), you really ought to try Mint.com. You've got nothing to lose,
and a

lot of insight to gain.


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