I’ve talked before about how much I love Mint.com for tracking our spending and keeping us on budget.
But a number of you have asked me just how that works – and what exactly I do with Mint.
It’s a good question – because Mint can be pretty intimidating at first. And frankly, it took me several months of using the software to really appreciate just how useful it is.
That’s because to get the most out of Mint, you really need to interact with it – i.e. tell it what to do. It takes a few minutes each week, but that small investment is so worth it for us.
In order to help those of you who are struggling to figure out the best way to get a hold of your spending, I thought I’d write a couple of posts on how I use Mint.com.
For the uninitiated, Mint.com is a FREE online budgeting system, which helps you to track spending, savings, debt repayment and more. In a nutshell, it makes organizing and managing your money a whole lot easier.
Today I’m going to talk about how to get started – by adding in all your accounts.
I know it’s nerve racking to give your credit card and bank account information to a third party, but the security that they use on Mint.com is the same that your bank uses. It’s just as safe as you can be with any online financial transaction.
When you log into your account for the first time, it should automatically prompt you to do this. If for some reason it doesn’t, just click on the link that says “Accounts” at the top of the page. Then select “Financial”.
Start by entering your checking and savings accounts. Add in your credit and debit cards, too. Once you do this, Mint will be able to pull your transactions (we’ll talk more about that in Part 2).
I also suggest adding in your retirement accounts and any other investment accounts. The more data Mint.com has to draw from, the better it will be able to help you get organized – and stay on track.
I was going to do a play by play with pictures of each step of this process, but then I came across this helpful little video from Mint.com on YouTube.
Now that you’ve entered your account information, it’s time to move on to your assets.
Enter the details about the worth (the retail value along with any debt) of your car, your home and any other property you own. You do this so that Mint.com can keep track of your networth. I know there are some super organized people out there who track this all on their own. But I love having Mint tell me where I stand – without me having to do a single thing.
If you know your credit score (and hopefully you do), you can even add that.
Once all this is done, you can take a break for a couple of days.
Next week, we’ll be talking about how to categorize your expenses, which is really the heart and soul of the brilliance of Mint.com. Stay tuned!
(If you’re not yet signed up for Mint.com, you can do that HERE. Then play along in this step-by-step tutorial.)