Mint is a free personal finance tool that lets you see your working budget at a glance.
In an increasingly online world, Mint’s technology is hailed for its easy-to-use programs and simple-but-informative graphics of an individual’s financial picture. The money management features help consumers pay their bills on time, save for big-ticket items, and monitor their credit scores in one stop.
Using Mint is simple and straightforward. Like many apps and programs, Mint initially requires extra steps signing on and connecting your accounts. Syncing accounts like checking, credit cards, and bills are key because this is how Mint works—by curating your finances and providing an overall picture at a glance.
Linking Your Accounts
Start by using your email to register on its website or on the app and create a password. Then follow the prompts to sync your accounts. You’ll see Mint already has connections with most banks and provides a dropdown search feature for them.
Mint also tracks the performance of investments and sends alerts on any suspicious activity.
You can connect your mortgages, credit cards, PayPal, and as many bank accounts as you’d like, among other accounts. Mint protects its users' account information with security features that are on par with those of a bank.
When you have all of your accounts connected, Mint will provide you an overview of your finances. The next step is to develop a budget. Based on your finances, Mint will offer a proposed budget for you, but you can adjust that. You can increase or decrease a budget item like “Auto & Transport: Gas & Fuel.”
- Mint.com is an online personal finance tool that allows you to track your spending and helps you make a budget.
- Mint is a free service.
- If you want to use Mint, you must sync all of your financial accounts, or at least the ones you want to utilize via Mint.
- Mint allows you to track your spending and your credit score, and you can sign-up to receive notifications on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
How to Create a Budget Using Mint
You can use Mint to view your spending trends and monitor progress on your budget. Over time, you can analyze your money habits and identify ways to improve your finances. Here are three ways to use Mint to help you stay on track with your budget and credit.
While Mint’s simplicity has drawn over 20 million users, according to its website, it also has more advanced features. Among its many tricks, Mint allows users to divide up purchases into multiple categories for a more accurate financial portrait. (See also: New Help for the Millennial Money Dilemma.)
Splitting Up Transactions
For example, consumers buying multiple products at Target may want to split their transactions into different categories like “home improvement” and “groceries.” To divide your purchases, click on "edit details" and then the “split transaction” button on the right side. Enter the amount you want in each category for a more accurate snapshot of your finances.
Entering your transactions manually allows users to track their cash spend. For this trick, make sure the drop-down menu says “cash” and Mint will automatically deduct the amount from your last ATM withdrawal so it is not deducted from your cash balance twice.
Mint users can customize an array of notifications to meet their needs. You can set daily, weekly, or monthly notices when you go over budget when your credit score changes or when you incur an unusual amount of fees. You can also set the notices so they send to another person as well, such as a spouse.
Aside from categories, a tags feature allows users to see their finances organized in another way. For example, you can layer another label like “fixed expenses” onto the categories to see what percentage you are allotting to fixed expenses like monthly bills.
The Bottom Line
Mint provides multiple ways for you to create and manage a budget. It’s noted for its simplicity and informative overview of your finances, and it is free to try. (See also: How Mint Makes Money.)