Mint Personal Finance

Being a college student is hard on your finances. You have to pay rent, buy expensive textbooks, and let’s not forget your student loans! For me personally I know managing money can be frustrating, especially when you feel like you are living paycheck to paycheck without any real idea of where your money is going.

Mintcom

This is why today I decided to share about an amazing piece of software that helped me organize my financial life. What I am talking about is Mint personal finance. The program works with iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. Best of all, it’s free!

To get started, you sign up for a free account. Then you input all your financial information, such as your bank accounts, credit cards, even your student loans. Mint then aggregates all that information into an easy to read format, letting you see everything at just a glance. With one look I can see if I have enough money in my checking account to pay my credit card, without having to go to different websites to cross-reference.

Mint understands that you might be hesitant to share your sensitive financial information, and I can assure you the software is safe to use. Mint uses 128-bit SSL encryption, the same security that banks use, to keep your data safe. Also Mint is read only, which means you can’t actually transfer money in or out of your accounts. So even if someone did hack into your Mint account, they wouldn’t be able to do anything once they got there.

One of my favorite things about Mint is the budget. I’ve tried to create budgets before, but never have been very successful. I always had trouble figuring out where my money was going, and how I could better control it. Mint is awesome in the fact that it auto-categorizes my expenditures for me. For example, if I get a burger from Carl’s Jr, it will automatically list that purchase under the ‘Fast Food’ category. It has lots of pre-made categories that pretty much cover everything you could want, but it also lets you create your own categories and determine what goes into them. This is great as it lets me see where my money is going, and Mint creates helpful and easy to read charts and graphs telling me what I have been spending my money on.

budget_bar_chartUsing this information, I can easily set a budget with Mint. I simply set my income for that month, then list how much I think I will spend in each category. As the month goes on, I can see exactly how I am doing with my budget, and I can get notifications if I go over my budget in any of the categories. I can also shift money from one category to another, say if I felt I was going to go to see more movies that month than eat out. This has been extremely helpful in letting me control my spending, and I have been surprised at how much I have actually spent in some categories.

The last part of Mint I am going to talk about is the savings feature. Mint lets you create a savings goal, be it to buy a car or pay off your student loans, and you tell it either how soon you want to achieve the goal or how much you are willing to put in each month. Mint then does the math for you and tells you what you need to be saving each month to reach your goal. It then integrates this data into your monthly budget, making sure you are actually putting in the money you said you would each month.

As I have said before, the best part about Mint is that it is completely free! The software is ad supported, and will offer you deals for different banks and credit cards. Yet this never gets in the way of the actual use of the software, and you don’t need to pay to access any special features. This is why I can highly recommend Mint to everyone as you have nothing to lose. I would encourage you to try the software out and see if you like it. I think most of you will feel the same way I did, that Mint is one of the best things out there for free. So take a moment and sign up for Mint.  Get yourself back in control of your financial life.