I feel like kicking myself for not checking out mint.com sooner! Multiple bloggers I read have mentioned it but it wasn’t until last week that I finally checked it out. I spent this past weekend adding all my info to the site and setting up a budget. I am already totally sold that this is the method of cash flow management for me!
Why I think this method will work for me:
I love that I can see all of my financial data on one screen. Now I won’t have to log into every single account to check balances, due dates, etc. I am already almost 100% online banking/ cashless and this is a great tool to manage all of my online accounts in one place.
I love the budget tool. I have tried doing cash only and separating out my little stacks of cash into different funds based on a budget but it always ends in failure. I find it way too easy to spend cash and generally find that the more cash I have on hand the more likely I am to give in to all of the smaller temptations (like junk food). Since almost all of my transactions and expenditures are either made online or via card, it’s going to be super easy to sort my expenses into the budget categories and allot extra income towards my goals! Plus, I think with all of my data in one place it will be a lot harder for me to “hide” bad spending from myself… yes, I admit that I sometimes “forget” that I’ve spent money I shouldn’t have during the month. At least now I’ll be able to get a much clearer picture of where all my money is really going.
Why this method would not work for some other people I know (thinking about my mom and S here):
They don’t do any online banking, bill pay, etc. To use this method you have to maintain an online account for anything you want to automatically track and include on mint.com. In my mother’s case, she just hates computers and prefers to do everything the old fashioned way: paper, paper, paper. I really have no tolerance for paper clutter and can’t understand how she can keep thousands of pieces of paper in order to make sense of her finances. In S’s case, he doesn’t trust the safety of online accounts. Obviously, keeping your information safe when doing anything online is extremely important. I’m pretty diligent when it comes to account information, passwords, etc. but I can see where online banking could be disastrous for someone not following basic online safety tips: http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/11/technology/online_security.moneymag/index.htm.
Even though it’s just a financial management tool and won’t increase the amount of money I have coming in or the amount I can pay towards debt, I’m hopeful that by using this tool I can get a much better understanding of my finances, spending habits, and goals. I’m excited to see if using this tool will have a big impact on how I handle money.