Using for budgeting

17 Replies

On one of the webinars was suggested to help with budgeting. Do many people use this and if so, how do you like it compared to other budgeting options?

I am an accountant and I personally use mint for myself and my fiances finances. I love it, its online, pulls data electronically and categorizes most of your purchases for you. Obviously you have to do some adjusting here and there but otherwise it is great. You can set up a budget and goals and track your progress against them. It is made by Intuit so it is created by a reputable company which is why I have no issue putting my personal information in the site. I highly suggest that you give it a try especially if you are having a hard time knowing where your money is going. It can be a great tool to help get your finances under control!

I stopped using Mint a while ago, but since they bought the app that I was using (Check), I've decided to give it another shot. I use an app called Toshl to track my daily expenses though to keep my cash and debit transactions handy. It takes some work, but I just use it once/day in the evening and plug everything in. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give MINT about a 9.2. Pretty easy to use. Fairly intuitive. Lots of pretty charts.

My wife and I have used it consistently for about five years and we definitely get benefit from it.

At several points throughout the month, I go in and categorize every line-itemed transaction. This is good for giving a visual on where your personal money is going and allows you to sort of relive the spending moment and ask yourself "is that really where I want my money going?"

For us, the two consistent and pronounced weaknesses involve eating out and going to coffee shops. Dang. Love 'em both. But also love saving for Real Estate.

I wanted wanted to add that I love and I think it's a great tool for keeping track of personal fiances. Anyone wanting to get started in real estate should have an mint account and clear tracking of all their personal income and expenses before buying property. This tool is easy to use and views nicely with great layout and functionality. I high recommend this app, as I have been using it for five years and it has changed my life, allowed me to keep track of my savings, and eventually buy my first rental home with a large down payment. I don't even know of the other options, I just know this one is free, easy to use, and powerful for the average consumer.

updates to accounts are slow, loaded with ads.

It was always the prettiest, but it also runs the worst. Yodlee has consistently been a better infrastructure with a far worse interface.

Personal Capital seems to have the best of all 3. Beautiful design, loads and interacts fluidly, and they solicit (albeit very politely and infrequently) to investors with liquid funds over 50k for income, so no need for ads.

Account Closed I use mint for personal finances.  Thats about all it is good for.  You need to get a better report generating software to manage your business.  Currently i am using Quicken for MAC.  Its not great, but i have used before for personal finances and am familiar with it.  I paid $35 on sale from intuit.  I tweaked it a bit so we can track all of our business accounts and generate detailed spending reports. I am not saying it is the best our there, but works for me for now.   

Like others have mentioned in the thread, it gets the bulk of the transactions right, but you do need to check in on it and categorize some purchases on a regular basis. I also find it to be buggy at times, dropping login info to my accounts or not refreshing them right.

That actually played to my advantage recently, however, where it failed to refresh the activity on one of my credit cards and that allowes me to spot some fraudulent activity that had already been wiped from my CC statement.

Personal Capital is really great - love their retirement calculator. I'm more familiar with mint's transaction history interface, however, so I continue to use both somewhat regularly.

I am an accountant as well. I personally find using QuickBooks to be a great way to keep track of personal expenses. You can generate a variety of reports (income statements, balance sheets, bank recs) to see how you are doing and keep track of the categories you are spending in very specifically. You can also link up your software with your bank to download transactions to avoid the manual input. Some people will find QuickBooks to be less user friendly than Mint but if you are going to be investing in real estate it is very helpful to become proficient in business oriented software.

I tried to use Mint for a while but didn't like it. I think the principal of tracking expenses and categorizing them is a must. For me it seemed like there was too much in the "other" category for spending and I couldn't conceptualize what it actually was.

I switched to my own Excel spreadsheet that I made. It took me maybe an hour to setup but its got everything I need with respect to my personal finances. I know a lot of people don't like using excel for personal finance because the data entry can be tedious, but I find that it really only takes about 5 minutes per day for me to enter my purchases in and its a habit I've created for myself. It has become my "One Thing". 

This is mainly what I look at. I like to make projections for my self a few months in advance, and plan out my expenses and debt services. This way if I am in a particular month I don't need to question what amount do I need to contribute what what debt service? The payment plan I laid out for myself is already there in the projected section for me. 

This is what is currently working for me. I imagine that as finances get more complicated in the future I will graduate to a better method, but for now this works great for me.

Why would anyone agree to put all their private financial info into one app that could be hacked/breached at any time? If Target can get hacked, so can Mint. No thanks! I'm not going to make it easier for me to get hacked then it already is.

What really helped me understand Mint was reading: Mastering Mint. I used to spend hours on building budgeting spreadsheets and this helped learn how to budget in a more efficient way. It also cleared up any questions I had on the security of Mint.

Signing up on Mint is slightly overwhelming. I was almost at the point of closing my account.

One tip I would suggest for using Mint is to continue with it and really get involved with the budgeting tool. One thing that I like that Mint includes on the Create a Budget screen is your historical spending vs the US National Average. Meeting or beating the US National Spending Averages should in general be a good goal to start with.

I've used an app/website for nearly two years now called EveryDollar. It's basic, to the point and has changed my life. There is a free and a paid version. Create the budget, drag and drop the transactions downloaded from your bank and it displays the remaining value for the month. Like others have said, having a great personal financial foundation and understanding is essential to growing your business!