Track your budget

Although I love to shop, I’m always on top of my finances.  As you may or may not know, I’m cheap. So I use the free budget tracking website Mint.com.  It’s owned by Intuit, the same company that makes TurboTax and QuickBooks, so it’s trustworthy.

Set-up is super easy. On your first log-in you input all of your log ins and passwords for bank accounts, credit cards, loans, retirement accounts, mortgages, student loans, store cards, etc. Mint downloads all of your transactions and you (or Mint) assign a spending category to each transaction. On future downloads, Mint will use your previous category assignment to categorize new transactions. Mint also does a pretty good job of recognizing merchants and assigning the right category. You can always change the category and add your own. You have the option of splitting transactions into multiple categories, too.  Cash transactions can be manually added as well.

After a couple months of using Mint regularly, the software gets to know your spending habits. It does some magical calculator math and determines your budget for you. Trust me, it’s a bit shocking. But it does make you more aware of where your money is going.  You have the ability to change the budget limits and the software lets you set financial goals.

Mint keeps track of your payment due dates and alerts you on the site and by e-mail. It recommends ways in which you can save money. It also shows your your net worth. Eek!! Nothing like a good slap in the face from a stupid computer.

I fully recommend Mint. I’ve been using it for years and I’m 100% satisfied. I log in at least 5 times a week and I know where every penny goes.

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