As a recent grad with my first job, I’m currently living at home.
But I have one goal: I want to move out by January.
This means I need to start thinking about my finances differently. I need to see where all my money is going. Ahh! The horror!
But Mint.com, a free website, is helping me track, budget, and manage your money—in ways that I never thought possible.
Here’s a 10-step guide for setting up an account:
First, enter in an email address and a password. Notice that Mint.com never asks for your full name or address. This is a safety precaution. You’ll learn why in the video below.
Loading your account information
I was worried about putting all my bank information online. But Mint.com is a credible site. It needs your account information so it can track your charges. After you make an account, Mint.com has banks listed for you to choose from. All I had to do was choose my bank and enter my online account log in and password.
Adding other accounts
Mint.com has space for you to add many other items, as well. If you have a credit card (something I will be getting soon), you can add that in. You can also include loans, real estate properties, and cars. Mint.com will help you keep track of your bills and help you manage your payments.
Include your credit score
Mint.com offers you two websites to choose from to get your credit score. When you include your credit score, Mint.com will help you make responsible choices to improve your credit.
Complete your profile
It’s important to fill out the profile, so Mint.com can understand your spending habits. It includes basic information, such as age, gender, and marital status to education level, profession, income range, and residential status.
Set financial goals
Mint.com helps you save your money to reach your financial goals. On the Mint.com, you can either choose from its goals of: debt and loans, saving for emergencies, retirement, or college, buying a car or home, or saving for trips or home improvements. There is also an option to create your own goals. I simply went in and made an “I want to move out—now” goal.
Organize your transactions
This can be a very daunting task. Mint.com can look at your bank statement and categorize all of your spending. So, when it sees that I spent $30 at Nordstrom, it categorizes that into shopping. If you disagree with the category it has put your transactions in, you can manually change them. These categories will come in later, when you are planning a budget.
Adjust your income
After selecting the budget tab, you need to update your income. Make sure you edit the details to reflect your monthly income, after taxes are removed. In order to make sure this is accurate, you need to go to your transactions and find all of the transactions from paycheck deposits or direct deposits. Make sure they are categorized under “paycheck,” so that Mint.com will be able to keep your income accurate.
Learn to budget
This is where you are able to visualize where you are spending your money. This part is kind of fun. Well, until you realize that you are spending way too much on caramel spice lattes at Starbucks. There are so many choices of what to include in your budget. I decided to focus on the big areas where I spend my money (alcohol and bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping/clothing).
Let Mint.com do the work
Mint has a lot of other great features. It also sends you emails or texts to alert you when your balance is low. It also have a fraud protection plan, which will alert you if they feel your identity has been stolen. There is also an app so that you can track your money on the go. I’m addicted.
Worried about privacy?