Having finally semi-sort of admitted to growing up, I figured it was time to take my finances a bit more seriously. Here’s a quick list of what this will entail…
- Treating my paycheck like I should, and not pretending I’m in college and don’t have rent to pay
- Putting money into a savings account
- Consider an IRA
- Sign up for direct deposit, rather than an actual check
- Doing that budget nonsense
- Not being an overall jackass with money
Yeah. Thus far, I’ve been pretty horrible with the money thing. Like, “John has 73 bucks until the next paycheck, let’s hope canned soup will do till next Thursday” horrible.
So, in an effort to be a bit more responsible, I’ve begun working with a budgeting system to help limit my spending. And holy hell, is it ever depressing.
I heard about Mint from a co-worker, and decided recently that this would be a positive step in my self-improvement. Here’s how it works. You upload your financial data [bank accounts, credit cards etc] to the site, and begin tagging transactions just like you would a blog post. Mint then takes everything you have, and breaks it out into an easy to use pie chart depicting how much money you spent in the past month on entertainment, bars, bills etc. Mint is a secure site, so when you log on, you’re promised the same type of security you get on your personal online banking site. So basically, no worries on any identity theft or what not. Who’d want to assume my broke-ass identity is beyond me, but I’m sure some of you have fiscally enviable lives, so rest assured.
Pie Chart Example
Here’s where the time waster will come in. Mint has so much shit you can do to save money, budget your life and tighten your wallet, you’ll become obsessed. Every little thing you do gets plugged into its internal calculator. After which, you can go in and change transactions from an unknown status to, say, “Travel”, so you’re more accurate when it comes time to evaluate your spending.
Then, after reviewing your spending history, you can give yourself monthly budgets. So if you tend to dish out about $200 a month in dining out, you can lower that to maybe $150. Mint will then email you when you’re getting close to your limit, just to make sure you won’t go over. They’ll also give you advice on better credit cards, the best way to pay off student loans, save for retirement and more.
I spent about 2 hours on the site last night, organizing transactions, setting budgets and checking out different tools on the site. Though honestly, about an hour of that time was spent sobbing over what a reckless money monkey I am, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that with this site, you’ll be wasting your time on something that can very feasibly help you in the long run.
Head on over to Mint and sign up, and make sure to check out their blog here.