It is amazing how well a program can work, if you work the program. I signed up for Mint.com when Quicken Online went away. I signed onto Mint.com every once in a while, but wasn’t good about really paying attention to it. Lucky for me, you don’t have to pay too much attention to Mint.com and it still works for you.
So, what made the difference? What made me start paying attention to Mint.com?
As an adjunct part of 40 in 40 I have made a conscious effort not to buy a lot of food this month, but use what I already have at the house. I cleaned out and organized my pantry as part of 40 in 40 and put like items together. I was amazed to see what I already have. Having the pantry organized has made it so much easier to use what I already have.
I have saved on groceries this month and I my goal for May is to only spend money on fresh fruit and yogurt.
I wanted to see how much I really was spending on groceries, which is what brought me back to Mint.com. Thankfully Mint.com does a pretty good job of categorizing purchases on its own. I did go through, make some changes, and split some entries (the cost of diapers does not need to be included with the cost of my groceries) but quickly was able to see how much I have spent on groceries. So far this month: $148, which is almost $100 less than I have budgeted. This is great, especially considering I have definitely over spent in other areas.
Mint.com takes what you are spending and creates suggested budgets. It took me a little bit of time to figure out how to do it, but I did figure out how to create my own budget line items and adapt or delete the ones that Mint.com suggested. This is my new favorite feature. I can now see anytime, anywhere how much I have spent in each of my budget line items.
If you overspend a line item, you are sent an email saying that you have over spent. I love this feature. There is no denying what is in black and white.
You also get a weekly summary email. I don’t always read it, but it is a good reminder that things are going on with your money whether or not you are paying attention to it.
Being single and having no one to discuss my budget with, I love these emails. I feel like I have some accountability and that someone other than me is paying attention to what is going on with my money, even if it is only a computer program.
Thanks, Mint.com, for standing by me even when I didn’t give you a lick of attention. I promise it won’t happen again.