Balance Your Budget Using Mint.com

No fees and no ads? What website still gives you both? Mint.com is an easy, reliable way to keep up with your budget and finances online. It has a clean interface and lets you break things down as specific as you want, or just sit back and have a general idea of what you want to spend and save.

Ways to Use Mint.com

  • Your accounts are shown on the site, but you can’t transfer money. You can see what amount of money is allocated to different spending categories throughout the course of the month. These categories include food, but are further broken down into fast food, alcohol and dining, groceries and more. This way you can see where you’re overspending and consciously cut back. If you’re spending the bulk of your food money on fast food, you know that planning is essential so you avoid the drive-thru.
  • Plug in your income and go from there. Let’s say you don’t know how to create a budget in the beginning. You can simply plug in your income and let the site track your spending for the month. From there, you can see how you are most likely to spend and budget according to that. This is a great tool because it realistically shows you what you spend on non-essentials like dining out and entertainment. While these things may seem frivolous, it’s important to note that you do need these things to maintain a social life and some fun. You don’t want to make these things expensive outings, but keeping them part of a budget is realistic and allows you to enjoy yourself while staying in line with your spending. This is a wise practice for the long haul versus binge saving and then binge spending.
  • See itemized spending. Maybe you’re spending $100 a month at the drugstore, and you chalk this up to “things you need.” Looking through an itemized list of each trip to the drugstore may show very different things, such as the $30 you spent on makeup or $10 you spent on magazines you could have read online. When you’re saving money, you can’t have it all, which is why looking at itemized spending keeps you aware of your purchases.

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