Mint Review: A Free Online Budgeting Program You Might Like
February 11, 2013
One of the most popular personal finance applications out there is Mint.com. Not too long ago, Mint was bought by Intuit, the same company that puts out Quicken. And I’m going to be honest. One of the reasons I was disappointed with the latest version of Quicken (other than the fact that the new version for Apple’s OS X is terrible and not worth buying) is that it looks less like the awesome Quicken 2005, and more like Mint.
What Mint Offers
Mint is popular because it makes it easy to track spending, and you can put together a budget fairly easily. Because Mint connects to your accounts, it updates your situation regularly. Mint will take the information from your checking, savings, and credit card accounts, using the login information you provide, and display it for you.
Because Mint is web-based, you can access your financial information from anywhere with the Internet. You can also download an app for your mobile device, and keep the information with you while you are on the go.
On top of that, it’s possible to set up your own categories, and even set up alerts for bills and other items of importance. Mint makes use of attractive visuals to help you find trends in your spending, and keep track of how much you have spent in certain budget categories.
Mint is good for tracking your spending, and determining whether or not you are making progress with your budget. You can see your financial information in one place, and it’s updated with information right from your accounts.
Where Mint Falls Short
For the most part, Mint is a rather simple budget tracking application. You can see where you are at right now, and see what you’ve been doing with your money. However, the options when it comes to tracking your investment portfolio aren’t as robust.
If you want to keep up with your investments, you might be better served to use an application like Personal Capital. Quicken and Moneydance (I use Moneydance) also allow you to keep up with your portfolio, but you might have to manually enter items.
Additionally, there are some complaints by users that income and expense categories aren’t always accurate, and that sometimes manual corrections are needed.
Should You Use Mint?
Mint is free to use, since the site makes money by recommending savings and other financial products to you. If you sign up for what Mint recommends, the service gets a kickback.
If you want to track your spending, and you are interested in getting help making a budget, Mint might be just the ticket. It’s simple to use and visually engaging. Additionally, it takes the effort out of tracking your spending.
Personally, Mint is not my personal finance software of choice. I prefer to manually enter most of my transactions, since I find that it helps me spend more consciously. Additionally, I like the more traditional ledger look of Moneydance.
And, as I mentioned before, if you have more complex finances that include investments, Mint probably won’t meet your needs. You will need to supplement in other ways.
Think about your own financial needs, and then decide whether or not Mint is the best personal finance software for you.
Do you use Mint? Leave a comment and let others know what you think!
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