Know what you have – Post #1

31 08 2008

If you are reading this blog then hopefully you are looking for ways to save money.  Of course, before you can save money it is important to know what exactly you have.  Do you know how much money you have in your checking account?  Do you know how much money you have in savings?  Credit card debit?  Student loans?  Do you know your interest rates on these accounts?

If you’re like most people, you don’t.  With the Internet and online banking it is pretty easy to log into these accounts and see exactly what you’ve got, but often times you have to log into several hard to nagivate sites.  This is where Mint.com comes in super handy.  For over a year now I’ve been using Mint.com for online money management.

Mint.com is a free web service that pulls all of your financial info into one super easy to read and easy to use web site.  Mint will pull the info from credit cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, checking accounts, savings accounts, etc and build reports that show spending trends and your net worth.  This service is a great tool to help you get a handle on your spending habits and let you know exactly what you have (and what you owe).

Mint will send notifications to your email or cell phone to let you know when payments are due or when your accounts are low.

Mint will also let you know how you can save money; for example if you have a Citibank Credit Card with 24.99% interest, Mint may show you offers of credit cards with lower interest rates and an estimation of your yearly savings.  Another example would be if you have a Bank of America Savings account with a 2.00% APY, Mint may show an offer for a HSBC Direct Savings account with 3.5% APY and an estimation of how much more interest you could earn in a year.

Another great feature is Mint’s budgeting.  This feature allows you to budget your monthly expenditures for several different categories.  Once you’ve established these budget limits you can opt to have Mint send you an email or text message warning if you are in danger of going over budget.

The one complaint I have with the service is their lack of support for small local banks and credit unions, but they are compatible with all the big boys; Citi, Chase, Bank of America, HSBC, ING, PayPal, Capital One, WaMu, Wells Fargo, and many others.  They also have a fairly broad selection of regional banks.

Mint is really worth a look if you want to have a handy way to see all your finances and discover your spending trends and ways to save.

In order to save money you must first know how much you have and how you are spending it.