Monday, January 5, 2009

Financial New Years Resolution

It seems that new years resolultions so often revolve around fitness/diet and finances. My fitness resolution is to run run and run some more. And my diet resolution is to eat more vegetables and cut fried foods (bye bye doritos). Our financial resolution is to track more carefully our monthly spending. We do pretty well at managing getting the bills paid and scheduling in bigger purchases, but I know we could do better at simple budgeting.

A great resource for this is Mint.com. Joe did some research on its safety---and apparently they have the same sort of encryption and online safety tools as a bank's website. So we imported all our accounts and I'm really looking forward to using it. The only unfortunate thing is that there's a programming problem with our credit union's website that they are working out, so for us it isn't working properly yet. Thus I can't give a full review about how it's changed our budget lives, but for the accounts it is working on and the layout of the site I can see how it will be very useful.

What it is: an online budgeting and spending tracking tool. It also suggests ways you can save money.

How it works: you tell it what accounts you want it to track, give it your passwords, and when you log on it "grabs" all the information from all accounts. Then it uses its software to analyze your spending and make suggestions for ways you can save. It can send you emails or text messages if your spending exceeds the budget limits you've set yourself. Lets say you budget $50 a month for eating out and you make one to many trips to Wendys...you'll get an email/text reminding you. I think that is pretty amazing.

You can read more on their website. In particular read this segment about privacy and how they protect your financial information. In all, it's the best budgeting/money tracking tool I've seen. Joe and I briefly tried Quicken and became very frustrated with the errors it had in importing data from all our accounts. So if you are frustrated by whatever tool you are currently using, or if you want to just start tracking your budget more actively, I suggest mint.com

I hope you all have a great and financially superior 2009! What tools do you use for budgeting and money management? Trust me, I need all the help I can get.

5 little remarks:

JcbMyHntz said...

Have been able to get it to tell you the place you have spent money??? I tried and all I got was an amount with POS DR PURCH. so it wasn't that helpful for me.

Luthi said...

I AM SO EXCIETED ABOUT THIS LINK!! THANKS FOR IT!

Tiff said...

Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? I really love his philosophy. (Including the cutting up of our credit cards.. I spend WAY less money!) He wrote a book called The Total Money Makeover, and does lectures called Financial Peace University. Check out his website: www.daveramsey.com.

Anyway, thanks for the info on mint.com - I think it could be a great tool to go along with what we already do!

Kimberly said...

Anna,
I always learn something from your posts. Thanks for the homework you do for the rest of us!

Kaela said...

Seriously, thanks for being such a great source for so many relevant and 'good things'! Keep all of your great tips coming! (I love your last post too- I am the worst decision maker... well, I try to make good decisions and think I do a pretty good job, but have the hardest time making up my mind sometimes and am so thankful for the agency we have been given to adapt change, learn and grow!!)

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