Minting Your Money

I've seen lots of questions lately about personal finance and spending so I figured I'd put this up for those of you interested. I'm not trying to endorse any products, just saving a monkey from dumping 100/hr a week cash down the drain.

Some of you recent hires may feel like you hit the lottery compared to your poor college days. You may not be sure how to track your spending or whether or not you are able to save any money. That's where Mint.com comes in. It aggregates all of your financial information into one easy place to view. Checking account with your employing bank? Savings account back home? New Roth IRA? Students loans? No problem.

You can't actually move any money around on Mint, it simply lets you view your "flow of funds". Perhaps you spent $4,000 on models and bottles this month and historically you spend $2,000, Mint is going to let you know about it. You can even track your Lending Club investment account through Mint. Mint also has a feature that helps you save money, whether it's through CD rates, trade commissions, or credit cards, you put in your data, and it finds stuff tailored to your needs.

Every one of us strives for the proverbial "F you money" as BSD's; but until we get there, why not save some bucks along the way?

Comments (41)

Nov 30, 2010

I apologize for putting this in the i-banking area, there really wasn't another place for this thread. Perhaps we could add a Personal Finance forum tailored for the "what should I do with my 401K questions?".

Nov 30, 2010

Don't worry about the forum where you post something Ben, its no big deal.

+1 for the Mint suggestion. It is incredibly useful, low cost and very versatile. I found it a few months ago and it has been a great resource. The weekly email updates are good too.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Nov 30, 2010

My favorite tool is probably the "Spending By Category" under Trends. It shows me how much money I blow on Food & Dining every month.

Dec 1, 2010
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

My favorite tool is probably the "Spending By Category" under Trends. It shows me how much money I blow on Food & Dining every month.

I average 80-85% of my monthly spend on Food & Dining (i.e. bars). I used Mint for a while when it first started but I got sick of it telling me that I'm basically throw away my money. Now I just wait for my year-end AMEX report so I just have 1 big swift kick to the balls instead of a smaller, weekly one.

Dec 1, 2010
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

My favorite tool is probably the "Spending By Category" under Trends. It shows me how much money I blow on Food & Dining every month.

+1 this section always amazes me how much i can spend of just food and drink. even when i try to be concious of it

Nov 30, 2010

I'm a huge fan of the graphs and the running totals for each category...I never realized I financed a starbucks franchise until I got Mint

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Nov 30, 2010

These services are generally also offered through your bank, you just have to link all 3rd party accounts for tracking purposes. None of you are worried about providing sensitive account information to a website such as Mint?

Nov 30, 2010

Not at all...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Nov 30, 2010

junkbond,

They provide the same protection as any bank would. They don't have my name or any contact info, and they are McAfee secure, Verisign Secured, and Truste Certified. They run daily security checks looking for access to personal info like you are talking about.

Nov 30, 2010
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

Every one of us strives for the proverbial "F you money" as BSD's; but until we get there, why not save some bucks along the way?

I LOLed well done.

Mazel tov.

Nov 30, 2010
deltahedge:

I LOLed well done.

Mazel tov.

Thanks Delta.

I hope that a few of you give Mint a whirl. It can works wonders for your wallet.
Also, have a look at Just Thrive, it's the same thing.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Nov 30, 2010

I applaud your attempt Ben, but take a step back. This is an absolutely horrible idea. Yes, it's beneficial for personal finances, but there are two sides to every coin. You are giving a web site access to all of your sources of income...You are storing your personal financial information on one server, one site, where someone with the technical know-how can easily hack into and find the history of an individuals finances with one click of a button..
Need I say more.

This is truly not safe at all. There are plenty of people salivating right now at the thought of a one-stop shop for identity fraud, and not to mention the hellacious appetite for invasion of privacy. I wouldn't recommend anyone give a website, albeit "secure", access to this valuable information

Nov 30, 2010

You might be extreme to say absolutely horrible idea. I'm not reccomending widget ABC, it's one of the biggest personal finance sites around. They are very secure if you take the time to read about it on their site. I didn't say everyone should sign up. I just hoped to open some eyes to it and let them do their own due diligence on whether or not they wish to give info.

If you don't feel comfortable going the online route, I think Microsoft Money and Quicken keep records similar to this offline for you. You have a valid point about fraud, but I'm not reccommending Joe Schmo's personal finance blog, these guys are legit.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Nov 30, 2010

I know they are legit. I really can't fault you at all for your recommendation, as I still get the damn emails from these guys every month or so.

I'm just playing the role of the devils advocate.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea at all, all I'm saying is that one day you just might log onto the net and find a wikileaks article about the corruption and malfeasance that plagues mint.com..

or maybe you won't and at the end of the day you know how much less you need to stop spending on hookers, cocaine, and mikes hard lemonade

Nov 30, 2010

I'm also a giant Mint fan, and have been running all my accounts through it for 2 years now. It looks at back trends and can generate monthly budgets for you based on historical averages for things like groceries, bars, restaurants, etc.

My favorite graph is the net worth over time visualization. Takes into account all your cash, debts, and assets and plots it every month. Watch those bills stack up.

Nov 30, 2010

couldn't quickbooks do something similar? I mean I think the Mint is a great concept, but I also have an issue with signing over all of my information like that.

Not that much of our info is not already signed over. Just saying that it should be a tiny concern to people.

Just imagine if someone at the Mint thought the world should be transparent and gave Julian all of our financial date. Wikileaks could humiliate every person in the USA.

Nov 30, 2010
Anthony .:

couldn't quickbooks do something similar? I mean I think the Mint is a great concept, but I also have an issue with signing over all of my information like that.

You could get close with Quicken/Quickbooks, but the interface isn't even close to as good. You also need to export your accounts from each bank individually each month, whereas Mint updates it all daily and automatically. When you really think about it, all the information is out there already if a motivated corporation or government agency wanted to get at it, so it doesn't concern me to import it all into Mint as well.

LeveragedFiend:

I see that it's owned by Intuit... but how does it make money?

As for how Mint makes money - they analyze your credit card interest rates and spending categories and recommend new cards that could save you money or earn you more rewards. It does the same trying to find you higher rates on savings or lower rates on loans. If you open any of these accounts, the bank you open the account with kicks Mint back a pretty sizeable check - customer acquisition costs in the financial industry can run in the hundreds of dollars per account. It's really a win/win - you get a better rate, Mint banks the finders fee.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Nov 30, 2010

Anthony, I've noticed your disapproval of Julian? Why so

Nov 30, 2010
eyelikecheese:

Anthony, I've noticed your disapproval of Julian? Why so

Here we go...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Nov 30, 2010
happypantsmcgee:
eyelikecheese:

Anthony, I've noticed your disapproval of Julian? Why so

Here we go...

I know what you mean. I posted that reply rather hastily. I don't care to start a debate, but it is very interesting to hear different people's opinions of him. Not in my lifetime have I witnessed such a polarizing figure. Either you think he is a patriot of humanity, or you think he should be eradicated for the preservation of peace and prosperity amongst the world.

Nov 30, 2010

I see that it's owned by Intuit... but how does it make money?

Looks like a cool site tho.

Nov 30, 2010

Anthony,

What if an exec at one of the major banks decided the same thing? There are people with access to data everywhere that could do harm. If people are going to be corrupt then they're going to be corrupt. We can't be afraid to make a random withdrawal from an ATM in fear that data will get transferred to Julian.

Nov 30, 2010

@Ben - I am not saying that The Mint is bad, just that right now I would prefer to have control of my info (or as much as possible). I am not at the point where I am comfortable with the Mint. I specifically gutted my facebook because I was not happy with their privacy measures.

As mentioned above, I think quickbooks or something similar could do that job. I would feel a little more secure.

You post is interesting and I will read more about Mint and maybe change my mind. I was close to sighing up for it a while ago and never did. This might be the impetus.

@Cheese - I think Julian is anti American and is only focusing on stuff pertaining to the USA. He basically makes a market for this ill gotten information. Not saying he is 100% at fault, but he is the spokesperson and extremely vocal about things so the blame goes to him.

Problem with wiki is there is no accountability. Julian just revels in throwing this shit up and seeing where the chips fall. You just cannot do that.

I suppose where I differ from the opposition is that I believe in transparency to a point. Whistleblowing laws are to protect people who witness internal wrong doing and want to bring it to light. Much like anonymous tips to police. The problem is what he is posting is not some injustice or illegal activity. It is simply to hurt US interests. That is my problem.

He is basically a real life Troll. Suppose I stalked you, encouraged people to get your personal info and posted it online. Nothing criminal on your part, just you commenting about your boss being an ass, bills you havent paid, drug store purchases, whatever. Everyone in your neighborhood would love the juicy gossip and I would simply say that I did nothing wrong.

I firmly believe that this leak and the publishing of this material will hurt US interests and honestly, the interests of a lot of nations. Frankness and openness will be restricted because of worry that further comments will be leaked. Delicate truces or friendships could be strained or broken. North Korea could freak out. All for some good press and a smear campaign.

Dec 2, 2010
Anthony .:

@Ben - I am not saying that The Mint is bad, just that right now I would prefer to have control of my info (or as much as possible). I am not at the point where I am comfortable with the Mint...As mentioned above, I think quickbooks or something similar could do that job. I would feel a little more secure.

Intuit owns Mint as well as QuickBooks. In addition, Intuit owns TurboTax which processes a substantive number of US tax returns each year.

Nov 30, 2010

It makes money from companies paying to advertise CDs, loans, etc. on their page. It will see you have a loan and then show an advertisement saying "Company X's loan could lower your monthly spending!" But the advertisements are very nonintrusive and actually useful sometimes.

Nov 30, 2010

This tool is silly...being frugal is ultimately common sense. Go for functionality rather than style, analyze every expense in your budget, find the cheapest supplier (Buying shirts for $2.50 on amazon, for example). Do all that, and you cut your budget drastically. Don't pay for things you can get for free (internet, books, movies, music, ect).

I spent $15,000 TOTAL in 2009 living in a major city, banking well over $100,000 in savings post taxes / expenses. How? Split a 3 room apartment, shopped around, drove a Prius. Simple.

Dec 1, 2010
FrugalBoyz:

This tool is silly...being frugal is ultimately common sense. Go for functionality rather than style, analyze every expense in your budget, find the cheapest supplier (Buying shirts for $2.50 on amazon, for example). Do all that, and you cut your budget drastically. Don't pay for things you can get for free (internet, books, movies, music, ect).

I spent $15,000 TOTAL in 2009 living in a major city, banking well over $100,000 in savings post taxes / expenses. How? Split a 3 room apartment, shopped around, drove a Prius. Simple.

Who cares about saving money if you have to sacrifice your manhood by driving a Prius just to do it?

Regards

Dec 1, 2010
cphbravo96:
FrugalBoyz:

This tool is silly...being frugal is ultimately common sense. Go for functionality rather than style, analyze every expense in your budget, find the cheapest supplier (Buying shirts for $2.50 on amazon, for example). Do all that, and you cut your budget drastically. Don't pay for things you can get for free (internet, books, movies, music, ect).

I spent $15,000 TOTAL in 2009 living in a major city, banking well over $100,000 in savings post taxes / expenses. How? Split a 3 room apartment, shopped around, drove a Prius. Simple.

Who cares about saving money if you have to sacrifice your manhood by driving a Prius just to do it?

Regards

Also, Charlotte is not a major city.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Nov 30, 2010

@Anthony. I totally see your point. But it truly is a fallacy to compare the leaks to an individuals privacy concerns. The individual doesn't protect anyones freedoms, steal money- oops I mean collect taxes, nor wage unfounded wars with nations or other people/groups.

There is a war going on. It has been going on for quite a few years now. It is not the Iraq war nor the war on terror. It is a war on information and freedom. The world as we know it does not exist. There is a group of people leading a resistance against the enemy, and Julian Assange knows the truth. I guess you could say he chose to take the blue pill.

Nov 30, 2010

I don't know dude, I read a lot and follow a variety of news. I know that many nations in the ME don't like Iran or that some of the more moderate states secretly support Israel. We know the Chinese issues and that Berlusconi is a playboy and a crappy leader.

What I don't think is relevant is personal and frank conversations between our diplomats and allies. We have all made assessments or comments about friends and bosses that we prefer are kept secret. Juries deliberate in private. Keeping things confidential is not necessarily bad.

What did Wiki reveal about Iraq and Afghanistan? It isn't as if the internet or general media (with the exception of Fox) is supportive of the war. If anything, the news agencies make every effort to find negative information to make it look bad (at least when Bush was in office).

The government steals from us because we allow it. The school budget passes every year by my parents because they threaten to cut the school buses first. We know who the lobbyists are and who votes for pork barrel funding. The real issue is Americans and many around the world are lazy.

What I have been doing lately, whenever I read a news story that is inflammatory, I try and find the underlying article or research. I try and understand it and make my own assumptions.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Dec 1, 2010

I'm a huge fan of "infowars.com"

There is truth in the 21st century. There are powers trying to take over the world. The resistance is very hard to come across, mainly because people that do realize the truth would rather live in the world where they are ignorant of what actually goes on. The mainstream media is owned by corporations, which is owned by governments, which are funded by us. Televisions are the biggest conspiracy theory(next to the FED) known to man. Yet no one ever dares to question society? Why? It is Platos "allegory of the cave" in the 21st century. We see reality and the world as it is given to us, not how is truly is. An society, for some reason perpetuates this, telling us from an early age to get married, have kids, go into debt, kill out minds with nonsense from television and drugs. As much a the government wages a war on drugs, they want us to do drugs. They prey off our laziness and diminished sense of self-worth and ignorance. It's tantamount to me breaking yap with my girlfriend and telling her "it's not you, it's me" hike at the same time screing her sister. Or blatantly insulting someone yet telling them that you are not insulting them. It works. Trust me I've done it many if times

Dec 1, 2010

I just signed up for the mint.

I was wrong. This is cool!

Dec 1, 2010

I just signed up for the mint.

I was wrong. This is cool!

Dec 1, 2010

Signed up too. Not too bad.

Dec 1, 2010

I was looking around at Just Thrive and it looks to be pretty user friendly. It's hard to get a detailed look without signing up.

Anthony - I agree with you. Julian is basically running a smear campaign against the US.

Dec 1, 2010

I am a mint fan. I generally only use it to get an aggregated look at what my net worth is, and also to get an idea of where I am spending my money. You can get similar functionality online with Bank of America, and some brokerage's give you similar functionality as well (there must be some company out there that sells the software to banks- BOA and Smith Barney have nearly identical interfaces).

That said, Mint's interface is better, and its not tied to any particular account that you may close at some point, which is a big plus. Personally I find the whole budgeting concept annoying. I don't get it. I guess it works for some people with self control issues, but I am generally quite frugal and don't buy crap I don't need. Then again, if I see a 40% off sale or go to a sample sale, I might load up on stuff and spend a few hundred bucks, after which Mint then happily alerts me that I am over my "usual" budget for that category.

Mint has surprised me a few times by showing me where I am spending my money. I generally pretty frugal, but my biggest vice is going out to eat. I spend WAY too much on eating out. The monthly net income inflow/outflow chart is motivating to keep my spending down as well.

I always thought it would be interesting to create a site like Mint, but make it a game where you would rank the users to see who saved the most (as either a % of their stated income, or total), and you could compare yourself to the "typical" American and see where you stand.

Dec 1, 2010

I could probably retire to my own tropical island if I cut out my Food & Dining spending.

Dec 1, 2010
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