The One App I Use For Budgeting And How
I’ve always been a fan of things that can be easily organized. But I’ve never really been a fan of most of the money apps, websites or softwares out there to help you manage your money. That is until this last year.
When I found the app Mint.
Mint, my friends, is a game changer.
I had actually heard about the Mint app multiple times before I started using it. I just wasn’t convinced it would be that useful to me so I never gave it a fair shot. (I had my own systems in place and I think I was afraid of change, that or thought I knew how to do it better, psh!) It wasn’t until we switched from using only cash to using only card that I found the glorious goodness that is this app and website.
So I’m going to breakdown how I use Mint and why I love it in order to convince you that you need this kind of organization in your life.
The One App I Use For Budgeting and How
1. It Categorizes Everything
As someone who loves to organize everything this is the best part. They give you tons of categories to choose from off the bat, but they also allow you to create your own so you can personalize your spending even further!
I created a specific category for my $25 monthly spending (You can see blog posts on that here: My $25 Budget), for our Christmas shopping and our birthdays. Mint will automatically put your purchases in their best guess category and if they have no idea, they’ll leave it uncategorized.
The obvious transactions like gas, parking, electric, phone, etc. are usually categorized correctly automatically. The shopping category is where you might have to go back and double check some transactions. But one of the cool things about Mint is that as you use it more and more and continue to categorize things it starts getting smarter and smarter.
For instance, there are some expenses with the blog that would automatically be put into “business expenses” but I wanted them to go into a category I created for “Blog Expenses”. So after one time of putting those specific transactions in that category now it automatically does it each time. (It picks up what you put down, you know what I’m saying? ;) )
I love this feature so much because when you categorize your spending it allows you to see how much you are spending and where easily. Which brings me to my next point...
2. You Can Have All The Budgets You Want
Now that we’ve discussed categories let’s talk about budgets for those categories. In order to help you keep your spending in check throughout the month you can set a budget for any and all categories you have! So if you are having trouble keeping to your coffee budget for the month or your clothing money, you can create a budget for it. And as long as you have set up your transactions to categorize correctly, you can quickly check in with the app to see if you have enough money in your budget for another coffee run or that cute top your looking at.
There are also subcategories that you can budget for as well as the overall category. When might you use this you ask? I’ll tell ya!
Greg and I budget $200 for all of our food spending (See how we do it in this post: How we Spend $200 on Groceries.) but I like to know and have a loose goal of how much we spend on not just groceries but restaurants and fast food as well. So I have a budget set for our “Food & Dining” (Main Category) of $200, but then I have different amounts budgeted for; Groceries, Fast Food, and Restaurants (Subcategories). This way at a glance I can see how we’ve been spending our food budget.
This has been helpful as before there were months we didn’t know how we were already at $200 until we realized we went out to eat three times that month. Now, it’s easy to keep track of it all.
3. Quick And Easy Check Ups Throughout The Month
Before I started using this app it was kind of a big deal when I sat down to work through our spending for the month. I was using my own system and things just took longer. With Mint it’s super easy to check in on it however much you want to. You can double check things are being categorized correctly (But probably only for the first few months, after that Mint gets pretty smart. I usually only look it over once a month.) or just quickly look and see how your spending is going throughout the month.
I usually use the desktop at the end of the month when I want to look everything over very carefully. But I LOVE the app for when I’m out and about and can’t remember what I have left in my budget. It makes it super easy to be able know where your money and spending is at any point in time.
4. You Can Set All The Goals
If you didn’t already guess from the fact that I love to plan, organize and talk about money, I also love financial goals. And Mint, is my soul sister for that as well.
They have different options for goals or you can create your own, which of course I like to do. (I’m suddenly realizing how very independent I like to be apparently..)
If your goal is to save a specific amount in a certain account you can set that within the app. For example, say you are trying to get $10,000 in savings. You can set that up as your goal and set how much you want to save each month and it’ll give you a projection of when that goal will be reached.
Reaching those goals you set (even small ones of saving that specific amount every month) can make the biggest difference in your financial journey. I recommend setting them up and working towards reaching them! It will build momentum and help you to keep striving for more!
Best part, Mint celebrates with you when you do! Computer hug and all!
Okay I’m done gushing about Mint. I switched from all my systems and worksheets to this app and as I always want to share what I’m using, doing and what’s working for me, I had to share this. (Plus, I’d already talked to all my friends about it so you guys were it!)
If you are in need of a new system or way to budget then try out mint for a month and see what you think! Or if you have already been loving it or love another app for budgets feel free to share that in the comments for others. We don’t discriminate. ;)