Your app for November is Mint.
Lately, the EducationQuest blog has a financial theme. With articles on how to manage the cost of college and ridiculous things you can spend money on, I wanted to give you an app that will help you manage your money.
My grandfather is the most influential person in my life when it comes to money. He told me once, “If you don’t control your finances, they will control you.” The Mint app, and website, helps me keep control of my money.
Do you know how much you spend on coffee? Do you know what you typically spend on fast food? What percentage of your income is spent on rent? How much debt are you in right now? How much of that debt is student loans? What is the interest on your debt? How much is in your checking account right now? What is your net worth? What is your credit score?
These are all questions that Mint could answer at any given moment. The best part is that Mint is not trying to get you out of debt, and it’s not trying to get you to save more. What it does is give you the power and knowledge to accomplish your financial goals, whatever they are.
Here’s how you can get started right now.
Add your bank account and any credit card accounts
Mint can add just about any bank or creditor that has a website and log in. Just include your username and password and Mint will download transactions and balances. If you are worried about security, which you should be, Mint is read-only; you can’t move money or even view account numbers.
Create a budget
The first thing you should do is plan how to spend your money. Probably a good idea to make sure that your budget is less than your income. 😉 The more specific you can be the better. I have separate budgets for fast-food, restaurants and groceries. The key is to revisit your budget often and stick to the numbers you set.
Set your first goal
I say “your first goal” because you should have more than one thing you are working toward. It could be getting $1,000 into your savings for emergencies, paying off your loans, getting out of debt, or saving for a new car. Mint will track your progress and recommend things you can do to accomplish your goal. Be active, set new goals, and keep an eye on your progress.
There is a lot to Mint, especially when you start investing money. Check out their overview for more details about the different aspects of Mint.
Pros: Mint helps manage your finances, and does it for FREE! It automatically imports and categorizes your expenses. It alerts you when bills are due or if you are at risk of going over budget. It tracks investments and lets you set almost any goal, as opposed to limiting you to specific goals like some other apps.
Cons: They still have to make money; you will get recommendations for lower rate credit cards and recommendations to change your bank account. I ignore these. It’s like having ads on the platform and it’s kind of annoying.
App tips: If you can’t find your institutions web address, use the request link. They are pretty good about getting access. When you download the app, set up a passcode. It’s one more level of security.
Here’s a video of a rock band with the same message. Change what you think about money — knowledge is power — and control your money before it controls you.
Love this app? Have an app that is helpful or one you just love? Let me know in the comments – maybe it will be featured in a future Monthly Education App.