Tuesday, July 2, 2013 A MUST USE TOOL For Recent Graduates

If you have been out of the loop and haven’t heard of Mint, or if you haven’t bothered setting up an account, this review is for you! (especially as a recent graduate) Mint is a free service that helps manage your finances, aggregates your assets, creates a budget, and categorically sees how and where you spend your money so that you can make changes and/or save more money if you wish to. Mint is my favorite tool for managing my finances and I have been happily using it for about a year.  An added bonus: it's free!, it's a breeze to set up and offers tons of excellent features. at a Glance is one of the best ways to to view and manage your personal finances and investments in one place. It automatically pulls data from your bank, credit card and other financial accounts and allows you to manage your money from its website or mobile app. With just one login you can get an overview of your entire financial situation.
While you can’t transfer money, pay your bills or make stock trades through Mint, you can create and track your budget, look over your spending trends, set alerts and reminders and track your financial goals. You can also view available balances across all accounts, search through previous transactions and track your investment portfolio’s performance.

Setting Up Your Account

Mint is absolutely free. When you open an account at there are no "upgrades" or "premium subscriptions," so you have instant access to all of features with no extra cost upon creating your account.

After logging in, the first thing you will want to do is connect your existing accounts to Mint. The process is simple – just type in the name of your financial institution, enter your login details and Mint will automatically download data from that account. Virtually every type of account is supported and Mint guarantees the privacy and safety of your information. You can even add your other assets, such as your car or rental properties.

Mint Dashboard
The dashboard gives you an overview of your finances. You can view account balances, asset values, net worth and a snapshot of your investment portfolio. The dashboard also displays the current month’s budget, your financial goals and spending trends. Review - Why I Use and Love Mint - Alerts
The alerts section is a great addition to your homepage. It displays important reminders, upcoming bills and notifies you of potential problems (such as overdue credit card payments). You can sign up to receive email reminders as well.

Your Budget
One of the best features of Mint is the ability to set and track your budget. You can set a monthly spending limit for each of the many categories and track your spending for each month. Mint automatically categorizes your account transactions and lets you know if you are under or over your budget in each category.

Financial Goals
Another great feature of Mint is setting and tracking your financial goals. Your goals can be anything related to saving, investing or paying off debt. You create a new goal by choosing a goal type, setting a deadline and picking one or more appropriate accounts to track it. Mint will suggest a monthly contribution and will let you know if you are on track to completing your goals on time.
For example, you can use the goal feature to save for emergencies. When you pick a corresponding goal template, Mint suggests how much you should save, based on your average monthly expenses. You can then pick an account to serve as your emergency fund and set a deadline. Mint will suggest a monthly savings plan, which you can accept or adjust.

Spending Trends and Transactions Review - Why I Use and Love Mint - Trends
Since Mint can access and automatically categorize your transactions (you sometimes have to help it a little), it makes it very easy to study your financial trends. You can look at your spending, income, debt, assets and net worth over a variety of time periods and using different filters.
Mint can also be helpful if you’re trying to look up a particular transaction. Even if you don’t remember when it actually happened or which account you used, a quick search of your entire account history will help you quickly find it.

                                                                      Mobile Apps Review - Why I Use and Love Mint - Mobile App
Yet another great feature of Mint is its mobile apps. You can get Mint for your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or an Android tablet. Just like the desktop version, all Mint apps are free.

The mobile app gives you the same control over your budget, goals and spending trends, as offered by the website. It is a great way to keep track of your money on the go. For example, you can get a quick idea about available account balances before making a purchase. Review Final Thoughts is one of the pioneers in the online money management industry, and from experience I cannot  express enough that it is a great and easy option, especially for managing your personal finances. It’s hard to beat so many great features offered for free. As a recent grad, the importance of weighing your finances is new to many of us, and is weighed heavy between rent payments, bills and paying off loans. In order to do so, one of the first steps to making smarter financial decisions is to organize your finances and is an excellent way to do just that!

Test it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

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