2013 – The Year of Change

From the archive [originally posted 23 Jan 2013]

Well, it’s a new year, and I’ve heard 2013 referred to as “The Year of Change” by many people close to me. Friends and family are getting a handle on their eating habits, exercising more, cleaning and organizing their houses, and are generally hopeful that this will be THEIR year.

While we’re in this mindset, it’s a perfect time to also be thinking about getting a better grasp on our finances. In my last blog entry, I wrote about making use of Quicken to track your spending, and one of my amazing friends left a comment introducing me to a site called Mint.com (thanks Trev!), which I’ve been using for almost a year.

Mint.com is an excellent tool to help you really understand where your money is going. It is owned by Intuit, the same company that makes Quicken and Quickbooks. Mint.com allows you to link your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans into one place, and then categorize each item so that you can track your habits (eg. groceries, utilities, mortgage). It also allows you to create a budget and create email reminders for when you go over your limit in a category! Once everything is set-up, the site remembers previous transactions and applies the categories to future transactions. This means that you can simply make adjustments and add new categories as you move forward. Mint.com also provides summary charts so that you can get a clear picture of what’s happening with your money – you choose the timeframe and the categories to focus on! As well, they offer articles, tips, support, and videos to get you going. And, if their website isn’t enough, you can find Mint on Facebook and Twitter.

All in all, Mint.com functions quite similarly to Quicken with a couple exceptions. First, it’s cloud-based, which means that you don’t have to install the program, and you can access it anywhere and from any device. Second, and most exciting – it’s absolutely FREE! I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true!

So, have a look and give it a try. You may be surprised where your money is going – and 2013 is a great time to make adjustments.

Feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think of Mint – or, if you already use it, tell me what your favourite feature is!

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