If you are using Mint or any other cash flow or budget tracking app, then congratulations! You are taking a critical step towards being more organized and mindful in your money life. Once your Mint categories are all set up (more on that below), keep going and create a plan for managing your money that suits your life, eases stress, and builds your wealth. Incorporate your values and see how you can align your money to create a positive impact.
If you want to ensure your financial plan and investments support your long-term goals, working with a financial advisor can help. Schedule a 15-minute introductory call with us to see if working with an Abacus advisor is the right fit for you.
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When it comes to easy money fixes you can make, there are a number of benefits to using Mint.com, the online tracking tool to organize your finances. While it’s considered to be one of the best tools available to help people manage their finances online, there are a few tips that can help you maximize your experience.
The Five Biggest Complaints About Mint.com
Complaint 1: “I don’t know how to categorize credit card payments in Mint.”
Solution: Use the “transfer” category for any credit card payments.
Transfers do not appear as income or expenses, so when you see a credit card payment logged as an expense, flag it as “Transfer – Credit Card Payment.” If this is a recurring payment, you can turn that category into a rule (see above). Using the “transfer” category will keep your expense details intact without double-counting credit card payments.
Complaint 2: “I have to manually change too many transactions.”
Solution: Create your own rules.
If transactions show up in the wrong category, you don’t have to manually fix them. Instead, use the “rules” feature. Simply pick a transaction, select “edit details,” and make any name or category changes you’d like. This new “rules” section appears when you edit a transaction, letting you to check a box to ensure all similar future transactions will automatically show up in the category you selected.
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Complaint 3: “There are too many categories that fall outside of my budget.”
Solution: Use fewer, broader categories that capture many transactions.
Rather than creating sub-budgets for things like “Coffee Shops,” “Fast Food,” and “Restaurants,” why not just use the meta category “Food and Dining” and call it a day? Most of these categories are where your discretionary spending falls anyway, so overly segmenting them doesn’t provide much more useful information. Also, be sure to create an “Everything Else” budget item to catch any inevitable expenses that fall outside your other categories.
Complaint 4: “My credit card/bank account won’t work with Mint.”
Solution: Become a squeaky wheel.
Mint is working with many providers to make sure all information syncs up, but anytime one company changes its authentication, associated accounts can temporarily break. We’ve found that the Mint support team to be increasingly responsive and they’ve gotten much faster about responding to accounts that won’t sync. Reach out to Mint as issues arise. If an account won’t work with Mint, then let your voice be heard.
Complaint 5: “Mint isn’t secure.”
Solution: Mint is no less secure than any account you have at other institutions.
Mint uses the same level of encryption used by banks and financial institutions. It is a read-only service, so no one can authorize any transactions from its platform. Furthermore, since Mint allows users to create custom alerts, it is arguably more secure as it could notify you of fraudulent activity sooner than your bank or credit card.
Taking the Next Steps on your Financial Journey
No system is perfect, but we believe Mint is one of the better budgeting solutions out there. If these tips don’t work for you, we encourage you to spend time finding a system that does.
Budgeting is just one step in a larger financial plan. It can also help to understand your emotional and psychological relationship with money. Take our financial archetype quiz today, which can help you clarify the way you prefer to live your best money life.