The first step in any financial strategy is to track your finances. The iPhone has made this easy with a variety of exciting apps available in the app store for purchase. Up until recently my family and I have been using an older version of desktop Quicken software to keep track of all of our income and expenses. A friend suggested to me (being an iPhone geek also) that I check out Mint.com. As it turns out I’m in love all over again with Mint.
Mint.com is owned by Intuit (the makers of Quicken and Quickbooks) and it reflects the same levels of security and quality. Setting up all of your various banking and investing accounts is SUPER easy. Once you have entered all of your information the program will create a dashboard that allows you (when logged in) to view all of your financial data in one place. Each of your transactions are auto-loaded into your account and categorized. So if you fill up with gas at your local Chevron and use the debit or credit card that transaction will load directly into your Mint.com account and be categorized as Gas/Fuel. You can of course, manually change the category of any transaction or split the transaction when part of any one charge was for two different types of expenses.
The second key element to Mint is its budget tool. You can quickly set your own family budget for each expense category. Perhaps you expect to spend $220 on auto fuel, $325 on groceries, $50 on fast food, etc per month. Mint will track your current transactions against your budget and notify you (notifications can come via email or text) that you have passed your monthly budget. Budgets can be set to carry over into the following months if your budget is based on an annual average that spikes from month to month.
The third part of Mint.com that I love so much is their goal tracker. If you are saving for a vacation or trying to build up your emergency fund you can setup a goal in your Mint.com account and it will help you track your progress.
Details about the Mint.com iPhone App:
The Mint.com iPhone App allows you mobile awareness of your current financial situation as it applies to your budget and your goals. You can get alerts when large transactions clear your account or when you overspend in any expense category. Quickly look at your budget overview and your cash flow tracker. From within the app you can also view individual transactions and re-categorize anything that might be wrong. If you choose you can also password protect the app so that co-workers who are looking at your sweet iPhone won’t be tempted to look at your bank accounts.
All around I’m super impressed with Mint.com and it’s new iPhone app. The more automation I can apply to my life in the category of productivity, the better. I was able to touch base with one of their awesome developers on Friday and he told me “We’re planning a big update for iPhone before the winter holidays, a few things in early 2011.” He isn’t allowed to give any more details but it sounds like we have a lot to look forward to from Intuit!
Jacob S Paulsen