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I Decided to Try Out Mint.com

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If you haven’t heard about Mint.com yet, it’s a free site where you can upload almost all of your financial accounts and have everything in one spot. From there, you get reports on your spending and Mint will give you suggestions on ways you can save money.

It sounded like a neat program, but I’m a Quicken user and I’m very happy with using Quicken for my finances. I have a method that I have been using for years and it keeps us out of overdraft trouble. I’m also very concerned about security and having all of my eggs (account information) in one basket at Mint.

I wanted something that would help me keep track of our seven credit cards. I was logging into every account online to watch for activity and that takes some time to do. I have email alerts set-up with my credit cards and they alert me if there is activity, but email isn’t always reliable. I am trying to simplify my life, so I decided to give Mint a try.

Setting up an account was amazingly easy. All you needed was an email address, your zip code and a password. From there, you set up your accounts. For that, you logged in using your online username and password for each account (and sometimes you had to answer your secret questions). It took less than 10 minutes for me to have all of my credit cards entered into Mint.

Now when I log into Mint, I see an overview that shows the balances on all of my credit cards. No longer do I have to log into each individual site. I can go to Mint and login once to see all of the info. I can even drill down to see the individual transactions. Then there are the features of Mint that let you see your spending. It doesn’t show the whole picture for us because our checking account isn’t included so I won’t be using that feature much.

I was also impressed by the fact that it shows your total credit limit for all cards and shows your total available credit. For me, that’s a quick way to see my debt to credit ratio (which right now is at 20% utilization). It also reviews your interest rates and gives suggestions on credit cards that have a lower rate.

It really is an amazing free program.

I’m still concerned about security, so it’s unlikely that I will include my checking or savings accounts on Mint.com. Those accounts keep us afloat and I protect them as much as I can. I’m not ready to release that info to a third party yet. But for keeping track of our credit cards, I am VERY impressed. I wish I had done this sooner!

I was hoping to take some screenshots, but there’s too much personal information on it and I’m not comfortable with posting them. To get an idea of what you see when you sign up and upload your accounts, visit the Mint.com features page. Their screenshots match what I saw after logging in.

If you have questions about Mint.com or my experience so far with it, feel free to ask away in the comments.


17 Comments

  • Reply justine |

    Simplifying one’s life is good — so, why do you have 7 credit cards? (I’m making the assumption that you don’t carry a balance on all of them, but maybe that’s wrong.) Even if you believe in keeping credit cards open for the purpose of “building credit,” you certainly don’t need more than 1 or 2.

  • Reply Beth |

    I actually, literally, just deleted my Mint.com account. I like using Yodlee much better. I signed up for both at about the same time, about six months ago, to see which I liked betterI am able to access more through Yodlee and I think the interface is much better. I actually had bought Quicken 2008, but have yet to install it because between Yodlee and my online banking access I feel like I have everything that I need. I’ll probably donate my Quicken to my son who is trying to learn about his finances while still in college…that way the program doesn’t go to waste…

  • Reply Tricia |

    justine – one credit card has all of our debt and one card is used for everyday purchases and the balance is paid in full multiple times a month (we use it for the protection and the cash back).

    When our credit card debt is paid off, we will close many of the cards. Until then, the available credit limits are helping our credit score (with the utlization ratio). They also have balance transfer offers every now and then and we might have to use one of them to keep our interest rate low. Right now, we have our debt at 0% but that will be expiring in September.

    We are keeping them open for options and to help our credit score. But as soon as the debt is paid off I’m having a shreddin’ party πŸ™‚

  • Reply Da Big D |

    Technically Mint.com does not keep your information or access to accounts, it only displays it. Mint does not “see” your account information or balance etc… Its actully in their terms of service agreements. So don’t worry you will be ok if you put your bank info.
    You are actually more at risk if someone steal your computer physically or if it hacked into from someone on the internet (not that people are looking to hack into your computer they aren’t). Sure certain virus’ or trojans can take over your computre, but if you surf safe and have AntiVirus on it your safe.

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    Mint.com sounds interesting. I bookmarked it to check it out. I have a question I am hoping you will be able to email me an answer about. πŸ™‚ I would like to know if getting a domain name is worth it and how you got started doing so. I’ve been thinking about getting a domain name for my blog, but I don’t want to spend a lot and I don’t want to have to get a host site due to outrageous costs. If I remember correctly, with blogger you don’t need a host site, but I could be wrong.

    If any other readers have suggested that would be great as well. You can email me at: silent_beautie [at]yahoo [dot] com.

    Thank You

  • Reply Tricia |

    Joy – I’m emailing you. I also changed your email address above to make it less attractive to the spammers πŸ™‚

  • Reply Scott |

    Tricia,

    I’m a Quicken user myself, actually Quicken Home & Business, and have been for over a decade.

    I was just curious why you haven’t set up your Credit Cards accounts in Quicken? I simply hit ‘update’ in quicken and it downloads all transactions, balances, etc into Quicken and I’m done.

    Thanks.

  • Reply Tricia |

    My CCs are set-up in Quicken, but I do not use the download feature within Quicken. I enter everything manually. I probably should try it, but when it comes to downloading things I’m pretty slow at getting around to trying it and since I am running 2005 my version will be sunset shortly by Intuit.

    I’m not ready to pay to upgrade Quicken yet. I do have a 2008 version for Windows, but my laptop (that I do blogging on and bill paying on) is an older Mac.

    I probably will start downloading credit card charges in Quicken at some point when I finally migrate everything to my Windows computer – but for now Mint.com will help.

    Great point!

  • Reply Jason Simon |

    I tried Mint and it seems like a good budgeting program. It is amazing how many products are on the market in competition with each other (e.g. Quicken Online, Geezeo, Mint etc…). They all have their own little catch.

  • Reply Frugal Dad |

    Like you, I was concerned about security. It had not occurred to me to only use Mint for my credit card accounts, until I read your post. I think that’s a good way to hedge the security issue and I might give it a shot.

  • Reply Santosh Sankpal |

    Tricia, I have been reading your blog including comments and answers to it, for quite some time now… may be a year or 2 now.

    Just to let you know, I am from India. Internet has brought 2 ends of the world togather.

    I was in deep trouble with my finances. Once I started reading your blog, I have definately improved. Though not all the products and services you write about are not available in India, I still use your blog for inspiration.

    I am writing here, after I have closed all my interest paying loans & credit cards. Now I have only loans taken from some of my friends and those are also on the verge of closing.

    Thanks a lot for all your help. Though unknowingly you may changed lives of several thousand people.

    May the almighty bring all your dreams to truth.

  • Reply Atish |

    I’m glad you’re a fan of the product! I noticed that you linked to the features page. You might want to also mention that people can give a Mint “test drive” by going here: https://wwws.mint.com/demoUser.event

    Stay tuned, we have a lot of exciting features coming up…
    -Atish
    Mint Engineer

  • Reply Tricia |

    Santosh – thank you so much for your kind words. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so very happy for you and the success you are having!!

  • Reply Dave |

    I also just discovered Mint.com, when I read this article from PC Magazine on free software worth $5,183.00:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2260070,00.asp.
    I had been using Quicken, but like you, I have the 2005 edition, which will no longer be able to download, & I didn’t want to pay for the ’08 edition. I noticed with Mint, though, that I cannot enter pending or future transactions, such as a check I’ve written that hasn’t cleared yet, so I can’t keep an accurate balance of my checking. Do you know of any other free programs like Quicken or Mint where I can enter transactions that have not yet hit my bank?

  • Reply Teresa |

    I have been using Mint since it was in beta and, while it has had its little hiccups, it just keeps getting better. Like you, from day one I appreciated its ability to aggregate my accounts (well, most of them…there are two they can’t link up to yet).

    It was so valuable to me to be able to easily see where everything was going, regardless of account, that I almost fearlessly signed up. Recently when I logged in I discovered a new budgeting feature. Between that and the spending categories and being able to drill down through them I feel much more aware and in control. I’m no longer kidding myself about how much money I have and will require to get through the month. And I AM paying down debt.

    If I were able to log upcoming transactions I would totally dump Quicken. I had the ’04 edition and faced the sunset dilemma and at the time had no alternative.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, not just with Mint but with getting out of debt in general. I think you make a lot of people smarter about money and I _know_ you bring me encouragement.

  • Reply Portwine |

    I agree with Teresa, Upcoming Transactions in Quicken is Mint’s key missing feature. Otherwise, Mint is really great.

    On Quicken.com an article promises Upcoming Transactions will be supported. Fingers Crossed.

So, what do you think ?