Budgeting with Mint

I think one of the reasons I love using Mint so much is because it was born out of an almost identical sense of frustration with existing tools like Quicken. From The History of Mint:

One day in November 2005, while using Quicken to catch up on his personal bookkeeping, Aaron realized that he was in for an afternoon of tedious accounting-type work: poring over his statements; filling in gaps in entries; and categorizing dozens of purchases. While all he wanted to get to was a simple pie chart breaking down his monthly spending into its major categories.
From my previous post on Mint:

So in an effort to get a handle on my family's finances I turned to the oldest personal financial application around: Excel. I imported what I could from eTrade and then began the process of manually categorizing all of my income and expenditures over the past three months. It was excruciating and mind-numbing. During the whole process I kept asking myself, "Why can't Quicken do this for me? Don't they have enough people's data to know how people generally categorize a payment to Amazon or the Grand Lake Theater?"
Well, the Mint team has done it again. They took another one of the things I have been wanting so badly out of a financial tool and provided me with a product that simply works. This time the killer feature is budgeting.

mint-budget.png
By quickly analyzing my spending trends, Mint is not able to recommend a monthly budget for any one of my expense categories. It automatically adds my budget for that category to my dashboard so that I can monitor it more closely, and will send me alerts when things are awry. I love it.

Ok, Mint team, here is what I want next... Continuing on the idea that finances can be fun, I would for you to give me some virtual reward for staying below budget. Send me an email at the end of the month congratulating me for being $25 below budget on gas, or shopping. Give me merit badges on my profile for saving on groceries. Do something that makes a game out of saving.

Next, and more mundanely, allow me to define the time frame for my budget. For example, my travel budget only makes sense within the context of a year, or quarter. I don't spent $400 per month, more like $2000 every 3-5 months. So in those months I will almost certainly be over budget for the month, but not the year.

Ways to Save on MintAs a wrap up, let me just once again compliment the team on their "Ways to Save" feature. That is a form of sponsorship and advertising I can really get behind. I honestly appreciate that the analysis that is done for me. I like the fact that I don't have to click on the ad to learn more. I like that the value is in the information, not the action.

I have not yet taken advantage of an offer, but the more I stare at these things the more tempted I am. It is truly only a matter of time.

One thing though please let me dismiss an offer. I am not about to leave T-Mobile, and seeing an ad for Vontage just kind of annoys me. Not to be too harsh or anything, but I am too loyal to T-Mobile to be bothered... plus I can't imagine all the iPhone users who are like, "um, hell no I am going to Vontage, AT&T is the only frickn vendor I can use..." You know?

But on top of that I think having that kind of data would be really useful to your advertisers: a) how many people dismissed it, and b) how many people looked at it and didn't dismiss it. Because if I didn't dismiss it, it kinda means I am still thinking about it... and that my friends is as good as bait on a hook to these banks and credit card companies.

Thank you Mint. I still love your product. Can you tell?

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5 Comments

The latest deploy also fixed the annoying duplicate transactions I was seeing.

Hooray for Mint!

I am definitely feeling the love. ;-) These are all excellent ideas Byrne, thank you for the great review and look for us to roll those features out in the not too distant future. Keep on minting!

Jason M. Putorti Lead Designer, mint.com

Thanks again for the feedback and the suggestions around our new budgeting feature. We are always interested in hearing how our features are working, or not working, for our users. We will continue to make improvements.

I think your idea for the budget summary and rewards for staying under budget. Let me ponder that one for a while and see what we can come up with.

Thanks again. Aaron

I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon of Mint employees posting on majordojo blog...

@seth: I'm glad my duplicate transactions fix worked...That was annoying the hell out of me too :)

Atish - Data Aggregation Engineer, mint.com

this evening, I received QUADRUPLE monthly summary emails, all with duplicate transactions.

fixed? hardly. disturbing is more like it?

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Recent Comments

  • this evening, I received QUADRUPLE monthly summary emails, all with duplicate transactions. fixed? hardly. disturbing is more like it? ...

  • I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon of Mint employees posting on majordojo blog... @seth: I'm glad my duplicate transactions fix worked...That was annoying the hell out of me too :) Atish - Data Aggregation Engineer, m...

  • Thanks again for the feedback and the suggestions around our new budgeting feature. We are always interested in hearing how our features are working, or not working, for our users. We will continue to make improvements. ...

    Aaron Forth, VP of Product, Mint.com
    Budgeting with Mint
  • I am definitely feeling the love. ;-) These are all excellent ideas Byrne, thank you for the great review and look for us to roll those features out in the not too distant future. Keep on minting! Jason M. Putorti Lead ...

    Jason M. Putorti
    Budgeting with Mint
  • The latest deploy also fixed the annoying duplicate transactions I was seeing. Hooray for Mint! ...

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