I am obsessed with Mint.com at the moment. I check my account on it about three times a day. It’s one of two reputable money management sites that I know of, the other being Quicken Online. Mint is a free, secure, private website that taps into your bank accounts and then divides it into categories so you can tell exactly what you’re spending your money on. It also lets you add investments and debts so you can keep track of your overall financial state. I added my student loan in there but not my mortgage because I didn’t want to get depressed by how much money I owe. (Upside: it’s all “good” debt–i.e. investment debt. Still, that’s kind of like “good” and “bad” fat. Debt is debt.)
The site looks at your spending and divides it into categories–home improvement, restaurants, fuel, bills, etc. It then has a host of tools to let you see exactly where your money is going and how you compare to the national average. My favorite part is the pie chart of your spending. Here is a sample one from the Mint.com site:
I love a good pie chart.
The site also lets you have budgets. I made one for our total spending on food. Probably the biggest way I waste money is going out to restaurants, and I want to make sure we keep within our monthly budget for that. The site has a bar that lets you know how much of your budget you’ve spent so far. Because my husband and I went out to a nice dinner this week, we have already spent almost half of our food budget… and it’s December 4th… Hmmm… I guess we’re going to have to cut back to make up for our indulgence.
Most importantly, Mint is a safe place to look at your financial information. Unlike a lot of software and websites, they do not make money off your information. From their website:
Simply put, we do not and will not sell or rent your personal information to anyone, for any reason, at any time. … Your data is yours. You can remove it anytime you want. When you request us to delete your account for the Service, your data will be permanently expunged from our primary production servers and further access to your account will not be possible.
Now if I just had a similar site to manage my time for me, I would be set.