I Heart Budgeting On Mint.com

I Heart Budgeting On Mint.com

If I told you that you could change your entire financial future in 15 minutes, would your ears perk up? Would you listen to what I have to say for just a little while, understanding that knowledge is power, and that getting the right information in your head can change your future? Well, I would keep reading here, because I just found out an amazing way to make that happen. It’s called “GET ON A BUDGET NOW!” And luckily, I’ve written a nice little tutorial for you to make that happen. Check it out!

Mint.com is back!

I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about this. Mostly because I am so crazy busy that I’ll be honest, I haven’t been fully keeping up with our every transaction, and have had to catch up on weekends to asses our spending, balance the budget, etc. And though I enjoy these things, my wife really doesn’t (and I don’t blame her, I’m just weird). Plus it takes time away, and has been difficult to present to my wife during our monthly budget meetings. Again, I don’t blame her, and just because I look at spreadsheets all day with a gleam in my eye and sunshine and rainbows and happiness, doesn’t mean she will find the same joy that I do. In fact, I would venture to guess that more than 5 minutes of staring at my budget would glaze most people’s eyes over and have then dreaming of all the happy times…like when they WEREN’T staring at my spreadsheet!

Budgeting On Mint.com Has Improved!

Believe it or not, Mint.com used to have a crappy budgeting tool. There, I said it. And though it was junk-tastic, I still gave it a shot. I tried to put together a basic budget based on my spreadsheet, and then let mint do the tracking. WAH-WAH-WAHHHHHH! Big time bummer. Basically, it couldn’t figure out how to categorize stuff, even after much manual correction, it kept alerting me that I went over budget, and I could not manually adjust anything. Also, I had no way to tracking my savings buckets, because categories did not roll over. So I stuck to my spreadsheets for the past few years, and just let Mint.com track my net worth.

But after a few failed budget meetings, and some frustration on how our money is allocated, and the fact that there was a lack of colorful graphs, I was feeling a little bummed about MY ULTIMATE BUDGET! As with most all my revelations these days, I was commuting to work, and my buddy mentioned that Mint.com allows you to split transactions into multiple categories. “WHAT????!!!!!” I almost made his stop the car! This was the most groundbreaking thing I had learned about budgeting since the Excel SUMIF formula revelation of 2011!!! If I could split transactions now, then my categories wouldn’t be off, I would stop getting “you’re over budget alerts unless they were real, and I could hug a rainbow! And I wonder what else had improved….so I hopped on my account and started my journey into AWESOMENESS!

Setting Up A Budget On Mint.com

I had set up a budget a few years back, and I guess I hadn’t deleted it. I looked my piddly budget in the face, laughed at it, and demolished it in seconds with just a few left clicks of the mouse. BOOM! Then I started the process of re-building the budget with my wife, so we could make sure everything was set properly and easy to understand. Here’s how we did it:

1. Go to the “Budgets” tab and select “Create a Budget” to add a category.

Mint Budget 1

2. Select a category from the “Choose a Category” drop-down menu. It should have your historical spending data on the right hand side.

Mint Budget 2

From here, you can select your options. Select whether it’s a monthly expenses, or at another recurring rate. Select the amount to budget, and you can even select whether to roll over the balance for the category each month. This will allow me to keep track of my savings buckets in one account. WOOHOO!!

3. Once you save a category, it will pop own below with a bar graph showing your current progress based on your transactions for far for the month. Here’s an example:

Mint Budget 3

Once you have all of your categories set up, then Voila! You have a budget set up in Mint.com! Seriously that easy!

Categorizing Your Transactions

Once you have a budget set up, you may notice that things are off. It may look like you’re overspending in certain categories, or maybe you have a HUGE amount in your “Everything Else” category at the bottom. In either case, you probably need to go through and re-categorize your transactions to accurately reflect your spending. Luckily, this is pretty freaking easy to do.

I like to start by going to the “Everything Else” category, because if something ends of in there, it means I either spent outside my budget, or the category is wrong. Here an example from my budget this month:

Mint Budget 4

Now, I have spent $30 on fast food, but we keep that under the food budget. So I click on the “Food and Dining: Fast Food” link, and it takes me to my transactions. Since I know all the fast food items will fall under “Groceries”, I check the box next to each item, and hit “Edit Multiple“. Now I can select “Groceries” for the category, and BOOM!, everything is now under the appropriate category.

Mint Budget 5

You can do this for each category, until everything has a proper home. This has made our lives MUCH easier, and can help us quickly find the outliers, and even the areas where we (GASP!) blow the budget. And this is how budgeting should work. You look over your spending, and adjust each month before it begins to ensure you set realistic goals and are spending wisely.

How To Split A Transaction Into Multiple Categories

Don’t you hate it when you make a few purchases at a single store, and you only enter the total in your budget under a single category, only to find your numbers are way off because your shopping trip included multiple budget categories that you didn’t properly allocate for? I know, frustrating, right?

Well, that would happen ALL. THE. TIME. with the old Mint.com budget I had set up. But they’ve remedied all that with the options to split your transactions into multiple categories.

Take, for example, our recent Burger King trip. Sure, it may look like food on the outside, but what if we bought an extra whopper to give away to one of our neighbors who loves whoppers, but can’t drive? Well, then I would say the transaction falls into the “Groceries” and “Charity” budgets. So let’s split it up.

1. Hover your mouse over the transaction, and click on “Edit Details

Mint Budget 6 2. Select the “Split” button

Mint Budget 7  3. Enter the amount you want in the first category (in this case, “Groceries”) and then hit the “Split” button. This will drop down another line to put in another amount in a separate category. In this case, we’ve got the main $6.00 of food under “Groceries“, and the extra whopper under “Charity“. Select “I’m Done” to save the changes.

Mint Budget 8

Get On A Budget

If you’re reading this site, you probably see a value in budgeting your finances, or you are having a tough time sleeping and really need some BORING material to put you out. In either case, you should be on a sweet budget so you can start WINNING, and Mint.com is the ideal choice. Not only does it track everything for you, saving you hours and hours a month, but it has fancy graphs and pie charts that your significant other will appreciate when going over your monthly spending and upcoming budget. So GET ON IT! Mint.com is free, super simple, and can be set up in 15 minutes.

Get started now on Mint.com

Comments: Do you use Mint.com? Have you tried their budgeting feature? Why or why not? Do you like color coding and graphs? I strongly recommend checking this out, and if anything, it’ll kill some down time, and possibly change your financial future forever. Your choice ;)

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links in this post. I just really like the new budgeting features on Mint.com. I hope you do to.

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Comments

  1. I have never used Mint!
    I started to…but then it asked me to import my bank info and I got turned off. Do you really think it’s worth it?
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Legalizing Marijuana: Is it Time?My Profile

    • Mint is owned by Intuit. if you’ve ever given personal information to Turbo Tax…..same company. Never had an issue. Also, even if someone hacked your Mint.com account, you can’t retrieve any personal info from it. It doesn’t display or store it anywhere accessible, and makes you confirm passwords and usernames all the time.

  2. I used Mint back in the day, but it just seemed weird to give them all my bank information, so I deleted my account (also, I remember having similar frusterations as you). I don’t understand the concept of how it would be free for me for all that I’d use it for, but maybe I’ll give it another shot? I’ll have to read through how its security works. Thanks for planting the seed in my head!

    • It’s free because they have ads built in. And they don’t have you put in bank info, just usernames and passwords now. It’s VERY safe, and they are owned by the same people that do Turbo Tax, so they know a thing or two about security :)

  3. Brilliant! I love Mint, but like you, have used it only for tracking, not an actual budget (though I do use the alert tools to let me know when I’m close to the max I should spend in a category).
    AverageJoe recently posted..What Villains Lurk In Your Financial Plan?My Profile

    • I’ve been pleased with the budget so far, especially being able to immediately pull it up and show my wife where we’re at in each category. My spreadsheet could do that too, but only after I manually enter everything, and it didn’t have fancy graphs and all that.

  4. Valerie says:

    I’ve been using Mint.com for the past 6 months, and I’m pleased with it. I mostly use the tracking features and not for budgeting, but you’ve inspired me to look at the budgeting features again. It definitely has its quirks (creating spending categories and making credit card payments), but they are pretty receptive to feedback.

    • Yea, I think I’d give it a few months to settle into using their budget features, and I think it’ll save a LOT of time. I expect to com each category for a few months until it “learns” me a bit better. I update transactions a few times a week right now.

  5. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I used to use it but got annoyed at some of your same issues and also did not like the account management portion.

    What I ran into is for my kid’s college accounts, I had opened one through a brokerage and then opened for the second child directly. The first account was held in my brokerage’s shell account AND at the 529 company, but if I wanted to see both of the girls accounts I needed to link the 529 company account. I then had duplicate items showing up. Drove me crazy!!!
    I started working on it again a short time ago and had some time out issues, BUT they fixed the account duplication thing, where I was able to delete the shel brokerage account! It kept hanging up when I was trying to enter my car data!

    • Yeah, duplicate info is annoying, but glad they worked it out. Have you tried using the budget feature yet? I’m really diggin’ it’s simplicity and the fancy graphs and such :)

  6. I sort of use it. I don’t like the budgeting and goals function. I can’t divide up money within one account for different savings goals. I can’t break up budgets for weekly or 4 week period instead of a month. If there is a way to do that, I don’t know how.
    Michelle’s Finance Journal recently posted..“Play” MoneyMy Profile

  7. They’ve had the split transactions features and the rollover budget features forever! Mint is pretty much the only tool we use to keep track of our budget and for us it requires almost no manual intervention. Super easy and I think the best way for couples to stay synced all the time!
    Mrs PoP recently posted..DIY – Strip Wax Off Linoleum FlooringMy Profile

    • How did I miss this?! Good to know that I’m just ignorant :) . I’m really digging jumping back into it, hoping it improves our budget meetings and helps keep us more up to date instead of waiting for me to fill out our spreadsheet.

    • So I have recently jumped aboard the Mint.com train and it has helped me a great deal with seeing the big picture of expenses and how much debt we really have.

      Do you recommend for couples who have joint finances to have one shared login to Mint?

      Also, I have been listening to great podcasts by the YNAB folks that really strike home for me. But the automation of Mint is really what makes it work so far for me, as I have tried Quicken and Microsoft Money in the past, and we have way too many little transactions happening all the time to manually enter each one every time, or even each night. Way too data-entry-intensive. Are people having success with using Mint for budgeting? It seems like it would be way more difficult to maintain YNAB with a spouse spending on the same accounts.

      Anyone?

      Thanks.

      • I love Mint, and it really has helped with getting and staying on the same page with my wife. She likes the graphs and charts that show where were are in every category, as well as looking a spending trends to help us be aware of where we may be wasting money. I have been budgeting with it since July of last year, and really enjoy it.

        I love budgeting (obviously), but the automation helps now that we have a few little ones around and time is MUCH more scarce. I know YNAB is a great product (still need to test it myself), but mint is a great place to start if time is a very valued commodity.

  8. I have never used Mint.com or any other tool, mainly because the spreadsheet that I’ve built for myself has 12 years of personalization and customizations built in that I simply can’t bear to let go and try to fit in with something else. I’m really glad to see that it’s working for you.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Preparing For The End? Tribute To My CatMy Profile

    • I hear you. I’ve got 5 years into mine, but it wasn’t the best for our budget meetings. Will probably do more high-level planning on it using the Master page that shows our whole year, but Mint.com for the tracking and details during the month.

  9. So, do you prefer Mint or YNAB? Or is that not a fair question? :) I used Mint until I got fed up with their crappy budgeting, but also made the switch because I don’t trust automatic categorization. It makes me lazy about tracking where my money actually goes. So I prefer manual transaction entry for now, although I’m definitely curious and tempted to go waste time duplicating my budget in Mint just to never actually use it. :)
    Brynna recently posted..I’m having a baby.My Profile

    • I prefer Mint because I’m cheap ;) Seriously, the $50 barrier to entry has kept me from trying YNAB so far. I know it’s lame, but I just can’t pull the trigger.

      I hear you on the manually budgeting, and I am still very much involved in looking at the categories and each transaction to make sure they ar ein the right spot. But the best part is that Mint.com will learn my spending and get “smarter” the more I use it. I would say spend 15 minutes getting setup and give it a shot for fun. :)

      • YNAB is on sale until the 22nd for $39.99 :)
        I much prefer YNAB for budgeting, and then use Personal Capital for watching all my accounts. Mint just doesn’t have enough flexibility in the budgeting for me.
        Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Median Net Worths Too Low?My Profile

        • Ah, I see. I thought you’d used it. Actually, I just saw on the blog WordsofWilliams.com that you can get it for even more of a discount through them for a limited time. Not to try to change your mind, but it is a good deal! :)

          I will try out Mint as soon as I have some extra time and am in a budget-nerdy mood…
          Brynna recently posted..I’m having a baby.My Profile

          • Hmmm….tempting. We will see. I want to do this Mint experiment for a few months before trying anything else.

        • I tried Personal Capital, but I like Mint’s layout. YNAB may be in the near future….but $40….ugh… ;)

  10. I tried Mint a couple years ago and wasn’t impressed. Since Mint is owned by Intuit, a company that has cheated me in the past, I won’t be using the new version either.
    Andy Hough recently posted..Change of Plans – Back from HikeMy Profile

    • Sorry to hear about that. I’ve enjoyed Mint since before Intuit owned it, and hoping this new budget can help me save some time and headache :)

  11. I’ve been using mint for years now and while it definitely isn’t perfect, it’s plenty good enough for my needs. Though I do go through my transactions once per week and recategorize things that are wrong, I’m honestly not too concerned about tracking everything to the exact penny. If I was, mint would be a much bigger pain in the ass. As it is, I will happily sacrifice a little precision in the name of huge convenience.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Why Do You Have to Beat the Market?My Profile

    • You know, I do track things down to the penny, and it hasn’t been too bad. And I really do enjoy the time saving convenience of their auto-tracking.

  12. It’s cool they made changes to make it better. I know for me I’ve tired the fancy website versions and for some reason I always end up going back to my simple excel spreadsheet. But maybe I’ll give it a try!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Making the Most of Any SituationMy Profile

  13. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and really connected with it.

    We are almost the same age and have the same size family, as well as stay-at-home wives that work much harder than we do.

    I’m a big Minter as well. I love seeing trends in Net Worth build over time.

    Up and to the right is preferred!
    No Waste recently posted..How Did I Get Here? (Part I)My Profile

    • Digging your site as well! And yes, I love watching the net worth tracker. Was depressing until I got above $0 in the past year. Now we’re up over $40k, feelin’ good :)

  14. I tried Mint and still use it to track a few things, but I have issues with it recording some transactions twice. Not sure why. It also automatically includes my business credit cards so it looks like I have a larger balance than I do. I know that’s mental, but I have a mini freak out when I first get in there and see the balance.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..We Cancelled Our Satellite TV!My Profile

    • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

      Kim, that was my issue too…I would have to play with it again, but if your business card is showing up because it’s connected to your overall online banking, there is a way to remove pecific accounts…it annoyed me too! But I was able to remove the accounts I did not want showing up…not sure about duplicate transactions though…that is weird!

    • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

      I found if you go into edit details you can check a box that says remove this from my mint on individual transactions.

  15. Honestly, I have never even looked at mint to see what they have to offer. I think we are happy with the budget we created because it’s simple and gives us what we need. There are so many free budgets out there as long as you find the right one, that’s all that matters.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..What do you want money for?My Profile

    • Simple is the key. Mine has gotten a bit complicated, so moving to Mint might help simplify it again. Still gunna use the master sheet with my yearly planning, though.

  16. I used Mint for years and still recommend it, but I am planning on moving over to Personal Capital because of how they deal with investments which is where my financial pathway is heading. Mint is good, but I want more investment flexibility.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..A Beginners Guide to InvestingMy Profile

    • I didn’t see much difference in investments than Mint, and I actually preferred Mint’s investment layout. Maybe I’m just a newb to investing and wasn’t looking at it right?

  17. I signed up for Mint last year but then never really used it since I use Quickbooks and there were a lot of mistakes in Mint. Maybe I’ll give it another shot. Thanks for sharing!
    Little House recently posted..How Newlywed’s Mess Up Their FinancesMy Profile

  18. I adore Mint. I have a tip: instead of making a “groceries” budget, I make a “Food & Dining” budget (a level above Groceries, Fast Food, etc.). This will easily include all my fast food spending and my grocery spending within one budget, while still allowing me to look an compare how much I’m actually eating out vs buying groceries.

  19. Thanks for this update on Mint. I used to love them, but they did need to do some updating. Now, if they would only improve their investing interface, we’d be golden.
    The College Investor recently posted..Confessions from Recent College Grads: The Reality of the Real WorldMy Profile

  20. I admit it, I am a little “old” school! I use a spreadsheet for budgeting. I have been doing budgets for 40+ years before spreadsheets and I do not rely it that much. I made savings a priority by setting up a payroll deduction and live on what is left. I can get away qith this because I have very little debt and I am constantly watching what I spend.
    krantcents recently posted..Your Career Is Going Nowhere, What Can You Do?My Profile

    • Automation is a SUPER AWESOME way to save money, and I just started this year with my savings buckets. Been great to have the money already there when I need it.

  21. I’ve been on the fence about Mint for quite a while. Should I do? Is it worth it? Are they really that good? (I’m an excel lover myself) Well you convinced me to try them out. I’m glad you took screen shots, I’m very visual so that helps. And like you said, easy peasy. Definitely going to look it over with my husband this weekend. He, like your wife, is not crazy about keeping up with my excel sheets. He’s good with money just not the files and paperwork and all the nerdy stuff. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Look forward to trying them out.
    Francieidy recently posted..Weekly Spending (July 7 – July13)My Profile

    • Report back here! I want to hear how it goes. I’ve been diggin’ it so far this month, and it has been much easier to chat with my wife about where we are, with visuals and all.

  22. First of all- holy moses super long post.
    Second of all- I also love mint. Its the lazy person’s way of doing their finances.

    PS. have you tried wave accounting?
    Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths recently posted..Guess who’s going to BlogHer?My Profile

    • I have not tried it yet, but should probably get on it soon for business accounting. I’ve been using a simple spreadsheet, but things are getting more complicated every year.

  23. Well, all I can say right now Jacob is thank you for introducing mint.com to me. If I didn’t come across this post, I’d have not found out about it. Cheers!
    Marissa @ FinanceTriggers recently posted..Picking the perfect, problem – free pool slidesMy Profile

    • Awesome, glad to hear it! you’ll enjoy it, and once you have it dialed in, you’ll really have a good snapshot of your finances! :)

  24. I LOVE Mint! Mainly for the consolidated view of all our accounts, but the budgeting tool also helps for expenses that vary a lot like food and gas.

  25. I tried Mint back in 2006 when it was a newborn, the Sync feature did not update properly and I would stare at an old budget for ten minutes while trying to fix things. Because of that I gave up and just use my own spreadsheets.
    Rich Uncle EL recently posted..Life is a BeachMy Profile

  26. I’ve never tried it, but will definitely check it out. Thank you guys for sharing about it.
    Marissa @ Thirty Six Months recently posted..$900 GIVEAWAY: Turkey is blowing my mindMy Profile

  27. What does it mean to roll over a budget every month?

Trackbacks

  1. […]  I Heart Budgeting On Mint.com. Mint used to SUCK at budgets, but now they rock. We’ve been on Mint for the past 5 months and are diggin’ it. […]

  2. […] once a month to make sure we are on track. And sometimes when we pull up the ol’ budget on Mint.com, I find that we are in the red in some categories (shocker, I know). It’s always a bummer […]

  3. […] Budgets: I heart budgeting on Mint.com- Iheartbudgets Jacob shares why he likes to budget on Mint. No matter what budget you use, just use one that works for you. […]

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