You may have heard the saying, “Mind your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”
Unfortunately, after having some extremely tough times earlier in life, dealing with finances is something that has the tendency to make me nervous–even when things are going well. As a result, I would rather not look at them at all. Isn’t this what disorganization is often about? Whether it’s your bank account or your closet, something has tampered with your emotions in a way that creates a tendency to avoid or ignore. But also similar to other kinds of organizational issues, once you tidy up your finances, it can result in significant peace.
Hands down, the best tool I’ve found for doing this is Mint. Created by Quicken, Mint, is a great tool that can help you get a handle on your money. And best of all- it’s free!
You start by entering in all of your account info from every kind of financial instrument you have. Checking accounts, savings, investment accounts, credit cards, Paypal account– almost anything you can think of. You might be wondering if this is secure, and although nothing is 100% guaranteed in this life, according to my research, Mint does seem to be quite safe. Even if someone is able to log into your account, they can’t actually do anything to your accounts or see your account numbers.
As you spend, Mint keeps track of how much you typically spend in each category. Examples are: food, clothing, gas, insurance, etc. This is an extremely handy feature, because you can use this info to easily create a monthly budget right there.The budget is easily changed if you notice that you need more or less in a certain category.
Mint and I have a weekly standing date on Sunday afternoons. I go thru my transactions to make sure everything looks right, get a handle on how much I’ve spent so far during the month, what bills have already gone thru, and how much I have left to spend according to how much total income I expect to get for the month. Since I’m self employed and pay taxes quarterly, I can also make a budget for the amount of taxes I estimate I’ll have to pay, and Mint will set aside a certain amount monthly and consider it “spent” so there are no surprises when tax time rolls around. It’s also a lot easier to know how much I need to pay taxes on; all I have to do is have the program filter to show me the “Income” category for a given time frame.
One last benefit of Mint is that you can take it with you anywhere. Depending on the kind of phone you have, you’ll likely be able to download the app.
So, take away some of the stress surrounding your finances. Try Mint or a similar financial tool and be organized in every area of your life.
*Full disclosure: I didn’t get paid for this recommendation, but I wish I had. Are you out there Mint? Give me a call 😉