Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Giving Mint a try September 29, 2008

So all those people in the personal finance blogosphere have been talking about Mint for a while.  I figured I already was using enough different ways to track my money:  I use walletproof to track my expenses pretty closely, and watch My Portfolio from Bank of America, and follow my networth on NetworthIQ.  I’ve tracked my 401(k) and other retirement accounts on Google Finance.  So, you could say I enjoy tracking my money.  I think I like it in part to see what sort of progress I’m making towards paying off debts and growing my net worth.  I also find that tracking my expenses keeps me on top of my spending.  And I think I’ve found that I use different sites since none of them quite fit all my needs.  I like walletproof because it’s simple and helps me to monitor my spending; manual data entry makes me aware of what I’m spending, but I might still forget to enter some of my expenses.  My Portfolio tracks rather nicely most of my assets and liabilities, but sometimes it’s hard to categorize every transaction.  NetworthIQ requires manual data entry, but I do that once a month.  This means I’ve got a static number that can be compared each month, as opposed to the dynamic values found in the automatically updated amounts in My Portfolio.

I had actually created an account with Mint in November of 2007, but I got nervous about security, so I didn’t enter any of my account information into the site.  Then, a few weeks ago, I figured I should go ahead and give it a try.  Actually, just today, I came across a post helping to debunk some Mint myths.

The one weird part I’ve noticed is that it only imported some of my recent account transactions, but also imported a few that are a lot older.  I’m also looking forward to when they have a more in-depth analysis of investments and retirement portfolios.  And I’ve also found some of the categories to be odd or missing, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to add extra categories.  For example, I want to label my T-pass purchases as Transportation, but the closest I can label it is Travel.  It’s not a really big deal, but I’d like to have more accurate descriptions of my transactions.  I do like the analysis features, as well as the automatic data retrieval.  I do find it odd that, when you are able to compare your expenses to big cities, Boston isn’t listed.  But that’s a minor issue.  At any rate, I think I’ll add it to my list of financial tools.

One thing that I think comes up a lot with these sites, besides security concerns, is the inability to import some of your accounts.  Of my friends that use Mint or My Portfolio, a few (including a blogger or two) aren’t able to add accounts/debts from smaller organizations.  I’m sure that both companies are working on including more, but in the meantime, you’ll have to enter the numbers manually every month for My Portfolio (and I’m not sure if there’s an option like that for Mint).

On a related note, has anyone else had issues with My Portfolio, specifically with updating imported ING accounts?  I’ve found that it wants me to re-enter my login information, but when I do, it still doesn’t work.

How do you keep track of your money (or lack thereof)?  I know Penny was asking the same thing a while back (and heard from quite a few people!)  But I’m curious as well!  And I’d love to hear if anyone has that My Portfolio/ING thing figured out.

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8 Responses to “Giving Mint a try”

  1. Craig Says:

    Good post, Mint is an excellent tool but another tool to check out is http://www.budgetpulse.com. It is a free personal budgeting tool that does not sync to banks, so no personal account information is used so there are no security issues. Users strictly input the data they want allowing them to accurately describe their transactions. Please have a look and if you would like further information, please feel free to contact me. Great blog and I look forward to future posts.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com
    craig@budgetpulse.com

  2. Money Maus Says:

    I use Mint and my own Excel spreadsheet. However, I will start to use Mint more as I found out that it can access my 401(k) account through the third-party my company uses. I also have my checking/savings account and my credit card on there – however I cannot get Mint for the life of me to link to ING!! I will have to check out some of your suggestions now 🙂

  3. GG Says:

    The only problem I’ve had with Mint is that it sometimes double-imports transactions. My $15 at Target shows up two times in a row, and no updating fixes it. Otherwise, though, it’s a nice, free way to see my money.

  4. Shtinkykat Says:

    Gee. I guess I’m old school. I use my trusty Excel spreadsheet to track my 401k, Roth, investment account, my savings account and all debts. I guess I track everything except my cash expenditure. 😀

  5. penny Says:

    I’m going to re-post about this tonight…will link to you! 🙂

  6. Penny Says:

    Not at all! I’m glad you fueled on the discussion and let us know how your trial run of Mint goes in the long-run! 🙂

  7. […] I’ve been trying to track everything since then.  I’ve mentioned before that I have quite a few ways I keep track of my […]

  8. […] I’ve mentioned before that I use a bunch of different ways of tracking my money (and lack thereof!)  Recently, I’ve noticed that my ING Direct accounts are not updating […]


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