Review: A Great Budgeting Tool

This is a guest post by Jeff B. whom I graduated high school with.  He is an engineer with a passion for investing and personal finance.   Enjoy!


It’s that time of year again, the holidays are approaching quickly and everyone is out shopping for last minute gifts.   This time of the year can be hard on many people while they are trying to squeeze every penny out of their budget to help make this Christmas season a memorable one.

Budgeting can be hard for many people when they have multiple credit cards, joint checking/savings accounts, divided incomes, and a mortgage payment.   It makes it even harder now that you want to surprise your significant other with a gift that will bring a smile to their face.   Well luckily for us, there is an easy way to balance all of these expenses in our life and find out how much money we really have, how much we are saving and most of all how our Christmas shopping will affect our net income this year.

The tool is called Mint ( It’s a personal finance website created by Aaron Patzer back in 2006, which imports and displays all your online banking activity.   It has since been purchased by Intuit (creators of Quicken and TurboTax) and been upgraded to support virtually any bank in the US (and now Canada) that supports online banking.   It is feature rich and easy to use, giving you a simple way to find out how much money you actually have.


Mint has a couple notable features I’ll describe briefly here.   The first is the home page; it gives you a rundown on all your financial accounts, whether it’s a checking account, credit card or mutual fund, it’s all shown on the front page in an easy to read and understandable format.

Mint also features a transaction page which resembles that which you would see in Quicken.   Here you can edit your transactions, split, label and categorize them.   This is important for another feature of mint which shows the breakdown of your expenses by category.   The transaction page allows you to view your aggregate transactions or transactions by account.   This is a good way to see what you’re spending and to check for any incorrect charges.

One of the most helpful features that mint boasts is the Trends page.   This is the eye candy that makes Mint what it is and it’s just that: Eye candy.   It’s a way to visualize your money.   It stead of adding up numbers in your head and trying to see where your money is disappearing to, Mint delivers easy to read and informative charts and graphs.


Mint offers other features such as budgeting and savings plans that show you how much you’ve put away for a specific goal.   The best part about mint is that it’s FREE to use.   What’s better than a free way to help you manage your money?


When it comes to money many people are apprehensive to giving online banking access to 3rd parties.   Luckily for you Mint is run by the same people that run TurboTax, Intuit.   Intuit is a well established company in the financial world, and they are just as secure as your online bank and are not going to run off with your account information.   They only provide read access through, meaning that if someone steals your Mint password they will only be able to see your account balances.   They will NOT be able to make transactions, transfer money or retrieve account specific information.

If you’re still not convinced you can view Mint’s privacy page here:

If you haven’t yet, visit by clicking on the Mint advertisement on the upper right hand side of the website!