Review of Mint.com for People Considering Debt Consolidation
Without a doubt, debt is a major problem for millions of American adults.
The source of this debt ranges from student loans and credit cards to car payments and mortgages. It’s very easy to feel overburdened when your hard earned money barely covers the payments each month and more bills are coming in the mail.
But you can get through this.
And Mint.com is one of those tools you can use to help fight your debt problem. It is free to use and has many great features for getting your finances in order. Even if you are considering debt consolidation for dealing with your debts, Mint is a great compliment to that plan.
What is Mint.com and How Can It Help You?
Mint is an online money management software that makes it very easy to organize your finances and get things done, especially if you are in debt. It can help you budget better and it helps you make your payments on time.
The company is owned by Intuit, the same company that produces the popular QuickBooks and TurboTax software.
One of the biggest advantages with this online tool is its ability to link up with your bank accounts, loan accounts, investment accounts and most other financial services that you have an online account with.
It can then pull in your account balances as well as your transaction records and categorize them appropriately. Although Mint doesn’t support every single financial institution out there, it covers all of the major ones and a surprising number of small institutions including credit unions with only one or two branches.
If your institution is not supported or you find it doesn’t work well, you do have the option to manually add transactions and account balances.
Once your financial data is imported into Mint, transactions are automatically placed into categories such as Gas and Fuel, Auto Payments, Groceries or Rent.
There is a lot of flexibility in adding your own categories as well.
This section is very helpful when reviewing your credit or debit card usage and making sure checks were cashed properly.
Beware that transactions may not show up for a few days depending on how quickly your financial institution reports them. The categorized transactions are compared against your budget.
Great Online Budgeting Tool
Mint’s budgeting tool is extremely powerful. You can set your expected income and break down expenses by category.
When you log into Mint.com, your budget is displayed and each category is color coded based on whether it’s on track, in danger of going over budget, or has been exceeded.
Options for non-repeating or semi-regular expenses such as an oil change every three months or a one-time medical are easily applied to your budget. Budgets in Mint work on a monthly basis, but the website has an entire section dedicated to showing long term trends in spending and income.
Available in both chart and graph form, this money-management tool can show you your spending habits over the past six months, year or as far back as your transaction history reaches. There is also a breakdown of expenses by category.
If you notice you spend more on coffee houses than you do on rent, it may be time to cut back.
Easily Set Your Goals
One of the newer tools available on the site is Goals. There’s a selection of goals available or you can create your own. Suppose you’re saving for a new house, you simply create a new goal and the app helps you figure out how much you need to save each month to reach that goal.
As time goes on, your estimated finish date is recalculated to reflect your actual saving habits.
This is especially easy if you link a savings account to your goal so that the app can track it automatically. Once a goal is created, Mint walks you through the next steps, whether it’s talking to a loan officer at the bank or contacting a real estate agent.
Intuit is able to offer Mint.com as a free service because of partner advertising. One section of the site is dedicated to finding offers on credit cards, bank accounts, automobile insurance and retirement savings plans that are superior to what you have now.
The ads are unobtrusive and are targeted specifically to help you.
They also guarantee that your financial information is protected by their “bank-level security” and that information only travels in one direction so even if your account was compromised, attackers would only be able to see your money but they would not be able to do anything with it.
So What’s the Conclusion of Our Mint.com Review?
This tool is a great compliment to how you currently manage your money. Whether you owe money and are thinking of consolidating debt, or you just want to get a better handle on your money, www.mint.com can help you accomplish your goals.
In addition to an array of personalized tools, the site also has a large number of useful financial articles to help you get back on track. The site is free to try and that’s a great price to pay to help yourself get out of debt.