Review: The Easiest Way to Build A Budget

While the competition has increased, no site offers a more complete picture of your personal finances than Mint, and no they are not paying me to say that.

Five years ago, if you wanted to find a free, web-based app that took all the grunt work out of tracking your expenses and building a budget, the only place to go was As a start-up, Mint provided a revolutionary new was for consumers to take control of their personal finances. While the competition has increased over the years, Mint remains the best option for those looking for an easy to use, automated, and comprehensive view of their finances. With links to checking, credit, investment, and loan accounts, Mint offers a one stop shop for expense tracking and budgeting and most importantly, offers advice and deals to help you save on these expenses, from switching credit cards to opening a savings account.

Now owned by Intuit, Mint offers additional connectivity with QuickBooks and TurboTax further bolstering its all-inclusive abilities. In addition to its account tracking, Mint now offers free monthly credit score updates from TransUnion, asset value tracking for cars from Kelly Blue Book and real estate from Zillow, bill tracking and scheduling, auto insurance and life insurance comparisons, and both desktop and mobile apps that are the class of their industry. Account set-up is easy, even with two-factor authentication, and the web platform is intuitive and fast.

  • Link and track ALL of your accounts, credit, checking, savings, investment, loan, insurance, utilities, etc.
  • Property value monitoring for cars and real estate
  • Expense tracking with customizable categories and subcategories
  • Budget creation and notification
  • Financial goal creation and tracking
  • Credit score monitoring and improvement simulation
  • Investment performance
  • “Ways to Save” advice for all your accounts from signing up for a different credit card to finding the lowest car insurance rate
  • Desktop and Mobile apps
  • Link to Turbotax to streamline filing of taxes
  • Link to Quickbooks giving small business owners a snapshot of all their personal finances

Two of the biggest complaints about Mint have been greatly improved over the years as they have partnered with more and more financial institutions. Account syncing time and reliability are greatly improved, and you would be hard pressed to find institutions that Mint can’t link to. In addition, they’ve expanded their offerings when it comes to suggested accounts and credit cards, although some glaring omissions (Citi) still exist. For those worried about security, Mint has never suffered a major breach (yet), and does not store account numbers, even if someone where to access your account.

Mint does require active monitoring to insure that all transactions are captured and information up to date, so if you are looking for something to set and forget, Mint might not be the right option for you. However, for those willing to put in the time, Mint offers an incredible amount of insights and savings opportunities.

This may sound like more of an advertisement than a blog post, but I assure you I have no affiliate marketing links or freelance contract with Mint; I just believe it is a great resource to monitor your finances and have yet to find a competitor that offers the same level of connectivity. If you only do one of the activities suggested by The Bargain Bin Guru, signing up for Mint and tracking your accounts on a regular basis is the most effective move you can make.

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