You cannot improve what you do not measure. I have learned this mantra in business but have seen significant benefit in my personal finances. Hopefully, like me, you’ve diversified your investments investments, not only in different financial products but at different financial institutions. It becomes a pain in the a$$ to keep track of balances and performance individually. Well, there’s an app for that! Mint.com is a web based service that allows you to track balances and transactions from a variety of financial institutions all on one easy to use user interface.
Click Here for mint.com website
This allows me to see my CIBC sccounts, Tangerine accounts, Scotiabank accounts etc all at the same time in the same layout. Everytime I log into mint it retrieves the freshest data for me and displays my current balances as well as all transactions posted to my accounts.
Where it REALLY shines is in the ability to set budgets by category as well as tracks trends in spending and income. The software will attribute a category to each transaction which you can edit or adjust when required, for example: restaurants, fuel, groceries, property taxes, mobile phone etc. You can then watch these over time and adjust when necessary.
By putting all your assets and liabilities into 1 place you are also able to track your net worth conveniently and over time.
Things to consider
There are a few other things to consider, 1. Not all Financial institutions participate in Mint’s program, so in some cases you have to update your balances manually.
2. Depending on the financial institution, sometimes the updates are delayed and you may have to wait for the freshest picture but usually everything runs smoothly. Lastly, you can set it up with automatic alerts for any unusual activity, either busting budgets or when income hits your accounts.
So now i have all this information, what do i do with it? Well, would you look at that, i thought i was spending $400 a month on groceries but i am actually spending $700! Better deep dive into my grocery bill. Or look at all those fees! (I HATE financial fees) lets have a look at my bank and investment structure to streamline those fees. Or maybe, Lets check out my net worth faired in the last year? Well Mint shows me up 1%, inflation is up 2%: not good, time for a change!
I have been using mint for a few years now and it really has been really good at allowing me to go back in time to see historical spending habits and budget according to the situation.
I hope this write up motivates your curiosity and you give it a try. Let me know if you do!