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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching for a feasible way to spend endless amounts of money without thinking about where it comes from. As much as I would love this scenario, it’s definitely not a reality for me (but hey, a girl can dream). Part of being a “grownup” is learning to track my spending and keep a budget; otherwise I’ll be eating crumbs for dinner until my next paycheck arrives.
Whether you earn minimum wage or six figures, you should always have a grasp on your financial situation. In order to have an understanding of where all of your money goes, it’s essential that you establish a reasonable budget. Part of adulthood involves managing your money well and creating a realistic budget you can stick to.
The whole budgeting and money management concept may sound boring, but stay with me. The idea of tracking your spending and having a consistent budget probably sounds daunting, overwhelming, and/or downright confusing. Don’t let this hold you back from analyzing your money on the regular.
The word “budget” doesn’t have to give you anxiety every time you hear it. The best way to get to a comfortable financial situation, whether that be paying your bills on time, no longer living paycheck to paycheck (yes, it’s possible), or reaching a savings goal, is by simply monitoring your spending habits and then establishing a budget that you can follow consistently over time.
Spend less than you make. Period.
While there are countless methods for managing your finances and creating a budget, my personal favorite option is the Mint app. Mint provides you with a snapshot of your financial situation by connecting to all of your accounts and cards in one easy app and tracks daily spending across every platform. From there, you’re able to set budgets for categories based on suggestions of your spending habits.
Sounds simple enough, right? There’s even more that this app can do to help you be more financially responsible, like…
Set Bill Reminders
One of the most helpful tools within Mint is the ability to set bill reminders. We all know that paying bills on time is a financial necessity, but we are humans — and between work deadlines, classes, and everything else, it’s very possible that we’ll forget. For those times that paying bills slips your mind, Mint has the capability to notify and alert you.
These reminders on your phone are so convenient because — let’s face it — you always have your phone on you. The ability of Mint as an app on your phone is incredibly convenient, especially when it comes to reminders. I personally use Mint’s bill reminder as a backup to written down reminders, just to ensure I never make a late payment for anything. You can never be too safe, right?
The app has definitely saved me quite a few times. Mint also has the capability to alert you if you have a low balance, or if there’s a sketchy purchase on one of your accounts.
Identify Spending Habits
One of the best (and worst) things I gained from using Mint from the very beginning was the ability to recognize my spending habits, specifically the not-so-good habits. It was incredibly eye-opening to find out that I spend an embarrassing amount of money on things that are frivolous and extremely unnecessary (Target, I’m looking at you).
While treating yourself (every once in awhile) is not always bad by any means, Mint has the ability to reveal poor money management methods and terrible habits. The majority of the time, I need to be made more aware of the unnecessary purchases I make, and Mint is sometimes a needed rude awakening for me.
Tracking your spending encourages you to reevaluate where every dollar of your hard-earned money is going. It provides you with the good kind of guilt that makes you want to be better with how you spend your money, all while helping you stop poor spending habits in their tracks.
Categorize Spending & Create A Budget
If there’s anyone who can appreciate a good excel spreadsheet, it’s definitely this girl. But with Mint, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and there’s no need to over-complicate the idea of a budget. The Mint app will sort all of your purchases into distinct categories for you. FOR YOU. Mint identifies if your money was spent on gas, food, shopping, and so much more.
Based off of these pre-categorized purchases, Mint gives you a starting point for what your budget could look like and allows you to make even more specific categories, like fast food or coffee shop purchases. Honestly, Mint does a lot of the leg work to help you get started. If you need more specific budgets, you’re able to allocate a certain dollar amount to each particular category of spending and personalize it to fit your exact financial needs.
Having this budget easily allows you to monitor exactly how your money is going out. From there, you can identify places where you can save some money, and then create a financial goal through the app, like saving for retirement or that vacation you’ve really been wanting to take.
Mint also has the ability to give you an instant credit score, offer advice based on your money habits, and provide you with your total net worth.
All Your Financial Needs in One Place
Mint truly is an all-in-one financial resource that everyone should have, regardless of your income amount. If you want to be financially savvy, you need to know your money habits and create a budget so that you never spend more money than you have. Mint is extremely user friendly, requires minimal effort from the get-go, and is incredibly simple.
It’s the one tool that helped me gain confidence regarding my finances and take control over how my money was managed. Plus, I learned quite a bit about personal finance along the way.
Using a tool like Mint ultimately allows you to be proactive with your finances by getting familiar with your financial situation, budgeting so you stop living paycheck to paycheck, and spending less money on unnecessary things. Now, there’s no excuse for not monitoring your money and budgeting.
Here’s to getting your finances together once and for all… and you may even have fun doing so! Thanks, Mint.