My Favorite Personal Finance Tool - Mint

Be aware of your finances, but don't spend your time on them. That is the route I choose to take. Just like investing. KISS. Keep it simple stupid. 99.9% of my purchases are by card. Keeping track of cash purchases would take a bit of time and I don't want to spend my hours looking at/for for my paper receipts. So I rely on technology.

Every morning I open Mint and see where I am at. I glance for erroneous expenses, my net worth for the heck of it, and spending trends by category. Not only are the numbers in real-time, but there are nice graphs and charts visually conveying the good, bad and ugly.

There isn't much that can brighten up my day more than to see that me and my wife are on track with our predicted budgets or that infamous net worth has increased a bit more than expected. It reminds that I am in control of my destiny. Now, I know I shouldn't have much faith in certain balances. e.g. Index funds, 401Ks, and home value, but I find seeing that line moving in the right direction extremely motivating. It let's me know that my plan is working. The plan to be Financially Independent.

When I first started using Mint I couldn't pull in data from all of my accounts. At that time, I did attempt to do more of a manual process, but it was a bit of a time-suck. Now, all of my accounts, plus car and home value are pulled in and it updates daily. One thing, that I think would be neat is if you could thumbs up or thumbs down purchases or categories. This idea is straight out of Your Money or Your Life. Essentially, you decide whether or not that purchase met it's fulfillment expectations. It would be another reminder of how that expense relates your level happiness.

Mint recently even added Bill Pay capabilities, which is great, but we already have our bills setup through other services. Give Mint a try and see if it helps out your financial ambitions.