Budgeting: Mint.com style

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The word budget seems to have a negative connotation for many people. However, numerous students have switched paradigms and feel in control of their checkbooks now, thanks to a handy tool called Mint.com.

Mint.com is a free budgeting website which helps users to view their financial trends, create a budget and stick with it by sending reminders and notices when the user comes close or exceeds the selected budget. The site allows users to view their income, debt, investments, property and more all in one place.

Although security online can be a worry, the site promises safety and security with encryption and physical security up to par with banks. Mint says its practices are monitored and verified by TRUSTe, VeriSign and Hackersafe. It’s also supported by RSA Security. Money is not moved on mint.com; it is only available to view for budgeting purposes.

“It [Mint.com] has changed my budgeting experience,” Kate Gallacher, accounting major from Draper. “It’s much easier to track your expenses. It tells you each week what you spend your money on, so you can adjust, if, for example, you spend $200 on dining out.”

Aside from helping you track your dining budget, Mint offers email and text alerts to remind you of your budgeting goals.

“I really like how it tells me all my balances,” said Brie Hearn, history major from Goshen, N.Y. “It also has a goal-setting feature. This helped a lot when I was saving for my car. It also tracks what you spend over time.”

For those who forget to pay their bills, Mint can help.

“It sends me notices if I go beyond my budget and reminds me of upcoming bills,” said Gallacher.

Mint.com uses visuals to help people easily understand their financial situation.

“I recommend someone use Mint.com because it’s an easy way to get caught up with your finances,” said Greg Moses, exercise science major from Blanding. “It features graphs which give an easy depiction of your spending to help you make better spending decisions.”

Mint also seeks to accommodate to a fast-paced lifestyle.

“I would recommend Mint.com because it simplifies everything,” Hearn said. “I would rather go to one site than six different sites. It’s better than Quicken too because you can view it on-the-go with the iPhone app.”

Mint annoys some because of the number of emails and lack of timeliness with the latest transactions.

“Mint offers money-saving tips, but you can adjust your email settings,” Hearn said. “It also gives you quotes for auto insurance. I actually found it useful. However, I dislike that Mint.com is not always immediate. Sometimes it takes a couple days for it to update your transactions.”

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