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June 4, 2012

How To Track And Manage Your Money For Free

The old days of balancing your checkbook by hand is over!  A lot of you reading this may not even know what balancing a checkbook is.  It is a cumbersome technique where you take your bank balance, and for every check you spend or deposit, you update by hand in a ledger to maintain the current balance you have in your account.

With the advent of online banking, all you need to do is login to your account to find out your balance.  Now there are even more ways to easily track and manage your money throughout all your accounts.  Mint.com was founded in 2006 and was purchased by Intuit in 2009.  This online tool lets you sync all of your financial services into one place to do easier analysis of where your money is spent.

All you do is input your login information for each of your financial accounts (savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, etc) and they automatically pull your balances and spending information so you can do stuff like easily see how much you spend on food over month to month.  It has categories such as home, gas, shopping, restaurants and you can see a big picture of where your money is coming and going rather than partial pictures by logging into each of you accounts.

One thing you might be concerned about is giving your login information for your financial services to a 3rd party.  This is a legitimate concern and I felt the same way when I started using mint when they were a small company.  I feel that after the acquisition by Intuit this is kind of a less concern.  They are mainstream now and a creditable company and I don’t see them doing anything besides data gathering.  If you’re concerned about your privacy, then maybe mint.com is not for you.

The best thing is mint.com is free and it works great.  It displays your financial information in easy to read charts and can help you cut things to save some money.

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