Track your finances with Mint

Probably the best way to keep track of your monthly spending habits is to use mint.com. The way it works is that you connect your relevant credit card accounts and bank accounts to it, and so then you will have one place you can go to check all your expenses and charges. What’s great is that it creates a nice graph for you, whether you want to view by category or time period, so you can really visualize everything.

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You can customize the time period, choose between bar graph and pie chart views, include or exclude charges, monitor income, create a budget..pretty much anything you’d want to do to organize your finances is on this site. It is unbelievably useful, and all free to use!

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You might be initially concerned about inputting all your account login information, but rest assured that they have bank level encryption and security. The parent company is Intuit, a well known and respected tax software company. I have been using the website for 8 years now, and have never had anything compromised.

Another cool thing about this site is that it allows you to track your debts, so you can connect your student loan accounts, or any other loan accounts, and track the progression (or lack of) of your payoff. It helped me see that after 5 years of making minimum payments on my student loan, I really wasn’t denting it at all, so I ended up making bigger payments, and now and chipping away at it quite nicely. It also alerted me to how much extra I was spending just eating out, which never really bothered me until I saw it in a chart and saw that it was my largest expense other than rent. Picture is worth a thousand words!

Bottom line is, if you want a user friendly and free way to keep track of finances, you must give Mint a try.

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