How I Saved Thousands Using These Mint.com Hacks
Many people are curious how I budget my money so I can afford to go to places like London, Reykjavik or Paris or how I paid off $65k of my student loans, and I tell them mint.com. Mint has a desktop and responsive design for desktop, tablets, and phone apps. Saving thousands of dollars comes starts with envisioning your finances and then getting down with the numbers. If you’ve ever had trouble in the past with budgeting, Mint makes budgeting so much easier than pen and paper.
Getting Started with Mint.com
My 10 Mint.com Hacks
So you’re probably thinking, why should I care about using mint.com? This lady is probably getting some sort of paid affiliate for marketing this stuff. And no, I’m not getting paid to talk about mint.com, I just really appreciate their product. Once you link your bank account up to Mint, you’ll be able to begin to set a budget.
Here are my favorite hacks when it comes to using Mint’s budgeting tools.
- Determine your financial goals. At the beginning of my financial journey, my goals were to pay off my student loans, but this really could be anything from purchasing a house to saving $1,000 for your emergency funds. My goal now is to save for our adoption. I also highly recommend using financial calculators when considering purchasing a car or paying down debt.
- Add a budget for your fixed expenses. If you need help with learning how to add a budget, watch the first video above. Fixed expenses are often costs that occur each month like rent/mortgage, internet, streaming services, auto insurance, student loans, etc. You can find the same annual budget planner that I used to pay off $65k in student loans for free here.
- Calculate your income. If you are paid hourly or salary, you most likely are paid at a certain time each month or week. Track the time and amount down. This will help you determine when the funds are available to pay your bills. If your income fluctuates, try saving an extra 30% aside for the months when your income is lower. This will do wonders to help keep you on target and ward off late payments or overdraft fees.
- Average your variable expenses. Variable expenses are basically any expense that are not the same each month. These include groceries, eating or dining out, gifts, or car maintenance. Check out my video below to see how I budget groceries.
- Decrease your variable expenses each month by tracking your average spending habits. This is one of my favorite tools about Mint.com You can actually look at trends within your spending by category like food and see how you spent from month to month. Eating out is my weakness! I save big by shopping at Aldi, so that I can set aside enough money for date nights with the hubby and my coffee splurges.
- Check out your spending trends. I both love and hate this feature on Mint. I love it because I get an email that is brutally honest with how I’ve spent and how I compare to previous months. I hate it because it’s brutally honest and sometimes I’ve gone overboard.
- Review your Net Worth on Mint.com, hopefully, this will increase over time. Net worth basically gives you a rundown about your total income, assets against your liabilities. Assets include things like cars, houses, checking and savings account balances, 401(k) accounts, and other investments. Liabilities include things like credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, student loans, etc.
- Set goals with Mint.com. You can easily set up a goal in Mint.com, but I also suggest that you write down your goals and set it in a place you will see often like your fridge or in your bedroom. Emergency funds are definitely important. You’ll want to make sure you have at least $1,000 saved. Check out my post about how to save $1,000 here.
- Watch your categories spending. I’m a super visual person so seeing the little circle graph is both satisfying and gut-wrenchingly honest. You can sort your spending by categories and see how you are doing month to month.
- Compare your monthly spending. Mint allows you to compare your spending from weekly, monthly, last three months, and even the same time last year. This is a great tool when it comes to taking a lot of guesswork out of the numbers.
Using the hacks above, we were able to successfully save up over $5k in one month by decreasing our expenses and maximizing our savings rate. Now that our debts have been paid off, we plan on using the extra income to pay for our international adoption, my Master’s program, and go on awesome anniversary trips to Greece. These things were only possible when we got down to what we wanted our life to look like and made a plan.
Getting on board with the numbers doesn’t happen overnight!
One of my favorite quotes is,”Water cuts through rock not because of it’s strength, but because of it’s persistence.”
Let me know what hacks you use to save money! And if you ever need some extra help, I’m always here to answer your questions. My comment box is lonely, please share the love.