Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Money Update

Good morning! It has been a tough week, let me tell you. We had some last minute expenditures I wasn't expecting so we had to dip into the savings account. No credit card usage though!

I hate using our savings to get by, but, as of right now there isn't much of a choice. After this month I should be able to start replacing some of what I have borrowed and then we should have some kind of a system down. I am currently using a spreadsheet format that tells me how much I have for each category. Since I use a debit card, I can easily keep track of the spending online through our back account, however, it is easy to go over what I've budget for one category. So, at the advice of a friend (who posted a comment) I've decided to check out Mint. Can I just say how phenomenal this website is? Let me explain.

Last night I was invited to dinner at a neighbor's home. The ladies ended up sitting around discussing finances and we each disclosed our "system." One has been doing this for a long time (over 7 years) and using the detailed spreadsheet format with the Grocery Game coupon format(more on this later.)*A special thanks to a certain mama for forwarding this to me.* The other neighbor uses the cash only/envelopes system. They both had mainly pros regarding their systems. Here's what they had to say:

Spreadsheet - Pros
1. Keeps detailed track of expenditures
2. Allows them to use the debit or cash only
3. Allows them to allocate funds easily and see their usage throughout the month

1. Sometimes slight overspending can occur because of the debit card vs. cash-only usage.

Cash-only - Pros
1. You pull out the money you need, put it into envelopes, and your set!
2. Once the money is gone, it is gone. No fear of overdrafting.

Granted some of these were not mentioned as "cons" but I wonder if these could be drawbacks?
1. Since you are not using your debit card, you have to manually "monitor" the expenditures by keeping any and all receipts.
2. Missing cash, or, worse yet, missing envelopes!!
3. Security issues with carrying (sometimes) large sums of money. At least with a debit card there is some protection via your bank for stolen funds. (Probably pretty rare, but possible...)
4. The hardest one: You have to start off with having a month's worth of funding to get the ball rolling. Ouch.

So, now onto and the advantages. It allows you to create an entire profile including your net worth. You can put in all of your current debts, liens, and even find out the value of your home. All of your cash assets are added up as well as your debt leaving you with concrete numbers. Furthermore, you can set up a budget AND goals. The goal part is pretty cool because you can track it as time goes on letting you have a visual as well as a sense of success as you creep closer to obtaining the final prize! Now, I won't lie to you. There is some legwork to be done. Once the accounts are set up I've had to do a lot of manual work so that the amounts debited to my accounts are categorized correctly, but I think once that is done, it should be smooth sailing. *A special thanks to Crafty for bringing this site to my attention.*

The website also compares your expenditures to averages nationwide, which I like. I always like to know where I stand compared to other consumers. I will write more about the website as I continue to explore it. For now, that is what jumped out at me.

Hope everyone had a great Monday!

1 comment:

  1. OH I'm so happy to hear you like Mint! It is seriously awesome. The only issue we've had is that our small-time mortgage company isn't compatible with it, so we had to manually set that up, but that's the company's fault and not that of Mint.
    I knew you were like me and would get a kick out of organizational tools and big-picture financial stuff (like net worth). Ha!

    P.S. I believe there is even a Mint iPhone app, although I haven't gotten that far yet!