How To Use Mint.com – The Mint Manual

How To Use Mint.com - The Mint ManualHey everyone! Each year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions that relate to financial goals.

Most want to spend less and save more, but like most resolutions, no changes are actively ever made.

Mint.com is a website that I highly recommend. I’m sure most of you have heard of Mint (there are over 10 million users!). In case you haven’t, Mint.com is a website that allows you to better manage your finances.

It allows you to track your financial accounts (such as bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments and so on), all on one safe website so that you can work towards your financial goals a little more easily.

Mint.com is awesome, and I think even more people should be using it.

I have heard that many people are a little intimidated by the software, and that is where The Mint Manual (yes, that’s an affiliate link, but I do believe that it is a great product) comes in!

The Mint Manual was created by Tim Murphy, and I had the pleasure of talking to him and conducting an interview. He was super helpful in answering common questions so that more people can use the product to their advantage.

Do you want a five-second summary of The Mint Manual?  Mint.com is awesome and understanding the basics of the software is easy, but anything beyond that can be confusing – especially when you get into the mobile apps. Tim wrote The Mint Manual to help people become Mint pros – fast!

 

How has Mint.com helped you? What do you enjoy the most about it?

I’m just going to say it – my finances are a big, ugly, complicated mess. My wife and I share all of our accounts (401Ks, IRAs, multiple checking, brokerage accounts, mortgages [we have two], multiple income streams, and about a dozen savings accounts).

The thought of trying to manage all those accounts separately makes me a little nauseous.

With Mint, managing multiple, complicated accounts is not only easy, but it’s actually kind of enjoyable (insomuch as managing finances can be “enjoyable”). Mint was made for people who hate managing their finances, and having all of our financial accounts under one profile really simplifies things.

That’s probably what I enjoy most – the simplicity and automation. Mint does a great job auto categorizing your transactions, meaning less work for you. And when Mint gets it wrong, you can easily set up rules to automatically categorize transactions in the future (more on this below).

I also love using Mint to “Google” my past transactions. If there is ever a question about how much something cost, where I shopped (very helpful after the Target credit card breach), or when I bought, I can look it up in Transactions in about 3 seconds. Here’s an example of how to quickly look up transactions on a mobile device.

 

What made you want to create The Mint Manual? 

Clearly, I’m a Mint fan. It’s dead simple to set up and learn the basics, and they do almost all of the work on the front end for you. All you have to do is enter your account info and they’ll sync all of your past activity. But therein lies Mint’s fatal flaw – users are conditioned to think they don’t have to do ANYTHING, so they usually just stop at the basics (pretty much just transactions and maybe budgets).

Mint is an incredibly sophisticated web and mobile app, and it’s a shame to use an advanced, highly functional tool for only the most basic tasks. The more you dig into Mint, the more you see how powerful it really is.

The idea for The Mint Manual came after I learned about a guy who wrote a detailed user guide for Evernote because he didn’t think people were getting the most out of it. So, I decided to do the same for Mint. I’d been a power user for years, and after talking to tons of people about how they were using Mint, I saw that most were grossly underutilizing it.

And because Mint doesn’t offer any guidance beyond basic tutorials, the only way to really become a Mint pro is through lots of trial and error (the way I did).

But trial and error is terribly inefficient, so I wanted to create value for my readers by offering a short-cut to becoming a Mint expert.

 

What’s one awesome trick you think all Mint users should be utilizing?

On the web app, when editing/reviewing transactions or budgets, right-click and “open in a new tab” to drill down on a specific transaction. That way you can set aside multiple transactions to review and not lose your place on the Transactions screen. This one “trick” will save you tons of time that would be spent navigating back and forth.

One more huge time saver is auto categorizing (though this can only be done on the web app). For example, many restaurant names don’t obviously sound like restaurants (i.e. something vague like “Posh”), so Mint might leave them as Uncategorized. Rather than having to manually categorize Posh every time you dine there, find a recent Posh transaction and click on “Edit Details” right below the Description field. In the window that opens, check the box next to Rules that says “Always rename ‘Posh’ and categorize as Restaurants.” Now Mint knows that “Posh” transactions are always Restaurant transactions and it will file them accordingly.

 

How do you think The Mint Manual can specifically help someone? Is it just for beginners?

It’s is definitely not just for beginners. In fact, because Mint is super easy at first, The Mint Manual is best for people who want to move beyond the basics but don’t want to spend hours poking around the site and mobile apps to find out what features exist and what they can do.

The Mint Manual is really meant for people who want to get the most out of Mint, but don’t want to spend dozens of hours learning the app. It’s a quick reference to what the Mint website and apps can and, sometimes more importantly, what they can’t do. By having an easy reference point, readers won’t waste time digging for a feature or function that doesn’t exist, or only lives on the Mint website or one of the Mint apps.

It also teaches readers to spend LESS time with their money by automating as much as possible. No matter how beautiful or slick a personal finance app is, it’s still a personal finance app :), so the idea is to spend as little time on it as possible.

 

Do you work for Mint?

Nope, though with my constant evangelization, I can see why some might think I do :). I’m just a huge fan of their web and mobile apps, and as free money management systems go, you simply can’t beat Mint.

While I don’t work with Mint currently, I’d definitely love to partner with them down the road. That’d be a great way to get The Mint Manual to more Mint users and to really ensure that people are fully leveraging this amazing app.

What are you waiting for? Go get your copy of The Mint Manual today!

Do you use Mint.com? How has it helped you?

What is your top financial goal for 2014?

Comments

  1. DC @ Young Adult Money says

    I do not use Mint.com but instead use an “old-fashioned” excel database. I have heard that some banks/credit cards are not able to import into Mint for one reason or another, but again I haven’t actually gotten around to checking it out. My top financial goal this year is to increase my online income.

  2. Lauren says

    Been using Mint for about 6 months now, and I love it! It’s the perfect tool for tracking our accounts and staying on top of our budget. I recommend it to everyone. Might have to check out the manual- auto categorizing would definitely save me some time, thanks for the tip! :)
    Lauren recently posted..Travel Hacking: Can we do it?My Profile

  3. Michael says

    I’ve been using Mint for several years and I love the site. Especially where you can have a visual of where your money is going. When my food slice is bigger than the bills slice, that’s a problem and I can nip it in the bud. We forget that those $5 coffe runs add up quickly.

  4. Liz says

    I haven’t used Mint before simply because I’ve always used Quicken. If they’re anything alike, I would say that having some sort of software or app to help you manage your finances is incredibly valuable. I know that having Quicken has really helped me see the big picture of my finances. As far as a goal for 2014, I would say it’s to be debt free as soon as possible!
    Liz recently posted..Trading City Living for Simpler Suburb LifeMy Profile

  5. John@MoneyPrinciple says

    In the UK Mint doesn’t work. We do have lovemoney.com which does a similar thing although as most of our accounts are with one bank, we can see them with their online system anyway. However it is a good idea to have a neutral platform – it can promote competition between banks so that the consumer gets a better deal.

  6. Charlie @ Our Journey To Zero Debt says

    I’ve been using mint for years now but not until my wife and I decided to become debt-free have we used it in a serious manner. I’m combing through each transaction and making sure it’s categorized to one of our budgets, mainly miscellanous fund. Good thing is, all of our budgets are fixed expenses (mortgage, utilities, etc) so that makes it easy.

    I also use Level Money (iPhone app) along with mint.

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