untitled1With the vast number of personal finance managers available on the web, it’s daunting to even think of where to begin.  We’ll guide you through one of the most feature-packed, oddly fun money managers on the web that helps make your finances easy to track and control.

The account setup process is beyond simple.  Mint begins by asking for your bank name and since they support over 7,500 banks, chances are high your bank is supported.  It verifies your login credentials and pulls the transaction data from your account.  Setting up additional accounts for credit cards, investment accounts, and loans are just as easy.

Once set up, you can browse your transaction history on each registered account.  Mint is smart enough to categorize most transactions based on the description of the vendor.  Every so often, Mint can’t quite determine to which category a purchase belongs.  In these cases, you can manually select from a drop down list of preset categories, or even make your own.  Mint can remember how you categorized these unknown transactions for the future.

mint2Creating month-to-month budgets within your profile is easy.  You simply choose the category and limit and Mint keeps track of each budget through your transaction history.  You can also setup Mint to send you summaries via email or text, which includes your balances and budgets.  You can setup alerts for low balances, impending credit card bills, unusual spending, large purchases or deposits, and many more.

Mint also creates easy to read charts and graphs that detail your spending to help break down room for future savings.  It can tell you how mint3 much you spent in each category for a particular time period or how many trips you made to each vendor and the amount spent.  Mint also generates helpful charts to see how your spending habits compare to others throughout the nation.

There’s a separate tab for all your investments that keeps watch on your eventually worthless GM stock portfolio.  Stocks, Bonds, and IRAs are all supported and tracked through interactive graphs that compare with the market.  You can see individual stocks or bonds within the portfolio and compare your investment choices.

Based on your spending habits, Mint provides a ‘Ways to Save’ tab that helps find and apply for credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and more.  Let’s assume this is how Mint keeps its service free.

mint4Mint also offers a free app for iPhone users available in the App Store.  While the app is not nearly as full-featured as its web counterpart, it does offer a variety of features that come in handy on the go.

Users are greeted with and account balance for savings and checking accounts, and how much is on credit for the month.  Budget information for the whole month is displayed with a marker indicating how ahead or behind your budget is.  Cash flows are displayed through an income bar and an expense bar.  Investments are listed at the bottom for an update of your portfolio value.  Each of the above categories can be selected for greater detail of each transaction, each budget, and each investment.

Ultimately, Mint is a powerhouse personal finance manager.  The ability to pull multiple accounts into one location makes managing your accounts so much easier.  The feature rich service offers what competitors don’t.  Not only will you learn more about your spending habits but you may even enjoy doing it.  Give it a try, it won’t disappoint. After all, it’s free.