Saving

My Mint Story: I Paid Off $33k in Student Loans

Meet Tim:

 

Tim loves Mint. Here’s his story:

 

I first started using Mint about four years ago, and I quickly became obsessed with learning all the time and money saving tricks on the site and mobile apps.

My objectives were to save more money, eliminate debt, and spend as little time managing my money as possible.

Mint provided a solution to all three priorities, and I was hooked.

How I paid off debt

Paying down debt for me meant paying off $33,000 worth of student loans and about $10,000 in car payments.

I went after the car payment first because it had the smallest balance and the highest interest rate. Killing this first debt was a huge motivator to conquer the rest.

The interest rates on my public and private loans were pretty similar, 4.5% and 5.5% respectively, so I took the smaller of the two loans and began chipping away as fast as I could afford.

As soon as one of them was gone, I turned to the next one right away (which is important because I had momentum and was already used to making extra payments each month).

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but eventually all three were gone!

Each time I paid off a loan I became stronger and more determined to beat them all. Seeing all of your debt in once place can be overwhelming, but if you tackle it one step at a time, you can become debt-free too, so hang in there!

How I save money

My grandpa always told me to write down my goals. Everyone wants to do big things like travel or start a business, but having a goal written in black and white makes you much more accountable. Saving money is no different.

I automate my savings and keep track of my progress using Mint because it keeps me motivated. I use the app to check my progress easily and often, without having to login to my bank account each time.

Another less obvious benefit to forced savings (beyond ensuring that you actually save), is that it reduces anxiety when you eventually spend the money.

For example, my wife and I love to travel, but we found that even if we had enough money we were still stressing about all the costs that add up during the trip. Spending fatigue sets in pretty quickly, and it can really ruin a trip.

So, we set up a travel savings goal and automatically save $500 toward that goal each month. Now when it comes time to take a trip, the anxiety is gone because the money is set aside and spending it doesn’t result in added financial strain.

It almost feels like we’re using someone else’s money!

How I saved time

Probably the most surprising benefit I have seen from using Mint is in time saved. I no longer have to spend hours manually connecting to my online bank account, uploading, and categorizing each transaction every few days.

I also use Mint’s mobile and tablet apps, which means I don’t have to be in front of my computer to view or make changes to my financial records.

Here are a few time-saving tricks I’ve used over the years.

  • Any time you want to drill down from something general to something more specific (like transactions within a budget), always right click and open in a new tab. That allows you to open what you want to see without losing your place in the original tab. This is a super simple trick, but it’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.
  • Universal transaction search is easily my favorite feature of Mint’s iOS and Android apps. It sure beats logging into your bank app and manually searching! To get there from the home screen, tap “Accounts”, then “All Accounts”, and enter your search terms at the top. This is great for remembering how much something cost or verifying past spending. For example, if it looks like my utility bill has gone up, I can look up all my past bills in seconds.

Mint is an incredibly powerful tool that can do wonders for your savings and debt picture. With so many features and functions, it allowed me to finally get control of my financial life.

Tim loves Mint so much that he wrote an entire book about it. If you’re interested in becoming a Mint pro, check out Tim’s guide, The Mint Manual: A short-cut to mastering and saving money with Mint.com. MintLife readers can save 20% by entering the code “MintLife20″ at checkout.

Thanks, Tim!

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