How to Create a Budget Using Mint.com
Ready to budget? Mint makes it easy!
So you've finally decided to follow some very sage financial advice and are ready to create a budget. That's a great first step to financial peace of mind. Fortunately, Mint makes it very easy for you to put together a budget online.
Here are the steps you need to follow to create a budget on Mint.com:
1. First, click the following link: http://mint.com
2. Once you're at the Mint homepage, you'll see a button at the bottom of the page that reads: "Free! Get Started". Click that button.
Getting started on a budget is easy with Mint!
4. Once you've signed up, you should see a screen with the words "See all your accounts in one place. Start with your bank or credit card" written at the top. Here, you have the option to search for your bank or select one from the list of icons below. Type in the first few letters of the name of your bank and click the magnifying glass. You should see a list of banks that match your search. Click your bank name.
5. Now, you'll be asked to log in to your bank. Remember, Mint uses the same level of security that are already used by the banks, so you can be sure that your access is totally secure. Just enter your user name and password that you use to log in to your online bank account regularly.
6. It might take a few minutes to connect to your bank as the technical "handshake" occurs. While waiting for that to happen, feel free to add another bank. You can add credit cards and mortgage accounts as well. This will all be necessary to produce an accurate budget.
7. When you're done connecting to your financial institutions, you can just click the "Close" button on the lower right to move on.
8. Once you click the "Close" button, you'll be taken to another screen that provides you with an excellent overview of your financial situation. Scroll down a bit and look on the right hand side. You'll see a section called "Budget". This is a recommended budget for you, based on your current expenses and income.
9. Scroll back to the top and click on the "Budgets" menu item at the top.
10. Now, you should be on a screen that reads "Get your money in order with budgets" towards the top. Scroll down a bit and you'll see your suggested budget.
11. The first item in your suggested budget will likely be "Auto & Transport: Gas & Fuel" with a recommended monthly amount. You might want to increase or decrease that amount. If so, put your mouse cursor over the item and click the "Edit Details" link. A pop-up window will appear with the suggested monthly fuel expense towards the bottom of that window. Adjust that number up or down as required. Click "Save" on the lower, right-hand side of the pop-up.
12. Also, scroll a little bit down and you'll see a budget item labeled "Everything Else". Click that and see how your expenses are categorized. If any of your expenses aren't categorized the way that you see fit, just click the category name and another window will appear that looks like a transaction ledger. Under the "Category" column you can just type in the name of the category you'd like to specify for each transaction. Mint will remember that category whenever you make a purchase at that location.
13. To specify a budget constraint for an expense item that isn't already listed, just click the "Create a budget" button from the "Budgets" screen. There, you'll see the exact same screen that you used in #11 to adjust your fuel budget. Go ahead and select a category and enter a monthly budget for that category. Mint will let you know if you're going over that budget every month.
A budget is a great way to stay on top of your personal finances. Fortunately, Mint offers a suite of online personal finance management tools that includes a budget creator. It's free, so why not start using it today?