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Martha Shaughnessy
AtomicPR for Mint
martha@atomicpr.com
415.402.0230

College Grads: Sticking to a Budget Doesn't Mean Sticking to Ramen

Start off on the Right Foot in a Tough Economy with Money Management from Mint.com


Mountain View, CA · June 18, 2008 – The thousands of college grads heading out on their own for the first time this month will have a harder time "learning to make ends meet" than the Class of 2007. Taking responsibility for personal financial management for the first time is always a challenge, but with gas and grocery prices and rents at unprecedented levels, it's even more difficult and more critical to get off on the right foot. One recent grad turned his experiences into a new online service to encourage good money management habits and provide tools and tips to people just starting out. "I left both home and college at 19, for a summer job in California with an internet start up. That was the summer of 2000, during the dot-com boom, and apartments were scarce. I paid $1,700 a month for a one-bedroom - which was hard to a fford at a $21/hour job, I can tell you." said Aaron Patzer, who has since founded Mint.com. "It wasn't until I got to the apartment that I realized: I have no furniture, no power, no connection to the outside world. Just a roof over my head. I don't think I had really appreciated how many things my parents had taken care of, and paid for, until that day."

Patzer learned from his own experience and now offers real world advice on how new college grads can prepare for successful financial independence by using online tools, simple money management practices and common sense. "When you make the decision to move out, it's a good idea to put together a very simple personal budget that lists all of your one-time expenses." Patzer says. "Whether you'll be paying 100% of these costs, or sharing them among roommates, everyone should plan for:
* Moving Costs, including your U-Haul rental, and either gas or car transport charges
* Security deposit for your apartment
* Rental deposit
* First month's rent
* Phone, Cable and Internet setup and installation
* Household basics like: cleaning supplies, pots and pans, dishes, etc., etc."

"Learn from my mistakes and be prepared wait a couple weeks for your first paycheck," o ffers Patzer. "It took two weeks to get my first one, and then another week for it to clear. That delay, combined with all the unexpected expenses of living on my own, led to my first - and thankfully only - overdraft."

Knowing he was more money-conscious than many of his peers and was still having di fficulty with the transition; Aaron was inspired to create an online service to make budgeting and expense tracking simple. The service, Mint.com, launched last year and has quickly attracted a large base of devoted users. "For someone who is recently out of college and trying to work o ff my credit card debt, this is much better than modeling my finances on Excel every month to figure out what I can pay down," Said Josh, a Mint user who posted about his experience on the Mint.com forum. Patzer's advice follows the same practical nature of his straight-forward Three Principles of Personal Finance:

* Keep it simple. Setting a budget for just 3 - 4 discretionary expenses like restaurants, shopping, books, and entertainment makes it a sustainable change. Remember to budget for that monthly student loan payment, as well.

* Make it easy to keep your money organized. Open new accounts with banks o ffering the best online service you can find. If you also have accounts at school or at home, and a student loan, consider using an online service that automatically collects and analyzes all your accounts on one site.

* Know where your money goes. Often, people fall behind in managing their finances because the combination of a new job, new place and new friends keeps them too busy to collect and total all your receipts each month. To stay ahead of the curve, use a paid or free service that will do the work for you -- categorizing and analyzing expenses to save time and money.

* Put your money to work for you. If you're able to start saving now, put those dollars into your company's 401K (if they o ffer a pre-tax, matching funds program) or a high yield savings account.

* Prepare for the unexpected. Get renter's insurance. Its inexpensive protection and likely the only insurance appropriate for you at this stage in life.

"Because of where I was in my own life, I basically designed Mint.com with the new college grad in mind," says Patzer. "One of our most popular features is the one I wanted most when I got out of school, but couldn't find at any bank: text messaging. I had grown accustomed to accessing all my important data via cell phone, and finances seemed to be the only area where that wasn't true. The contrast is even more striking today." Mint.com sends SMS text messages to thousands of users daily, alerting them of bills due, credit limits, and bank fees. Patzer says that users will soon be able to send text messages to Mint.com soon, to check account balances from their phone.

Patzer keeps perspective, and encourages grads to do the same, "Even though money is tight when you're young, it shouldn't be the focus of your entire life. You can avoid money stress and surprises by using smart budgeting and money management tools. If you start managing your money well in your 20's, you'll be able to do more with your life, have more time for things that really matter and rest easy knowing that you're prepared for the unexpected. Money is really just a tool for living well." Aaron Patzer is the CEO and founder of Mint.com the largest and fastest growing personal finance management application on the web.


About Mint http://www.mint.com

Mint.com is the leading online personal finance service, providing 200,000 users a fresh, easy and intelligent way to manage their money online. And it’s free. Mint is currently managing over $10 billion in transactions and has identified more than $100 million in potential savings for its users. Designed to be effortless, Mint.com takes less than five minutes to set up. Users register anonymously using only a valid email address. Mint then does the rest, securely downloading transaction data from more than 5,000 bank, credit card and investment accounts on a daily basis. Users never need to import or synch their data. Mint, rated top in its category by PC World, applies patent- pending technology and proprietary algorithms to categorize transactions; provide a unified view of all account activity; alert users to low balances, bank fees, upcoming bills, and even potentially suspicious account activity; and give users personalized suggestions for significant savings opportunities. Mint’s management team includes seasoned industry veterans drawn from the ranks of Charles Schwab & Co., eBay, Expedia, Intuit, PGP and other leaders in the finance, security and software spaces. Investors include top venture capital firms and prominent individuals associated with companies including Blue Nile, Google, Intuit, PassMark Security, PayPal, Yahoo! and others. For more information on Mint.com’s free online personal finance service, please visit www.mint.com.
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