But I hate it, personally. Not for other people. I think it's great for people who haven't been monitoring their finances, and know they need to start. It's great for people who don't really have a system in place. It's great for people whose systems are confined to their house, or office, or just aren't really working for them for whatever reason.
But for me. Oh, it drives me crazy. Well. It drove me crazy. I've stopped using it now.
I think the main reason why I don't like it is that I have a system that I have been using for years, and it works very well. I have a spreadsheet in Google Docs, which allows me to look up bill due dates and amounts from any computer. I sort bills by due date and put monitoring dates on inactive accounts, so I remember to look them up and make sure there isn't some activity that I'm forgetting about, or that is fraudulent. I mark unpaid bills in red so that I notice them. I have usernames (but not passwords) associated with the various accounts so I don't forget my login. It works. It's worked for years. I like it.
Still, I'd heard great things about Mint, and I thought, Ooo! It will do all this FOR me! How great! So I set up an account this past summer, and input all my information. Which is where I ran into my first stumbling block: Mint doesn't have access to all our financial information. It can't get our car loan, for example, because it's through a random credit union that isn't supported. It can't get a couple of our credit cards, and it can't get our savings account because the bank doesn't allow it access.
So, really, that alone is a dealbreaker for me. How helpful is it to have this thing that's supposed to manage your finances if it's only managing MOST, but not ALL, of them? NOT HELPFUL AT ALL, in my humble opinion.
But I plowed on, because I thought oh! It'll still be great for tracking MOST of our finances, and giving a GENERAL IDEA of hot-button spending areas.
HOWEVER. As I moved through the system, I noticed several other complaints. Chiefly:
- It feels less thorough than my own system. It's harder for me to log in and see at a glance exactly what's going on with all our finances and what's due when and what our balances are. As I've mentioned before, we have a lot of credit cards (though we don't use most of them), and so this is especially important to me.
- Relatedly, I don't totally trust it. I know I CAN trust it, but I trust myself more. I sometimes worry that things are slipping through the cracks, and then I review my spreadsheet and check all our account balances to make sure everything is in order. I know there are some areas where too much control is a bad thing, but in finances I don't think that's the case. I like to know what's happening at all times, and feel that I'm in charge of managing it, so I don't forget anything. Mint took too much of the process away from me. I think I learn from doing, and when I don't do, I don't process things and remember them as well. This is a problem for financial management.
- The categorization ended up not helping me that much. The categories weren't always accurate, and they often weren't specific enough, so when I got those notices that said I'd gone over budget on whatever category, half the time they were wrong. AND I got annoyed even if we HAD gone over budget, because I already KNEW that and there was a REASON for it to begin with. (And yes, I know, it's just a website with limited information, not a personal critique. I never said my complaints were RATIONAL.)
- It seems to have a tiny bit of a lag with updating information, which wouldn't be a problem except that it sends out weekly summaries on Fridays, which also happen to be paydays, and it never seemed to know our current bank balance INCLUDING that day's paycheck, so whenever I opened the weekly summary and saw our alleged net worth (which of course didn't include our savings because the savings account isn't supported on the site), I had heart palpitations.
- It sends out payment reminders too early for my taste. Maybe this is customizable and I could change it, but I never bothered to look, because I was already OVER IT. But one email, over a week in advance, isn't going to cause me to remember to pay the bill. Only my spreadsheet causes me to remember to pay the bill. This relates back to the second bullet point about how I have to personally do things in order to really absorb them.
What about you? Do you use Mint, or have you used it? What do you think of it? If you don't use it, what kind of system (or lack thereof) do you use to manage your finances?