The Intermediate Guide How to Get More Out of the Mint

Budgeting can be difficult, but Mint makes it much less painful. It’s free, easy, and tracks your spending automatically. But if you’re willing to dig in and use some of its less often touted features, you can actually turn it into a powerhouse.

We’ve shown you how to get started with a basic budget with Mint , and if you’ve never used Mint before, you should check it out first. Here we are going to get more details and show you how to customize your experience with additional intermediate features and third party tools.

Break up bulk purchases with OneReceipt

Mint is great at automatically categorizing the money you spend. The problem is that some purchases include items that fall into different categories.

Let’s say you bought coffee, shoes, and a book from Amazon. This single order falls under grocery, shopping, and entertainment, depending on how you categorize things. But since this is a single transaction, it will just fall into whatever mint category you assigned to Amazon (the default category is Shopping).

You can of course get around this by splitting one Amazon transaction into multiple transactions. Click the split icon, then list each item you purchased, list the price, and categorize it. The problem is this: who remembers exactly how much they spent on each item in the same order?

This is where OneReceipt comes in handy. We’ve already told you about this tool – it tracks your online checks. Link it to your email and it will find all your online purchases and track them in its database. They now have a Chrome extension that works with Mint. It matches the receipts in your email with your mint transactions. So when you see that single Amazon order in Mint, you can click the receipt icon and it will tell you exactly how much you spent on each item in that order.

Yes, you still have to manually split and classify the transaction, but that makes things much easier. Keep in mind: the extension works depending on the seller and the amount. So after splitting the transaction, OneReceipt can no longer find it because the amount has changed.

Shared budget expenditures with split and hide

Buying together can be a headache at the Mint. It’s not Mint’s fault – how does he know you have shared a transaction with someone else? One way to get around this is the old split and hide method. Split the transaction, calculate the amount your friend paid you, then select “Hide from Budgets and Trends” from the category menu.

I use this method with an expense that I share with my boyfriend. We share our finances, but we have a shared credit card for shared expenses. When the bill is due, I pay him, and he writes me a half check. When Mint adds a transaction from that card, I simply split it into two transactions and then hide one of them from my budgets and trends. This way I get a more accurate idea of ​​what my own spending looks like. When his check shows up at the Mint, I just hide it, since I already hid his share of the cost.

It is a little easier to hand over. I have set up a rule to automatically classify the amount of my rent check as Mortgage and Rent. I pay the rent, my boyfriend writes me a check for his half, and that particular amount automatically falls into the rent category as well. Since his check is in debit, a large amount of rent is cut in half in my budget – that’s the exact amount of what I’m actually paying.

Track your cash spending with a simple system

The Cash & ATM mint category can really come in handy. When you withdraw money from your account and then manually add your cash transactions, Mint will add them back to the Cash & ATM transaction until it reaches zero.

Let’s say you spend $ 100 in cash. First, make sure it is categorized as Cash & ATM at the Mint. Then let’s say you spent $ 25 on lunch. Manually enter your cash transaction into Mint, select “Automatically deduct this from my last ATM withdrawal,” and your initial withdrawal transaction will now be $ 75. It makes sense – you’ve added a $ 25 lunch, so it’s okay.

Redditor Cputerace points out that you can also use this category to handle split transactions. If someone gives you cash for the lunch bill you paid, simply split the transaction at the mint and then add the portion as Cash and ATM. Anyway, it is basically like a withdrawal, since you have cash. If you simply hid their split amount from your budget, the money they gave you at dinner would not be included in your budget.

And if you pay a lot in cash, there is a fun trick for that too. After withdrawing a lump sum from their account , Reddit user InMintCondition offers :

Please classify your ATM transaction as Cash & ATM. Thus, the withdrawal does not appear in your budget. In my case, I withdrawn $ 80 from an ATM. Change the date of your ATM transaction to the last day of the month (i.e. June 30). Thus, the ATM transaction is always done at the very top. You will always know how much money you have in your wallet. Let’s say you spend $ 2 out of $ 80 at an ATM machine in a restaurant. Click the Split This Transaction button on the ATM transaction from step 1. Submit $ 2 under the Restaurants category. Your cash spending is now reflected in your coin budget. Add additional splits to your ATM transaction as soon as you spend your cash. In the end, the “Cash & ATM” transaction from step 1 should go to zero as you spent all the money.

With this method, instead of entering your cash transactions, you simply continue to split the original withdrawal transaction.

You can also enter your cash receipts manually. Keep track of your receipts in your wallet, and at the end of the week, month, or whatever, take them out and enter them all into the Mint as cash transactions.

Train your mint to learn how to spend

Mint has a great ‘rules’ feature that lets you automatically categorize expenses. When you select a category, Mint will ask you to always select that category for that seller.

Let’s say you go to a restaurant called Adobe. The mint may not recognize it and it may automatically classify it as housing . But if you manually change the category to restaurants , Mint gives you the option to “always classify this seller in restaurants.” Check this box and you will never have to re-classify it again. If you often go somewhere, this will come in handy.

You can also do this with a specific amount. This is what I do with my half of the rent. When I first classified this check, I had the option to “always classify checks for that amount as Rent and Mortgage.” Now the Mint knows when I paid the rent based on the amount alone.

With these rules in place, you don’t have to constantly type and organize things in Mint. It gets even more automatic if you’re willing to put in a little effort ahead of time.

Of course, Mint always needs some maintenance. You will most likely spend your money in a place that Mint does not recognize. Or you will have cash transactions. Or you will need to split transactions. The key to Mint is to find a routine to take care of it. Review your recent transactions once a week or every couple of weeks and make sure of the following:

  • Everything is correctly categorized
  • All your cash expenses entered
  • Bulk transactions have been split
  • Joint deals were split

If you make it a routine to clean up these things in Mint, it becomes even easier to use.

Organize royalties and expenses with tags

With tags, you can add detail to your budget without complicating it.

You can create and add specific tags to transactions so that you can find those transactions later. The built-in “reimbursable” tag is useful, for example, to find IRS royalties. You can get even more details and track specific findings. Add, for example, the tags “business trip” and “home office”. This makes it very easy to find these tax deductions. All you have to do is search for the tag.

Tags can help you stay organized beyond that. Let’s say I have a category for travel – it could be weekend trips, work trips, or vacations. Instead of creating a separate category for each (which would make my budget a lot more complicated), I can just add tags to keep track of things. Therefore, all purchases for the upcoming vacation will be marked as “Vacation 2015”:

All my travel expenses are included on my budget home page. But if I want to find purchases specifically for vacation, I now have a tag that can be used to do this easily. And if I want to know how much I spent overall on Vacation 2015, I can go to Trends and search by tag.

You can also hide certain tags on the trending page. So if I want to look at all my travels, minus what I spent on Holidays 2015, I would open my settings and hide this tag:

Learn How To Use Mint’s Powerful Search Tool

Finding transactions with Mint is pretty easy. You can simply search for a seller or amount, or search by category and tag.

Let’s say you pay indicative taxes for a year and want to know how much you paid. If you have created an Estimated Taxes category, you can search for it. If you have created a tag for it, you can search for it and all your transactions will appear on the screen.

On the transactions page, you can also bulk edit items. So if you need to add a tag to all Calculated Taxes transactions, you can search and then bulk edit and add the tag.

You can also search for transactions that do not have a specific tag. Enter “-tag: [search term]” in the search box and press Enter. Using the taxes example, this can come in handy if you want to know how much you owed to the IRS in April last year after you paid the estimated taxes. If you simply search for “Taxes” or “IRS” all of your tax payments will appear. But if you search for “IRS – Tag: Estimated Taxes”, only your April payment will appear, provided you have not checked it.

View date range with url trick

Unfortunately, Mint does not have a built-in function to find date ranges on the transactions page. But you can do it by changing the url slightly. Here’s how they tell you to do it :

When you go to the Transaction page, the URL will be displayed as: https : //wwws.mint.com/transaction.ev… If you add the following (with the date range you want to see) at the end of the above url, it should receive transactions for that specific range: startDate = 06/01/2014 and endDate = 06/30/2014

It would be great if there was an easier way to do this, but at least the function still exists.

Customize Mint’s interface with Mojito

If you really want to customize your experience, the previously mentioned Mojito extension for Google Chrome allows you to customize the Mint interface to your liking.

It connects to your account and allows you to customize the page layout. You can add recent transactions to your dashboard, list accounts by balance, hide cards with zero balance, and more.

Once you download the extension, a small link to Mojito will appear on your Mint home page. Click the link and the options page will open.

The current version makes all changes locally, on the fly, and the source code is also available for viewing, so you can be sure that it does only what it promises.

Check your attachments

Mint is great for tracking your spending and budgeting, but it also has a basic overview of your investment accounts that allows you to see how they perform over different time periods: 1 day, 5 days, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months. , 1 year or max.

Mint’s Investments section includes all of your investment accounts and four main tabs: Efficiency , Cost , Allocation, and Comparison .

In the Performance tab, you will see the value and value of your portfolio – how much you contributed and how much your investment has increased (or less ideally, decreased) over time. If they have increased, you will see green thorns. If they have decreased, you will see a red color. The difference in value and value is your “profit,” and the Mint will show you that amount in monetary terms and as a percentage. To see these numbers, hover your mouse over any part of the chart and a small field of view appears.

The Value tab shows the same value change, but simplified as a bar graph. In the Distribution tab, you will see exactly what is in your portfolio. If you invest in funds, the asset type is not very useful (since funds are made up of a group of asset types). But you can also browse by symbol and the pie chart will show you exactly which funds you have in your portfolio, as a percentage.

On the Mint Comparison tab, you can compare your overall performance against the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq indices. There is also a list under each of the four main tabs that shows your best and worst assets. You can also sort them by value.

Mint is a great tool for basic budgeting, and you can really optimize it by making the most of some of its features. With small tags, categorization and organization, you can easily customize your Mint to your liking.

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