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How We’re Using (Part I)

April 4, 2011

There are a bunch of online budget websites and software programs, not to mention new apps for smartphones coming out each month. Since I haven’t used many of them, I’m not going to do a review of any of them. Not even Mint. I love Mint. So, there. There’s your review. Now I’ll explain how we’re using Mint. Not why

First off, we use Mint to track our spending. That is what it is naturally for. Secondly, we use Mint to budget our money.

We used to use a paper ledger. J (my wifey) would track every little cent we spent. We had a few categories like “mortgage”, “utilities”, “Gas/Food/Miscellaneous”, etc. She has been keeping track of our money like this for years. Like a pro. Once we decided to use Mint, I went back through a few years worth of monthly budgets. I analyzed exactly what we spent, on average, each month. I also analyzed which categories to see exactly where we spent money. At that point, I knew what we spent in which major categories each month (on average). If it wasn’t for J keeping track of our money so diligently, setting up our new budget would have been nearly impossible.

Here are the categories that we are currently using:

  1. mortgage — exactly what you think it is.
  2. miscellaneous — this covers a lot of the things that don’t fit in other categories like b-day presents for others, household items, clothes, etc. We may divide this into more detailed categories as time goes on.
  3. groceries — this include groceries and any eating out that we do.
  4. tithing — we believe in the blessings that come from being tithed 10% of our increase (we need all of the blessings we can get).
  5. gas and fuel — this is for, well, gas…
  6. utilities — I’ve actually divided this into 5 different categories. One for each utility (water/garbage, gas, phone, electricity, and cell service).
  7. piano lessons — we have three children taking piano lessons each month.
  8. gymnastics — we have one child who takes gymnastics/ballet each and we’re billed each month. When she has a gymnastics meet, we pay for that our of “miscellaneous”.
  9. fast offerings — we believe in giving free-will offerings to our church to support those in need. There isn’t a certain percentage we’re asked to give. We’re just invited to give what we can.

I’ll fill in the details of what I do on Mint each day or week and how Mint helps me each month in the next post… If you have questions…please leave them in the comments section!

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