Monday, June 6, 2011

Mint Wins with the Envelopes Method

Hallelujah!  Mint.com has edged out Quicken with a new budgeting development in the software -- the ability to track expenses a la the Envelope method.  I'm freed from the Quicken annual subscription fee shackles ...and you could be too!

I've been comparing Quicken and Mint for some time and reporting about it on this blog.  Just recently I noticed a Mint upgrade that promised to "roll over" a monthly budget category, so I tested it for the month of May, 2011.  

As you may know, the Envelope budgeting method, espoused by Dave Ramsey and all manner of other financial gurus, is really pretty sweet.  What doesn't get used in one envelope (or category), can be shifted to another.  What isn't used in one month in your category (i.e., groceries), can be rolled over to the next month.

In my May 2011 grocery budget, for example, I underestimated my monthly $200 alotment by $8.  (Maybe it was all those coupons I used!).   In any case, those $8 are now sitting in June 2011 budget line item as a (-$8) for a total amount available to spend of $208.    Don't be mislead by the negative sign -- I wish Mint hadn't used that in their visual display of your envelope.    It just means that you have $8 dollars left over from last month and those $8 will be used up first in the budget tracking, before you get to the newest monthly funding.

Love, love, love the new update to Mint.com.  I'm able to use a software that is Free (yep, that's a capital F) and doesn't stick me with annual upgrades that must be taken or else the software doesn't work on my computer anymore.  (Tricky, Quicken, but not a good way to win customers/friends).  Mint.com is also Web-based, so I'm not chained to my Quicken desktop software application.  

I know not everyone is a Mint.com fan, and it doesn't track my tax issues as well as Quicken.   Do you have a favorite?

Other posts you might like:

Pear Budgeting Software Review
Original Mint.com Review
You Need a Budget Software Review