Monday, December 26, 2016

Mint vs. Your Bank

My wife retired a while back and when she did, we decided to track our finances a little more closely. I've used Mint before, but never very carefully. This time, I made the effort to have it access all the data I could. The end result has been less than hoped.

Ground rules: I just want to be able to tell at a glance how we're doing. We're not high rollers and our most expensive hobby is cooking at home. Outside of the steaks we buy at Costco and the occasional rack of lamb, we're pretty simple folk. Well, steaks, craft beer and good wines, but you get the idea. No fancy cars, jet skis, gambling trips or frequent wild vacations.

First off, every month, Mint tells me we're hosed. I've never had a month in the black. Every time, the thing informs me that our net income for the month is negative. When I first started using it, it frightened me. I figured it was just the timing of when I started and in a month or two, we'd be in the black. Nope. Every month, we're in the red.

Just when I figured we needed to sell our house in San Diego and move into a double wide out in Jamul, I checked the basic calculations our bank does when you ask for a summary. If you look at the last three months, a good period to pick as we're starting to get the hang of the smaller gross income, the bank says we're slightly in the black.

Personally, as the money we spend comes from the bank, I'd trust them a bit more than Mint.Mint does a good job categorizing our spending, but using it for the kind of gross monitoring that I really want to do is out of the question.

Not sure if any of you have used Mint, but if you have I'd like to hear what you think.

1 comment:

Foxfier said...

I got scared off the second it asked for too much information, but... from the built in monitoring thing at my bank, have you checked to see if it's double-counting something? We had one that was combining payments to a debt with the withdrawals for that same debt. (So put $250 on the car, it counted as $500.) It was also skipping a few costs.