Fresh Mint: 'Recession-proof' ideas make good business

by Jabulani Leffall on 16 March 2009 15 comments
Photo: Laptop

 

Listen closely to what am I saying? That's right, you can’t hear me. Okay, read closely if you can. What you are about to see is more rare than a Cardinal lighting upon a dimming light post in the South Bronx.
 
That would be me shilling for any financial product or service, much less bigging-up an Internet destination that could divert traffic away from myself and my wisebread.com companeros.
 
But it’s time to dispense props to Mint.com, which just logged-on its millionth user (Ol’ boy in the picture – not me of course - is grinning ‘cuz ol’ boy is ‘bout to get Riyyyyyyyyyyatttch).
 
Now back up where you stand or in this case sit, as you read this. I’m not just a flag-sock hack, going with the direction of the wind and propping up success.
 
I did some investigating and this site can indeed be a welcome respite from the convoluted madness of Excel sheets, the banality and antiquity that is Quicken (Software in a box is going the way of the Capri pant) and the general headache of brick and mortar budgeting.
 
Folks, I’m not going back on my word about the tabbed binder because you still need that nuclear option. On the other hand, Mint lets you consolidate everything and if you’re bogged down by both busy-ness and business, this might be a viable option since retail banking isn’t the most pleasant experience and shopping malls have horrible parking and as they become increasingly cavernous, move into parity with specialty and electronic retailing as preferred spending options.
 
That said, it would make sense to be able to look at bank balances, credit cards, assets, credits, debits, liabilities and monthly budgets in one place at anytime day or night. Because let’s face it, some of us don’t even do that in six or seven places.
 
If you still think I’m selling wolf tickets, in a year in and a half the site has tracked more than $50 billion in transactions or to put it another way, one day’s pay from the government to AIG. It also professes to have saved its users more than a collective $100 million. 
 
Either way, it’s a solid thing to try out if you’re reading this right now and you want to try something different and you’re tech savvy or you just need something to talk about.
 
As far as security is concerned, the site counts Verisign and MacAfee, transaction security and malware repellent companies respectively, are partners to the site.
 
I’m really pointing this out to drive home the point of self-evaluation and accountability as a journalist/hack/personal finance “haikuist” and Hip-Hop John Henry would do. It’s marinating I know.
 
Okay now as you try to re-focus after just having your mind blown, understand that this one-stop-shop site – I’m talking about Mint as well wisebreaders – can help keep you honest. Not only that, it can force you to sit down and face the truth about what you may or may not need, or more important, what you may not even know you’re losing.
 
Take a look. It ain’t going to make you richer or broker but it might get you to thinking. And if that happens, uh-oh check your pulse because you may be morphing into a money-saving machine. Boo-ya!
 
*Disclaimer: Jabulani Leffall, monetary gadfly, doesn’t endorse nor have a personal stake in Mint.com and remains a loyal humble servant to wisebreaders. Jabulani Leffall will not benefit financially, personally, emotionally or spiritually from increasing unique users on another site and putting more money into someone else’s pocket. Jabulani Leffall is void where prohibited and not currently available in NY, MO, SD, ND, Del., NJ and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thank God this blog is not subject to credit approval. Jabulani Leffall will not ask where the money came from if someone were to CHAC (Cut him a check) for no reason.
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Guest's picture
Funkright

What was the purpose of this article? To use mint.com? To point out a good idea?

Guest's picture
Olivia

I already have a budget book, but you're always a fun read.

Guest's picture
Guest

Okay, I like Wisebread but this article confused me. I can hardly translate what the author says. I've heard of Mint and apparently the author feels it might be worth a look but that he shouldn't say so? I'm really not sure what I was supposed to take away from this article and I have an advanced degree in English.

Weird. I hope this isn't a trend with this site. The vocab and style of this post was so unpleasant that, if it continues, I'll continue on my way to another place for advice and articles.

Guest's picture

I absolutely love Mint.com and I think the service is unmatched by any other on the market. I had to cancel my account because ING Direct will not play ball with this service for security reasons. Although I understand ING Direct's position it absolutely kills the point of using Mint.com and therefore I can no longer use it.

I hope something changes and one day they will work together but I have wasted countless hours trying to get my ING Direct account to work properly to no avail.

By the way I think you guys are being harsh on the writing style of one person on this site. Jabulani Leffall did a great job writing this article; constructive criticism I assume is always accepted however I got the message clear, try Mint.com because it might be for you.

I don't have an advanced degree in english and probably have worse grammar than anyone on the planet but I understood this article and it's motives.

Guest's picture
Guest

I really can't stand to read any of this guy's posts. They are HORRIBLE. Please explain why he's allow to post on Wise Bread. It really makes me question the integrity of the entire site.

Guest's picture
Donnie

I believe that you are being too critical. If you feel that the writer's post are horrible, then why even waste the time to visit the site? I am a mint.com member and absolutely love the site. All of you naysayers should visit the site instead of being so critical.

Guest's picture
Diana

My credit union stopped tracking my external accounts because they couldn't keep up with the constant security changes. I like to do as much online banking and tracking as possible and went searching for alternatives.

Through another personal finance site, I heard about Mint. Since then, I have turned on several people to this great resource. Not only can I track my expenses and credit card balances, they give me options on saving money on interest rates.

Thanks for the article reinforcing this great tool.

Guest's picture
Guest

We are all a little bit dumber for reading that post. Mint.com is less credible for being the (apparent) subject of it. Wisebread.com demonstrated a lack of wisdom for providing a forum for it.

Guest's picture
The Economist

I've been a user of mint.com for a while now, including it's iPhone app. You really can't get much better than this site. Rudder.com is another, but mint is so damn delicious that it's hard for anything else to satisfy.

With my wife, we are able to look at our total financial picture at once, and make budget decisions together, even if our accounts are totally connected yet.

I used to use Quicken for years, paying the bank for the connection fee, and having to ascend the learning curve that that software presented. But now, it's as easy as it gets.

Forecasting is the only thing missing from this site. But getting everything for free is amazing.

I also recommend creditkarma.com to get a free credit score, paid for by advertisers in much the same way mint works.

That's all for my plugging today.

Have a good one.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Guys, we all have our personal style. Let's keep our criticism constructive instead of vicious, shall we? Personal attacks on authors are uncalled for.

Guest's picture
Amy

Maybe I'm just crazy but it does NOT seem like a good idea to hand over information about all your accounts to one source--one that exists only in "the cloud", no less. All I can think of is the mass havoc that could be caused if a service like Mint had its database hacked. It can happen.

I use online account management in three different places-- ING savings, my checking account at another bank, and my american express card. It may be a hassle but I like having them separate. That way the damage done can be minimized if any one of those gets compromised.

Guest's picture
Peter T

I don't know Mint.com, but I do appreciate well written articles. This was not one of them, in my opinion.

Guest's picture
Win Hayes

embracing frugality does not mean being one dimensional, boring or exclusive -- I got what you were saying and I'm a suburban geezer -- don't stop!

Andrea Karim's picture

Personally, I love the disclaimer at the bottom. That just about made my day. :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Personally, I'm new to Wisebread...and now new to Mint.com
I appreciate the post for letting me see another valuable resource.
Thanks!