Mint.com is huge and full of information compared to the other programs. It took an entire extra week to get through all that it offers. In fact it was such a big program to get through I’m not even sure where to start this review. Well, I guess I will start with that. When you first look at Mint.com, it offers so much information it’s a bit intimidating. You start off by entering all your account information in order to link it to the site. This can take a very long time depending on the amount of accounts your have. Once this is completed an overview page is compiled that gives you some helpful suggestions at a glace. I really liked the alerts on this page.
I found the alerts extreamly helpful, they advised me that I was paying to much for car insurance, that I have over spent in the resaturants category of my budget, and that I incurred finance charges on a 0% interest card. (Time to pay that one off!) I think this area is one of the best features to the entire program.
The other area that I really liked was the Goals sections. I loved the customizability available in this section. The suggested goals are all really user friendly and even fun. I also like that you can create your own goal based on something specific to you. I was also impressed with how the goals section integrates with the entire program. The goals section has a good layout. The look is very easy to understand. It give you a very comprehensive idea of when and what you need to do to save and accomplish your goals.
The Budgets area was not a standout to me. I don’t know if it is just the look or that there is really nothing that you have to enter in this area once your accounts are set up. Once your accounts are linked, it will feed transactions into your specified catagories. Since you are not entering any date beyond your initial category threshold there is really nothing to do here. The alert and Overview sections do a pretty good job of letting your know if you have over spent in an area. You can access your individual transaction in this area, which would really be the only reason I would review this. I think this section would benefit from more helpful hint and budgeting suggestions.
The Trends and Investments areas were also two places I would have liked more information about. I think it would have been helpful to have a more basic guide to interpreting your trends. Also glossary of terms for investment would also be helpful. I would have been helpful especially in the investment sections to have a much more “dumbed down” tutorial of the basics of investing. What certain phases mean, some user friendly scenarios. It did help me realize I know nothing about my retirement and really need to learn.
As far as the soliciatations are concerned I kind of like it, kind of don’t. I think in many places throughout the site the suggested vendors and products are actually helpful. They give you a better idea of what is offered, or if you can get a superior product elsewhere. However, it was a bit of overkill having solicitations on every page of the site.
All in all there is a lot to like about the Mint program. It offers a very comprehensive evaluation of all of your accounts. It also keeps you on track within your spending categories through there alerts features. and it offers helpful suggestions for vendors that might fit your needs better. The thing I think Mint is missing is a more tutorial bases application of some financial concepts. The opportunity to teach it’s users about various aspects of finance, like investing or insurance, is overlooked. For the basics a user would have to look elsewhere.
Next week I will give my final analysis of the program I will choose to use in the future and why. I hope this series has been helpful to you in determining which program is right for you. Thanks for sticking with me.