After finding out about personal finance sites like Mint, Geezeo and Wesebe in their early days, I’ve been enamored with the concept of using technology to make personal finance easier to grok. While Geezeo and Wesabe (and Cake and Covestor, etc) had some decent features, Mint ultimately took the cake… with the frosting.
Even though I was a little worried when they were bought by Intuit, I’m still a fan. I can’t say I contribute to their wealth as I’m pretty smart about my credit cards and cds, so they never have any good deals to offer me. (Mint, take note of BillShrink.com, which is offering a cool find cheapo gas near you feature… which is actually useful for me. Though I’m not sure how they’d make money off of that feature, other than hoping you get a CD or Credit Card through them on an educated whim.)
Anyway, what has me all buzzing about Mint today? Their planning tools that they rolled out a few months ago. They weren’t that useful to me online only, but now that I have my shiny new iPhone having the Mint app makes my financial life a thousand times easier and better.
Just tracking my expenses and income per category, and having access to that at all times, is giving me so much more control over my financial life. And it feels good. Minty good.
While this month my expenses have been (scary) more than I’d like, starting in 2010 I’m going to use Mint to carefully BUDGET (like really budget) and account for every little thing I spend. It’s so easy to do that because Mint knows. Every once in a while I have to adjust a category or categorize a check, but that’s easier than inputing everything by hand. I am so excited to embark on a year of incredible savings and budgeting thanks to my Mint iPhone app and Mint.com (and yes, even (M)intuit.
I’ve avoided buying a “smartphone” for a long time now because I didn’t want to pay the extra $30 a month for a required Internet connection. That $360 add-on to my cell phone bill per year isn’t really necessary, given I’m rarely away from an Internet connection and my laptop. Still, working in technology and occasionally writing about mobile innovations, I felt it was important to finally get a fancy smartphone.
But which one? I have been on Verizon ever since my first cell phone, and wasn’t ready to switch since I’ve been fairly happy with the service. I really wanted an iPhone and I’ve been waiting for Verizon to get one, but the AT&T contract ties up the iPhone w/ them until at least 2010. And given that my old phone disappeared, I needed a replacement and didn’t want to tie myself up with another two years on Verizon.
I looked at the Droid and the Droid Eris but wasn’t impressed. The iPhone just felt right and the design — hardware and software — was way more intuitive and slick than the clunky Droid. So I walked into an AT&T store and made my purchase.
I’m still in denial of how much I’ll be spending on my phone each year. $80 a month is not cheap. But I think it’s worth it in my industry.
The good news is that my iPhone is already paying back for itself. My boyfriend and I were out looking for a place to grab dinner and we found a local restaurant that had a 25% off coupon online and went there. The more I can use my iPhone to save, the better I’ll feel about the monthly service charge!
How many of you own a smartphone? How much do you pay per month for your phone?
When I see an iPhone, I think about that time when I was 4 and I craved a Nintendo game system. I didn’t need it, but I wanted it. I got it for my birthday at some point, but the big difference was that it didn’t require a $70 per month data fee.
Mint – my favorite online finance site – just announced the launch of their brand new iPhone app . So if you have already splurged on an iPhone (or plan to in the near future), the good news is that at least now you can use it to budget for those high data fees.
Their screenshoots look pretty, and pretty much like their website in mini form, so I’m sure the user experience is just at top-notch as the one found at Mint.com.
If you refuse to pay such high data fees and don’t have an iPhone, Mint also lets you text “Balance” to MYMINT to find out what your balances are on the go. I haven’t used that functionality yet, but I’ll have to try it sometime since I’m one of those kids w/ out an iPhone.
They’ve come a long way since their private beta. There are lots of copycat companies these days trying to make a buck in the personal finance website and mobile space. A few new ones on my radar are Rudder (the first actual Mint competitor I’ve seen that’s in the same ballpark), Thrive, and Greensherpa. I haven’t had the time to review any of these fully yet, but I hope too do a detailed update on the personal finance startup space sometime soon.